Previewing the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey | SEPA Skip to content

Previewing the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey

More than 100 utilities of all types, sizes and locations participated in the first SEPA Utility Transformation Survey in 2020. The survey is a key component of the SEPA Utility Transformation Challenge, a comprehensive and objective assessment of U.S. electric utilities’ progress towards a carbon-free energy system. Based on analysis of those survey responses, SEPA published the 2021 Utility Transformation Profile which identified top trends and challenges as well as five recommendations for utilities as they pursue their own path of transformation. SEPA also identified a leaderboard of utilities which demonstrated the most progress in their transformation journey.

Today, SEPA is thrilled to debut the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey!

New and Improved Survey
In addition to making the survey available to electric distribution utilities in the U.S., SEPA has redesigned the survey topics to encourage participation from utilities with generation and/or transmission assets, acknowledging the very important role these utilities play in the transition to a carbon-free system.

Beyond including generation and transmission utilities, SEPA has also expanded the survey’s scope to more holistically assess the electric utility industry and streamline the process for utility participation. The 2022 survey asks more targeted questions and uses a new simplified platform. Survey links are sharable within utility organizations and, as before, SEPA will aggregate and anonymize individual survey responses and data across all reporting and presentations.

SEPA examines the utility industry’s transformation to a carbon-free energy system by exploring four dimensions: (1) Clean Energy Resources, (2) Corporate Leadership, (3) Modern Grid Enablement, and (4) Aligned Actions and Engagement. Together, these four dimensions form the basis of the evaluation framework, and help SEPA identify the common attributes of utilities that are leading the transformation.

In 2022, SEPA has expanded the scope and supplemental data collection to develop a more robust representation of each dimension. Here’s a preview of what to expect.

Clean Energy Resources
The procurement and deployment of carbon-free energy and the utilization of other carbon-reducing capabilities, including demand flexibility and energy efficiency, are key to transformation. Questions encompassing the Clean Energy Resources dimension include:

  • Overall levels of clean energy sold/supplied (as of 2021)
  • Improvements in clean energy sold/supplied relative to the initial survey collection period (2021 vs 2018)
  • Demand-side management energy and capacity

Corporate Leadership
Corporate leadership explores how utilities are using their unique operational knowledge, expertise and influence to navigate change management and pursue strategic solutions to reach a carbon-free grid. The Corporate Leadership dimension integrates data from the SEPA Utility Carbon-Reduction Tracker and requests additional information regarding carbon-reduction target emissions scopes. Other questions within this dimension include:

  • Utility clean energy plans
  • Carbon emissions reporting and verification
  • Governance and oversight for climate change risks and resiliency
  • Executive compensation related to carbon emission reductions
  • Other utility sustainability initiatives

Aligned Actions & Engagement
Successful transformation involves elements outside a utility’s scope of operations. Utilities rely on policy frameworks established by governing authorities, as well as support from a wide range of industry stakeholders to evaluate, procure and deploy new technologies and supporting operating practices. Through Aligned Actions (e.g., innovative customer programs) and Engagement (e.g., comprehensive stakeholder processes), utilities can empower their customers and other stakeholders to fulfill their roles in the transformation. Survey questions within this dimension comprise the following categories:

  • Customer clean energy programs
  • Customer engagement
  • Utility innovation initiatives
  • Utility transportation electrification strategy
  • Workforce development

Modern Grid Enablement
Transformation requires the integration of clean energy resources in ways that balance principles of grid flexibility, reliability, resilience, efficiency and affordability. The Modern Grid Enablement dimension assesses initiatives to build situational awareness, enhance grid management and coordination, advance integrated distribution planning and operational practices, and facilitate grid integration of new technologies. While this dimension includes common elements of grid modernization, it specifically features activities and processes that facilitate the transformation to clean energy. Survey questions within this dimension include:

  • Distributed energy resource management and communication capabilities
  • Distribution interconnection procedures and processes
  • Grid-enabling technology
  • Rate design innovation and affordability
  • Reliability and resilience
  • Utility planning and forecasting

Why Participate?
Don’t miss this opportunity to:

  • Get our new benchmarking summary: a customized report showing how your utility’s efforts and innovations stack up against those of peer utilities
  • Help shape the programs and services SEPA offers to you
  • Accelerate the transformation by sharing challenges, lessons learned and best practices
  • Be entered to win a pair of tickets to RE+, the largest clean energy event in the U.S., held this September in Anaheim, CA.  Utilities that complete the full survey are eligible to win one of four pairs of tickets. Learn more when you get started.

Survey Coming Soon 
The submittal deadline for the 2022 Utility Transformation Survey is June 15.

If you’re interested in participating or have any questions, please fill out this form and we’ll contact you soon. You can also email our Utility Transformation Survey coordinator, Ann Collier, at [email protected] or call us at (202) 869-4295.