CHAPTER 4Maintenance Mode

When I met with leaders from one of the largest public utilities companies in the world for an artificial intelligence strategy summit, one of the questions posed to me and my team was our position on deregulation in the utilities sector, that is, allowing more competition into the market and enabling customers to invest in generating their own electricity, removing their reliance on the power grid. The deregulation movement began in the 1970s and as of 2018, 17 of the states in the United States have passed a form of deregulation into law.1

I probed for the rationale behind the question and learned that they preferred to partner with those who were not in favor of deregulation, as it threatened their revenue and market leadership position.

My next question was whether they were investing in self‐generation systems and solutions so that they would be positioned to become the global leader if and when deregulation took place. I posited that if they were to develop and test such a product within markets and states that are not regulated, it could create a global revenue stream outside of their regulated footprint, providing ample testing ground to prove and refine the product.

This was not something they had considered. Rather than invest in the possibility of being a global leader in self‐generation of power, they were focused on ensuring that a change in the regulatory landscape did not take place, as it would present an existential threat to their ...

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