Artificial Intelligence, or AI for short, is nothing new; it goes way back to the 1950s. But things are different now; the vast volumes of data and the computing capabilities we have today mean we can do things better. So, what pain points are utilities seeing today that AI can help with? Let me share some examples.

My first is about how AI can help optimize aging production capabilities while, at the same time, minimizing maintenance costs. Looking at the history of this industry, much of the equipment – except for renewables – is getting on for 30 years old. AI opens up a means to predict how that equipment will run so companies can ensure it will run safely and optimally – both in terms of the technical process and of the financial impact aging equipment has on profitability.

My second example is around how AI can make the interactions call centers have with customers more efficient and more engaging. When a customer calls the center to subscribe to something or maybe complain, the operator has to follow an internal process that involves opening a bunch of different applications with various pieces of information and various fields to fill in. It’s not very interactive, and it’s also very slow; they lose their grasp of the conversation. For utilities outsourcing to a call center provider that’s billing by the minute, it can get very costly. This is where AI, particularly when combined with natural language processing (NLP), can support the call center operator. By listening to the customer, an AI-enabled bot could automatically open the right applications and fill in the fields. The operator is then free to have a more interactive discussion with the customer. They are also quicker and sharper in providing information, making the […]