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Who is your GTO ?

In a recent editorial in the reputed Electric Energy Online (, Michael A. Marullo draws attention towards the fact that Smart Grid initiatives should broaden their base beyond Smart Metering and focus on larger issues. Hence the term for the initiaitves, he suggests, should be "Grid Transformation". Kudos to Michael, yet another very well written article!

 As the Utility industry marches forward with Grid Transformation (or Smart Grid ) initiatives, there is a growing realization that some of the traditional roles and business lines find themselves struggling to make the right decisions in a timely manner. I believe this is one of the many reasons why projects run slow and so many "pilot" projects are done and redone. The traditional organizational boundaries within Utilities are blurring and the roles are overlapping. The data, information and knowledge required to make some of the far-reaching decisions traverse the functional units of Generation, Power Supply, Transmission Distribution, and Customer Service. This is a transformational journey for Utilities as they embrace digital technology to modernize the power grid. The pressure to re-organize or re-align is quite visible. This applies to all Utilities - big or small, private or public, operating in regulated market or competing in a deregulated world.

 Is there, therefore, a need to create a horizontal role that focuses on taking accountability for these cross-unit decisions and providing executive sponsorship to the Grid Transformation programs?  Will it ensure efficiency in decision making if a horizontal cross-unit organization took charge of the integration and introduced new ideas, solutions and services to the traditional business units? More importantly, how do Utilities operationalize the creation of such a role and a team? The responsibilities of the Grid Transformation Officer (GTO) in a Utility could, at the minimum, include -

 1. Ensuring all stakeholders(internal and external) understand the changes introduced through the programs

2. Driving Cross unit collaboration and decision making

3. Defining key performance metrics for the Grid Transformation initiatives

4. Helping business lines define "next" practices and preserving "best" practices

5. Building a long term sustenance plan for the new processes and infrastructure

6. Sponsoring talent management and a partner strategy

While there is no one-size-fits-all for such a critical role, it will have to bring the ability to move faster.

So, who is your GTO ?




Ashiss, the point re the need for GTO is well taken. May I suggest, however, that the need is to view "energy" broadly in *all* organizations, and not just within utilities. Just as we have "Management Information Systems," we need "Management Energy Systems" for the strategic role energy is going to play going forward. This will have organizational impact, and the need for working across functional divisions is only one of them. More on this in a work-in-progress paper I am writing. Best regards, Mahesh

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