Stop for a second and try to imagine what the future will look like. What do you see? Flying cars? Robots? Chrome everywhere?

It can be exciting to think about, with seemingly endless possibilities for new technologies and novel discoveries. But for many utilities, the future looks a little scary.

Stock image of a multidirectional road sign

With all of the upcoming technological and regulatory changes comes a whole lot of uncertainty. How can utilities adapt to ever-changing technologies? How can they take advantage of the opportunities provided by distributed energy resources? As daunting as the future may seem, there’s hope for utilities to emerge from these changes stronger than ever. In fact, many utilities are already starting to make the transition into future viability, and we can learn a lot from their journeys.

Thanks to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, which aims to reduce emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, utilities in that state are among those leading the way in figuring out how to effectively produce energy for the future. These utilities recently submitted their Track 2 plans and, while New York has long been viewed as a progressive state for utility operations, some of their demand-side management goals might surprise you.

Of all the New York utilities, only National Grid submitted a plan to continually increase energy savings (from 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent) between 2016 and 2018. And all of the utilities’ savings goals are below the statewide 2 percent goal for efficiency savings. So what does this mean? Is progressive New York falling behind on energy efficiency? What are its plans for creating the utility business model of the future?

Energy-efficiency savings as a percentage of 2013 distribution sales

Members of the E Source Demand-Side Management Service can learn more about the New York utilities’ journey in New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, the first installment of our new Utility Business Models for the Future Series, which will provide insights and advice for utilities going through the myriad changes necessary in this new era of power production and delivery. And be sure to join us at the 2016 E Source Forum, September 13–16 in Denver, Colorado, for a discussion focused solely on California’s new utility business models and strategic plans.

The future has a lot to offer—don’t get left behind!