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Navigant: Electric Utilities to Spend $247 Billion on IT, Cybersecurity Through 2028

image credit: Navigant Research

If you’re involved in making decisions about information technology systems for an electric distribution utility, don’t be surprised if you suddenly experience an upswing in your popularity with IT vendors.

The reason is a report by Navigant Research that says utilities worldwide will spend nearly $247 billion on energy IT and cybersecurity software and services from 2019 through 2028. “Energy IT and Cybersecurity Overview” says spending on those types of software and services will rise from $18 billion last year to more than $19 billion this year and surpass $32 billion in 2028.

In its press release about the report, Navigant said it “expects IT systems and analytics to account for a significant — and growing — portion of utility investment over the next decade.”

Navigant identified three drivers for the increase in IT spending:

• The sheer amount of data being generated by the sensors that have been deployed throughout the grid;

• The growth in distributed energy resources, which Navigant said is forcing utilities to invest in technology such as advanced distribution management systems, distributed energy resource management systems and various types of analytics;

• And heightened expectations by customers used to being able to deal with companies through apps on their mobile phones and computers.

“The common thread in these industry shifts is digital disruption,” Navigant said in its executive summary of the report.

Smart meters, which have helped make that digital disruption possible, also are responsible for the increase in cybersecurity spending that Navigant is expecting.

As a result of their deployment, “the surface area [for cyberattacks] has gotten exponentially larger with weaker end points,” Michael Kelly, the Navigant research analyst who wrote the report, told me.

“It creates an environment in which utilities are much more vulnerable to attack,” Kelly said.

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