Cities that partner with utilities have a powerful advantage

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Global.

One of the most valuable teammates you can have for a smart cities initiative likely isn’t located at City Hall. It’s your electric utility.

Their impact can go far beyond the electricity they provide, which is the lifeblood of any city. Every year, utilities make sizable investments in their infrastructure to make it more efficient and resilient. Cities have a tremendous opportunity to partner with utilities on those investments so that both can stretch their returns.

Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the latest Global Lead Partner of the Council and we’re working together to help utilities advance cities. Cities that aren’t partnering with utilities are really missing out. — Kevin Ebi


Some 5% of the U.S. GDP comes directly from the electric utilities. Their investments in infrastructure alone drive a twentieth of the economy.

“But we like to think of that as just the first 5%,” said EEI chairman Pat Vincent-Collawn. “If we didn’t have that 5%, we wouldn’t have lots of other GDP.”

In the U.S., utilities spend $100 million a year making improvements to their infrastructure, investments that are paying dramatic returns.

“These investments have hardened our systems, making them more efficient in responding after natural disasters and storms,” she said. 

Within a week after Hurricane Irma struck, 95% of the people and businesses in Florida had their power back. That’s a recovery that was four times faster than for Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

These investments provide cities a valuable opportunity to work with utilities, allowing both to do more together.

“Cities, counties, communities are designed to serve citizens and make their lives better,” Vincent-Collawn said. “In the electric industry, our job is also to make our customers’ lives better.”

The Council and EEI are encouraging that cooperation through the Council’s 2018 Smart Cities Readiness Challenge. Cities that work with utilities on their grant application will receive extra points. Learn how to apply.