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The Electric Platform

Value Creation via Interaction

EDITOR'S NOTE: Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd president and CEO, recently co-chaired The Energy Times executive conference, Empowering Customers & Cities. This is the third of a four-part series based on her opening keynote address. Next week: "In the Hood."

The dominating business architecture of the 21st century is the platform, an uber-market with a constantly morphing universe of buyers and sellers acting as satellites around the platform’s core.

In contrast to the pipeline businesses of the 20th century which focuses on “product” pushed through a linear manufacturing, distribution and sales process, platforms focus on creating value by creating interactions. 

Anne Pramaggiore with Marty Rosenberg, of The Energy Times.

These platforms are the ultimate in markets in part because by focusing on curation they facilitate and democratize markets – the barriers to participation are lowered and resources are easily optimized.  Facebook, Uber, Airbnb and EBay do just that.  With the value in all digital markets shifting downstream closer to the customer, it is truly power to the people! 

In our view, the electric grid that is being redesigned through digital and other technological breakthroughs has the capacity to become one of the most impactful platform architectures in the economy. 

Facilitating the migration of power across the grid in an efficient manner – a function it has always performed, but now inviting a multitude of actors – sellers and buyers of energy, services, and information – to interact on the grid as the ecosystem generates all the benefits networks have to offer:

  • Enhancing choice: by incorporating multiple energy options from cleaner forms of energy.
  • Generating efficiencies: by orchestrating optimal energy flows or energy usage according to system demand, time and geography.
  • And creating opportunity:  by facilitating the creation of the energy marketplace.

We have begun to seed the platform marketplace with new services like better information for our customers.  Programs like our Bidgely application pilot, which provides usage data to the appliance level, and Green Button, which allows customers to transfer, at the touch of a button, usage data to third party vendors offering supply, energy efficiency or demand-side services. 

And we have begun to seed the platform marketplace with new products like our smart thermostat program – the largest in the country, implemented in partnership with Nest and Ecobee.

And we have begun to build the marketplace infrastructure by launching, just this past week, our online platform market – where we offer any number of energy-related products and services to consumers by any number of sellers.


Anne Pramaggiore’s Energy Ecosystem

The New Energy Order – Chicago Style

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