28 | June 2017
services they need, Uchin said. But,
depending on the services provided, the
cost to move, analyze and store data in
the cloud, can be high and utilities must
be able to recover those costs.
“Regulators know innovation and
transformation are coming to this indus-
try and they don’t want to see business as
usual. They want you (utilities) to bring
them technology innovation, as well as
financing ideas,” Uchin said.
Regulators focus on three primary
themes, she said. They are: 1) Innovation;
2) How to pay for it; and 3) Security. She
emphasized that utilities must show regulators that cloud services will allow them
to improve their customers’ experiences.
They must also quell any concerns regulators have about security risks.
Regulators’ responses to Oracle’s survey
Friday, May 12, but it didn’t take long for
it to spread throughout much of the world,
creating havoc, fear and panic. By Monday,
as the new work week began, the virus had
spread across the globe and into Asia.
The virus was first discovered just one
day after U.S. President Donald Trump
signed an executive order requiring federal government agencies to review U.S.
cybersecurity capabilities. Among other
things, the order puts responsibility for
cybersecurity risk on the heads of federal
agencies. It requires that a report covering cybersecurity concerns and vulnera-bilities related to critical infrastructure be
completed within six months. In addition, the executive order focuses on moving as much as possible to the cloud—a
suggestion that has created some angst.
As owners and operators of some of the
largest and most relied upon infrastructure
on the planet, utilities already under-
stand the need to focus on protecting
critical infrastructure. In addition,
most understand the importance of
the cloud for data storage and analyt-
ics. In fact, many are already moving
large amounts of data to third-party
While there is debate about
whether cloud services are secure
enough and appropriate for utility data, many experts, including
many utility executives and some
public utility regulators, believe so.
In early 2016, Oracle surveyed
executives from 100 electric, water
and gas utilities and discovered
that 45 percent of the utilities were
already using cloud technologies and
another 52 percent had plans to do so.
Understanding that costs for cloud services
can be high and utilities need a mechanism
to recover those costs—similar to the way
they might recover the capital
costs of building a data cen-
ter—Oracle’s next utility cloud
survey went to regulators.
“Regulators don’t expect util-
ities to go out and build large
data centers,” Marisa Uchin,
senior director, global regula-
tory affairs at Oracle Utilities,
said during Oracle’s Industry
Connect event this spring.
Most utilities look to
third party software as
a service (SaaS) compa-
nies to provide the cloud
BY TERESA HANSEN, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Regulators Acknowledge Utilities’ Need for Data Storage
The cloud will be critical to a utility’s future success.
The cloud is an important technology trend.
We have a specifc and comprehensive
strategy for cloud in utilities.
No role - 3%
role - 1%
FIGURE 1: Please share how much you agree with the
following statement regarding cloud technologies and
investments. Figure shows percent of respondents that
agreed with statements.
FIGURE 2: What role should the regulator play in
determining whether utilities use on-premises or cloud