The major utilities in Australia think they might. As I have discussed, U.S. utilities need to start now (Disruption On All Sides – What Is A Utility To Do?) to save their businesses, protecting what they can while building the base for a new business. The longer they wait, the closer they will be drastic economic losses and fewer options to save themselves.
Utilities in Germany and the rest of Europe are already there, having lost two-thirds of their market value since 2008 (Reuters: Renewables turn utilities into dinosaurs of the energy world). The utilities in Australia are now there as well, complicated by the fact that many of them are actually state enterprises.
The European utilities were first; their executives can be forgiven for not seeing the future. The Australian executives much less so. The U.S. utility executives will have no excuse.
EVs of some sort must be part of the answer to offset the loss of electricity sales. Utilities must understand they now have a competitor with an exact substitute at the point of use, so their price and customer relations matter. They have customers, not ratepayers.
Giles Parkinson sums up the situation nicely:
The more utilities appear to declare war on their customers, and seek to make solar unattractive by increases in fixed charges, and raising tariffs, and regulatory barriers, the more battery storage and distributed energy seems appealing. The more utilities feel they are competing against their customers, the quicker they will become estranged.
The only reasonable option seems to be to encourage people to consume more. Mandating them to turn on more air conditioning, or re-install wasteful appliances, obviously won’t work. Time to think of something new.
That option could be electric vehicles.