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More than a third of energy executives in Europe believe that it will become common for customers to self-supply energy and go off grid by 2020, according to a survey. Some believe the same is true for water.

The rapid development of batteries and electric vehicles are identified as important drivers for change.

Energy execs were near-unanimous that the trend towards more decentralised electricity generation will continue.

The survey by Vlerick Business School’s Energy Centre funded by KPMG, polled manager from “top Distribution System Operators (DSOs)” in 24 countries on the changes they foresee in the industry landscape in the next five years. These executives represent 70% of European energy networks.

Nearly half of the operators (45%) do not limit themselves to electricity, but they also manage natural gas networks (39%), telecommunication networks (21%), or water networks (15 %).

65% believe that multi-utility is the future of the DSO business.

72% of the respondents think that DSOs will become more service-focused than asset-oriented.

76% of the respondents expect that investment needs will require substantial amounts of new equity by 2020.

69% also believe that more collaboration among DSOs is required of which half think that M&A is the most beneficial way to collaborate.

Daniel Dobbeni, Chairman of Vlerick’s Energy Centre, says: “Decentralised and renewable electricity as well as customers becoming self-suppliers will change the power sector like never before. Industry actors must therefore quickly acquire new knowledge and experiences. We believe that dedicated education, networking and research will support DSOs in achieving their ambitious objectives.”

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