Report launch

Realising the Opportunities and Managing the Risks of Digitalisation in Electricity Networks

Digitalisation in the energy sector is proceeding at a rapid pace, and brings many benefits to consumers, system operators and supply companies. However, digitalisation also brings the potential for new risks to the stability of the networks, to the quality of consumer supply and to business reputation. As the sector moves into wide-scale digitalisation, it is important to understand the major sources of new risk and strategies to mitigate them. This report aims to provide an overview of major risk categories, based on the experiences of other sectors which are further along in their digitalisation journeys.

The report proposes a framework that divides the risks of digitalisation into five categories – digital technologies, security, personnel, consumers and regulatory. Specific risks have been identified in these categories, which are explored further in the report. Digitalisation risks extend beyond purely technological issues – the report identifies risks associated with employee training and skillsets, consumer behaviour in a more complex system and the risks of regulators not identifying new risks. The challenges of the covid-19 pandemic and the resultant increase of homeworking are also investigated.

The report was commissioned by SSEN via Imperial Business Partners. Independent opinion provided by: Dr Aidan Rhodes and Dr Jeff Hardy of Imperial College London.


  • Dr Aidan Rhodes, Research Fellow, Energy Futures Lab
  • Dr Jeff Hardy, Research Fellow, Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment
  • Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks

About Energy Futures Lab

Energy Futures Lab is one of seven Global Institutes at Imperial College London. The institute was established to address global energy challenges by identifying and leading new opportunities to serve industry, government and society at large through high quality research, evidence and advocacy for positive change. The institute aims to promote energy innovation and advance systemic solutions for a sustainable energy future by bringing together the science, engineering and policy expertise at Imperial and fostering collaboration with a wide variety of external partners.