When analysts look at the challenges facing the energy utility business and the emergence of solar and storage and other distributed technologies, the common refrain is that the utility business is about to face its "Kodak" moment. That’s the reference to Kodak’s inability to embrace the digital technology it had helped develop and its decision to put most of its eggs in the traditional film business.

But perhaps the best comparison of what awaits the utility business is what happened to fixed-line telephony with the introduction of wireless technology and mobile phones.