National Grid, an electricity and natural gas delivery company serving New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has announced the official start of its two-year Smart Energy Solutions (SES) programme—a comprehensive smart grid pilot underway in the Northeast.
Customers managing their energy
As part of the launch, nearly 15,000 participating customers in Worcester, Massachusetts now have the opportunity to try out new pricing plans designed to help them save on their monthly electric bills and prepare for peak energy events.
“The Smart Energy Solutions programme provides participating customers with real opportunities to manage their energy usage and reduce their monthly bill,” said Marcy Reed, president, National Grid MA. “At the heart of the programme is our desire to help put our customers in control of their energy and do so in ways that are easy and convenient for them.”
An important feature of the Smart Energy Solutions programme is National Grid’s investment in new infrastructure and technologies in Worcester. These advanced communications and automation enhancements will enable faster outage identification—including which customers have lost power during storms or emergency conditions—and faster system restoration.
Smart Rewards Pricing Plan
Under National Grid’s Smart Rewards Pricing plan, participating customers have daytime rates that are lower than their current Basic Service rate (or electricity supply rate) for 335 days per year. This plan provides for even lower rates on nights, weekends and holidays. It offers savings for shifting energy-intensive activities to any time before 8:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m., which is when electricity prices are at their lowest. Typical residential customers can expect to see average savings of approximately US$16 per month on this plan.
On the remaining 30 days each year, called Conservation Days, rates will increase significantly during specifically designated hours. These peak events will typically be during summer months, when electricity is in high demand and the supply is constrained. During these Conservation Days, customers will be prompted to take action to conserve energy and reduce their electricity costs during the designated hours. National Grid will notify customers the day before a peak event so they can plan ahead for these.
The Smart Rewards Pricing plan offers bill protection. If customers stay with this pricing plan for 12 consecutive months, their annual billing will not exceed the amount it would have been under their previous rate.
Conservation Day Rebate Plan
SES customers are enrolled in the Smart Rewards Pricing plan but can easily opt into the Conservation Day Rebate plan if they prefer.
This plan offers customers the opportunity to stay at their current Basic Service rate and earn a rebate when they reduce their energy usage below what they normally use during peak events.
Customers will receive a credit the following month for any energy they saved during the previous month’s peak events on the Conservation Days. This plan does not include the lower rates for the 335 days of the year the Smart Rewards Pricing plan offers.
This is the kind of innovation that utilities should be looking at since it is empowering the customer to save money on their power bills which will obviously go a long way to improving the utility-customer relationship, and it will help utilities conserve energy on the grid, thereby reducing the pressure caused during peak periods. Björn Bekkevold, Founder and CEO, XTN Group, Norway explains in our webinar, Using Innovation in Pricing to Engage Consumer Interest - "Energy a la Carte at Household Site", how innovative pricing can be advantageous for all those involved.