Week in smart metering - 'You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink'

What about customers who remain sceptics of smart grid technologies, asks Amy Ryan, deputy editor, Metering & Smart Energy International.
Published: Wed 12 Oct 2016

Just recently, the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) released a new survey which points to the work that utilities need to do, to connect with dubious customers who remain sceptics of smart grid technologies.

The results of the survey revealed that states with advanced meter infrastructure showed only a marginally higher customer awareness of clean energy products such as smart thermostats.

SGCC's research suggests that utility outreach efforts will need to stretch further than advanced meter infrastructure deployment.

The group’s Empowered Consumer report creates customer profiles which indicate consumers’ level of interest and propensity toward smart technology adoption.

SGCC president and CEO Patty Durand, said: "If there's one thing widely understood, it's that utilities aren't that great at marketing.

“Frankly, utilities aren't utilizing data as effectively as they could be, and this is an area for growth."

"Consumers need further evidence such as testimonials of the benefits of smart grid-enabled services and technologies," stated the SGCC report. "Real-world examples may establish confidence and trust, providing a strong foundation for engagement."

More from Metering & Smart Energy International

US utility ComEd launched its new programme to promote consumer awareness around energy efficiency to improve grid reliability in Chicago. The programme Community Energy Management comprises multiple initiatives to improve consumer knowledge on energy conservation and efficiency technologies. [ComEd boosts consumer awareness on energy efficiency]. The initiative is designed to help ComEd improve its customer service by helping customers save energy and reduce their energy bills through participation in utility’s energy efficiency projects.

Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) in Pakistan is reaping the benefits of a fully integrated billing system through AMI infrastructure implemented by MicroTech. The primary objective of the the advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) project deployed in August last year, was to automate and streamline MEPCO's operations from the recording of energy use to revenue collection. [MEPCO boosts operational efficiencies with AMI rollout]. The project represents the largest USAID-funded AMI deployment for Multan Electric Power Company.

The US Department of Energy (DoE) signed an agreement with Lime Energy to implement an energy efficiency programme in three US cities. Under the agreement, the DoE will provide the US-based energy efficiency firm with $1.35 million to implement the ‘Achieving Energy Efficiency in Small Businesses in Low-Income Areas’ programme. [US DoE sponsors energy efficiency programme for SMEs]. The initiative was designed to help small businesses in low income areas reduce their energy costs and optimise their operations, while at the same time ensuring the US grid remains stable.

US electric cooperative Marin Clean Energy (MCE) partnered with energy internet firm Autogrid Systems to test how technology can be used to ensure grid reliability. [MCE selects AutoGrid for rollout of DR pilot]. Under the pilot, Autogrid Systems will use its smart grid technology suite ‘AutoGrid Flex’ to help the power company achieve grid reliability through improved management of its demand response (DR) programme and distributed energy resources.

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