Educating consumers about the benefits of smart meters, demand response and other energy efficiency initiatives - and how they relate to the Smart Grid - is essential to customer adoption and our energy future. This section provides news and resources on customer engagement challenges and successes.
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Many factors drive the need for utilities to engage customers. One is the need to promote energy-saving initiatives that can reduce peak load, meet energy efficiency mandates and cut carbon emissions. Equally important is the need to foster customer loyalty and satisfaction. After several years of experience, Duke Energy has learned some subtle tricks of the trade.
If your utility is (finally) ready to get started in social media, don't miss this informative piece from Consert marketing director Tony Di Giosia. He'll guide you through Facebook, Twitter, blogging and YouTube with utility examples and steps you can take right now to start engaging with your customers in more meaningful ways.
New research from Accenture spotlights what actions large energy providers can take to keep their customers happy in both regulated and deregulated markets alike. (Think Internet and social media.) Click for details on Accenture's findings from 10,000 consumers in 19 countries - plus a look at just-released reports on microgrids, SCADA security, utility satellite communications and PV installations.
Glendale Water & Power is going social to urge customers to conserve energy and cut their electricity costs - social media that is. The utility offers customers the opportunity to sign up for a social energy app that not only gives them a clearer look at their energy use but also enables them to compete with other customers and share energy savings tips.
Our version of March Madness winds down with one final topic in our Sweet 16 forum. We're asking which technology you think holds the most promise for a smarter, more reliable electric grid. Click for links to all 16 topics and your chance to win a New iPad.
We've seen it in the insurance industry among others so we probably shouldn't be too surprised to see joint purchase agreements becoming increasingly popular in the energy sector. An example? Click for details on a coalition called Groundswell that is negotiating lower energy rates for 103 religious and consumer groups.
The 'Green Button' program, a simple online tool that gives electricity consumers several ways to cut costs, got a big boost Thursday with the White House announcement that nine utilities and electricity providers have made new commitments to support the program - and a number of the biggest smart grid vendors are on the Green Button bandwagon too.
At a time when utility bills are rising relentlessly and when complicated charges are alienating much of the energy industry from its customers, utilities need to address this disconnect head-on and work to restore the relationship. Mark England, CEO of smart grid and metering specialist Sentec, has several suggestions on how to do that.
Our recent piece suggesting utility CEOs are asking the wrong question about the smart grid struck a nerve with Rob Wilhite, DNV KEMA's Global Director. He argues that utility CEOs his firm works with are posing strategic questions – such as the value-add for energy consumers once the smart grid is deployed. See if you agree with his take on using customer segmentation to tailor those value-adds.
A new Harris poll says almost half of the people surveyed would likely use a computerized dashboard to control their energy use and save money, but SGN Chief Analyst Jesse Berst is far from convinced. Read the story to find out why.
What's the take on smart grid consumer privacy and data security from a regulator's standpoint? A utility's? Patty Durand of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative shares that, and more, after a panel discussion on that topic that brought some eye-opening issues to the forefront.
Electricity is such a big part of so many things we do that most people take it for granted – we tend to forget it's there. SGN Chief Analyst Jesse Berst shares a piece from syndicated columnist Llewellyn King that reminds us how important electric power is in our lives.
Utilities can (and should) use social media to help with a variety of customer communications needs, according to Zpryme. SGN Chief Analyst Jesse Berst has the story on how utilities can take advantage of the new media and which utilities are doing it right.
This report contains results of a survey that included approximately 900 online interviews in November 2011 to test customer awareness and acceptance of prepay electricity offerings in Texas and Arizona, the two states with the most consumers currently on prepay electricity plans.
We've long speculated that third parties could disintermediate utilities - could get between them and their customers and siphon off part of the profits. Comcast's announcement that it will offer customers a "learning thermostat" supplied by EcoFactor gets that ball rolling.
New research claims that the smart grid is going backwards. It is LESS popular with consumers than in 2009 - and this despite efforts by utilities and industry associations to promote it to consumers. What are we going to do about it? That's this week's Tuesday Topic in our discussion forum.
This GlobalData report available through Research and Markets analyzes the emerging importance of consumers in smart grid. Consumer participation in the power grid has been limited in the past, but the scenario is expected to change with the implementation of smart grid technology in the power sector.
We were taken by a fun (but also informative) blog post from eMeter's Chris King, who writes about the "Green Button" program that California utilities have implemented and how it's already a hit with his mother-in-law. Find out why.
Results from the second wave of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative's Consumer Pulse study reveal that there are smart grid benefits that resonate with consumers beyond reducing their monthly electric bill. SGCC Executive Director Patty Durand outlines the findings and actions her organization is taking in response.
If utilities want to be best in class at customer engagement, they should look at practices used in competitive service industries to help them tailor their offers and communication strategies to the right segments of the market. That was one of the takeaways from the recent Smart Grid Consumer Symposium. SGCC Executive Director Patty Durand has more.
In this week's blog about his stint on a privacy panel put on by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, security ace Andy Bochman ponders why the SGCC needs to exist - and then answers his own question: Without it, there would be no one out there to give consumers a reasoned and sensible alternative to the alarmist ranting they're frequently exposed to in the mainstream media. (And he provides a good example of what he's talking about.)
As utilities prepare for smart meter roll outs, the CEO of UK-based Sentec suggests a key consideration for the IT infrastructure associated with those roll outs should be the capability to both store data and relay it back to the consumer in an easily digestible format. Click for Mark England's perspective on how to go about that.
A recent IBM global survey showed that up to three-quarters of consumers are concerned about the confidentiality and security of home energy use data. What to do? Matt Futch, Global Policy Director with IBM Energy & Utilities, argues that appropriately designed industry practices and regulatory guidance can help the energy ecosystem protect sensitive information. Click for his examples of how and where it's already happening.
Marketing and advertising companies have been taking advantage of social media for years, and now more and more electric utilities are catching on - using them for their own marketing, communications and business strategies, according to a new white paper from Pike Research. Get more on the story inside.
It looks like the great majority of Oklahoma Gas & Electric customers like their smart meters, a welcome contrast to the recent slew of bad press about consumer pushback and attempts to block installations. The utility's customers are really appreciating the lower electric bills, the company says.
From fires in Philadelphia to firearms in Texas, smart meter associated flare-ups make the news weekly. And it makes us wonder: If you could turn back the clock and rethink the whole smart grid rollout, would you do it differently? And if so how? That's this week's topic in our discussion forum. Please join in.