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The Smart Grid doesn’t end at the meter. Increasingly, it reaches into the customer premise to talk to building automation systems or even to individual devices. Those customers want new and better ways to monitor, understand and control their consumption. The entire customer side is evolving rapidly – the technology, the regulations, the customer expectations, everything. This section highlights the key trends, issues and applications.

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Two ways the smart grid is unfair to low-income customers (better have answers before your regulators start asking)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, customer engagement, electric utilities, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative
Smart grid benefits are many. But what about people who don’t have access to them? That’s the way it stacks up for a lot of low-income consumers, according to a new report from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. Click to find out why.

More evidence utilities need to push energy efficiency

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, policy and regulation, electric utilities
Two new reports will likely ratchet up efforts to require utilities to make more energy efficiency gains than their existing programs now provide. Click to get familiar with the reports and why it is important for utilities to talk with regulators about how to get recognition for the energy efficiency improvements they have made.

How Google's disdain for utilities could ruin its Nest acquisition

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid strategy, smart grid markets, Google, Nest, energy storage,
When Google attempted to move into the home energy management space a few years ago, it first tried to work with utilities but rejected that approach when it decided utilities were too balkanized. Guest author Tom Osterhus explains in detail why that may have been a bad strategy. And he has several insights to share about energy storage and time-of-use pricing.

Nanogrids are sneaking up fast. Has your utility figured out its strategy?

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, nanogrids, smart buildings, microgrids, distributed generation
“Nano” technologies are on the way and recent research forecasts that one of them, nanogrids, is on the verge of a growth spurt. Click for details on why nanogrids will be so important, their impact and the possible challenges they represent.

Why Opower's IPO is so important to all of us

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, home energy management, Opower, markets and pricing
When Opower launched its IPO on April 4, share prices jumped during the first day of trading. While that’s certainly great news for Opower and the home energy management sector, it’s also very good news for the industry overall. Click for details and what the IPO could mean for the industry’s future.

U.S. Senators want to pay utilities to engage with customers

smart grid, modern grid, customer engagement, energy efficiency, utility legislation, electric utilities
A bill has been introduced to offer incentives for utilities that give customers more information on their energy use. Introduced by two Democratic senators, there is little chance it will pass in a Republican-heavy House. Still, it’s good to see at least some legislators take a positive stance on how they work with utilities.

The coming boom in smart buildings (and why utilities should care)

smart grid, modern grid, smart buildings, building automation, energy efficiency, electric utilities
A report from IDC Energy Insights says the smart building sector is set to take off and that the market will triple in just a few years. Since smart building systems usually cut power usage by 20%, utilities might want to reconsider their load growth forecasts – and also take advantage of the opportunities that market growth will bring.

Massachusetts pushes to stay #1 in energy efficiency (and what it means for your state)

smart grid, modern grid, energy efficiency, energy efficiency mandates, Massachusetts, electric utilities
Massachusetts has been named the country’s most energy-efficient state for the past three years and continues to press for even greater levels of efficiency. Utilities in other areas would be wise to keep an eye on Massachusetts because they could soon see the same or similar efficiency requirements in their
own jurisdictions.

A National Review of the Cost of Utility Energy Efficiency Programs

This report focuses exclusively on utility-sector energy efficiency programs that aim to reduce overall customer energy usage. It does not include demand response programs, which aim to reduce or shift energy usage only during times of peak demand. By “utility-sector energy efficiency programs,” the report refers to programs funded through utility rates (whether embedded in rates or as a separate tariff rider or surcharge) or through associated public benefits charges and administered by utilities, government agencies or third-party organizations.

Summary of Electric Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Savings, Expenditures and Budgets

This report focuses on the state of electric efficiency in the U.S. based on information collected from 171 U.S. organizations – 159 electric and combined utilities and 12 non-utility energy efficiency administrators. The data for this report is based on data collected by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) on electric utility customer-funded efficiency program savings, expenditures, and budgets from utility and non-utility administrators in the U.S. and Canada.

Why smart streetlights are the gateway drug for smart grids (and smart cities)

smart grid, modern grid, smart cities, smart street lights, Silver Spring Networks, electric utilities
Cities throughout the world are jumping on the smart street lights bandwagon as a practical way to significantly cut their electric power expenses and save energy. But once that network is up and running, there are a lot more ways cities can take advantage of it for smart grid and smart cities applications.

“No-touch” energy audits: easier than ever for customers to reduce electricity use

smart grid, modern grid, ConEd, Retroficiency, energy efficiency, energy efficiency audits, electric utilities
With the energy efficiency initiative in full swing, news of novel approaches for achieving it is almost routine. Now, ConEd has partnered with building efficiency intelligence company Retroficiency to make immediate and significant reductions in energy use possible for commercial and multi-family buildings.

Why it may soon be easier to connect meters back to the utility (a new standard)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid standards, Zigbee, Zigbee Alliance, neighborhood area networks, home area networks, smart meters, electric utilities
While Zigbee is a top standard for linking smart meters to home area networks and from that point to in-home energy monitors, no single standard for connecting the meter back to the utility has been available. Now the Zigbee Alliance is working with a team of smart grid vendors to meet that need. Read the story for details.

2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report

The report provides the results of the California Energy Commission’s assessments of a wide variety of energy issues currently facing California. These issues include future demand for electricity, natural gas, and transporta¬tion fuels; energy efficiency in California’s existing buildings; pub¬licly owned utilities’ progress toward achieving 10-year energy ef¬ficiency targets; the definition of zero-net-energy and other issues.

Utilities: More evidence demand may DROP instead of grow (Congress may insist!)

smart grid, modern, smart grid policy and regulation, energy efficiency, commercial buildings, electric utilities
The push for energy efficiency already has plenty of steam behind it and it looks like Congress is adding to the momentum. The US House of Representatives has passed a major energy efficiency bill with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, and the Senate appears ready to do the same. Read the story to find out what the impact could be for utilities.

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