Do you have questions about SGCC’s Smart Grid Consumer Value Proposition Communications Toolkit? We have answers. To learn more about this toolkit, click on the most frequently asked questions below and view the corresponding drop-down information.
SECC's "Effective Communication with Consumers on the Smart Grid Value Proposition” is a research-based, industry-wide resource for stakeholders to use when conveying smart grid benefits to consumers. The communications toolkit was compiled with a combination of industry insight, previous SECC research, public relations expertise and finally, an online survey conducted in 2016 of U.S. adults who regularly make decisions on household electricity usage and payments. The toolkit provides utilities and their partners with actionable takeaways and a cache of ready-to-use communications tools, including short- and long-form messaging, banner images and an infographic.
It is the job of power industry stakeholders to help consumers understand the smart grid, the resulting benefits and why they should matter to them — whether the benefits are lower costs, reduced environmental impacts or increased reliability. As an industry, we should let consumers know that in the smart grid era they have access to their energy use data, more advanced communications from their utilities, as well as other benefits. Stakeholders can utilize this Communications Toolkit to inform consumers about how energy use data can help grid reliability, reduce energy-related costs, avoid outages and speed up power restoration after a storm. Industry stakeholders can either pull directly from the toolkit’s messaging house or use the research-based takeaways to inform their communications efforts.
Scenarios of situational use (the following are meant to be examples and are not exhaustive of the messaging):
- Consumer Advocacy Organizations: Educating a community group - A group of environmentally-conscious community members approaches your organization to learn more about how the smart grid can play a role in addressing climate change and reducing emissions. Adapting the takeaways on environmental messaging can simplify and bring the environmental key messages to the front of the conversation.
- Cooperative Electric Utilities: Conversation with a consumer - John Doe mentions that he recently purchased a smart thermostat for his home so he can manage his energy usage more efficiently. He wants to know the potential cost savings one would receive through the usage of smart energy devices. John also inquires if his power company offers any electricity pricing plans and/or programs for customer enrollment. Concentrating on the message house of key foundational statements would make clear the full suite of benefits from grid modernization.
- Investor Owned Utilities: Lobbying state officials - State officials are discussing plans to determine whether the city should invest in field data operations, and partner with their local power provider to advance their smart city capabilities and grid hardening for storm events. Benefits of reliability can be conveyed succinctly and clearly.
- Municipal Electric Utilities: Media inquiries - Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Smith wants to speak in mid-summer when the strain on the power grid is at its peak. The messaging can be used to help her understand how a decrease in the frequency and duration of electricity outages financially benefits the consumer and how grid modernization makes this possible.
- Technology Vendors & Consultants: Customizing communications – A client is working with your company on messaging for a particular demand response program. Direct communications with consumers including details on incentives can be adjusted to incorporate clearer messages on the benefits of grid modernization involved with specific programs. Ultimately, the messages would help consumers understand how the smart grid impacts the program, and about the resulting benefits that matter to them, whether that is lower costs, reducing environmental impact or increasing reliability.
This toolkit’s takeaways, messaging, elevator pitches, stump speech and visual elements are intended for SECC members and power industry stakeholders to use to communicate the smart grid consumer value proposition with consumers. Together, these pieces have the power to steer all forms of communication and content in multiple channels. This approach is based on the assumption that when industry stakeholders use common messages and messaging approaches across different communication platforms and methods to convey the value of grid modernization projects, consumers are more likely to hear those messages and grasp the value proposition.
The full toolkit is available now for download at no cost for both SECC’s members and the energy industry at large. All you need to do is to fill out a short form. We are committed to protecting your privacy and will not share your information.
SECC’s vision is that most consumers will have an informed grasp of the benefits of a modern grid. Engaged consumers are better informed and are more likely to have a positive experience with energy technology. This toolkit can assist power industry stakeholders in moving consumers along a continuum of engagement, education and participation.
If you're unable to pull directly from the toolkit’s messaging house or use the research-based takeaways to inform your communications efforts, you may consider consumer segmentation. Consumer segmentation is the best way to communicate programs and services for targeted consumers. SECC's Wave 5 Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation study contains a smart grid–focused consumer segmentation framework updated based on the latest data to reflect today’s marketplace for smart energy technology.