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.
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