Engaging and Retaining Consumers
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
As power utilities shift to regarding end-users as “consumers” rather than “ratepayers,” we enter a new world of possibilities. A changing marketplace for electric power offers utilities an opportunity to engage and retain both traditional customers – those responsible for the household electric bill – and all consumers, generally. This new world also comes with potential pitfalls that need to be addressed with a sense of urgency.
Rocky Mountain Power achieved more than 41 GWh of home energy savings through Bidgely's AI-driven HERs less than a year after introducing the program. Using its non-smart meter disaggregation technology, the AI company was able to deliver the energy savings at an average cost of $0.04/kWh, which it says is 25 percent below the average cost of conventional HER savings.
A study from Illinois CUB suggests that low-income customers may pay more than their fair share for electricity. The study’s findings affirm a theory that was almost impossible to test before smart meters became common in Illinois, providing far more granular data on electricity usage than traditional analog meters. Illinois is one of the few states in the country that allows researchers access to smart meter data that’s been stripped of customers’ identifying information.
Austin Energy is looking to use data it collects in a way that is much more granular in determining the degree to which customers feel positive or negative about topics such as bills or rebates, said Liz Jambor from Austin Energy. Specifically, Austin Energy is exploring what is known as sentiment analysis, which assesses the feelings and the ranking of positive and negative information derived from either survey data or from call data.
A new analysis finds that the average Ohioan’s electric bill is $2 lower each month because of how the state’s existing energy efficiency standards affect market prices. Those savings are in addition to any direct benefits from having to buy less electricity. The analysis calculated how utility programs under Ohio’s energy efficiency standards affect a typical residential consumer’s bill, based on 2017 data. It included the impacts on electricity prices in daily, real-time markets, as well as estimated impacts on the longer-range capacity market.
U.S. energy provider Liberty Utilities has selected Itron as part of efforts to enhance customer experience and grid operations. Liberty Utilities will deploy Itron’s OpenWay Riva IoT solution to modernize its grid infrastructure with advanced metering and distributed intelligence capabilities. The smart gas, electric and water metering infrastructure will enable the utility’s 700,000 consumers to access real-time usage data to enhance their efficiency.
NV Energy one-upped its huge 2018 solar and storage procurement recently, announcing three new solar projects totaling 1,200 megawatts paired with 590 megawatts of battery storage. Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, called the procurement “hulkingly big.” When built, one of the projects — at 690 megawatts — will be the largest solar plant in the U.S.
Nebraska residents and businesses in Gordon, Hay Spring, Pine Ridge, and Whiteclay will soon receive electric meter upgrades via NPPD. The work involving the Advanced Metering Infrastructure installation will begin July 1 and is expected to be completed in about three weeks. In 2019, approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, in conjunction with a three-year project by NPPD.