Survey Finds Growing Awareness of Smart Grid Programs but Still Low Participation
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
U.S. energy consumers are increasingly aware and broadly supportive of the smart grid, but relatively few of them participate in most smart-grid related programs and products. Nearly three-fourths of U.S. consumers have at least heard of smart meters and the smart grid, according to a longitudinal study published by SGCC, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that does market research for industry stakeholders on energy consumers.
PSEG has launched a campaign for statewide regulatory reform in New Jersey, with the company's CEO entreating utility regulators to consider longer-term approval of energy infrastructure projects. PSEG President, Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo said regulators must create financial incentives for utilities to help their customers reduce at-home energy use, grow renewable energy and other energy-saving technologies.
Since 2011, SGCC has been investigating consumer perspectives on the smart grid, smart meters and related technologies. At the cornerstone of this investigation has been SGCC's flagship, longitudinal “Consumer Pulse and Market Segmentation” surveying. Reaching nearly 1,700 consumers across the U.S. via online surveys, “Consumer Pulse – Wave 6” revealed several interesting findings on the state of energy consumers today.
In the US, SCE is offering a $450 rebate to customers own an all-electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle. SCE joins other utilities in the in passing along revenues they’ve received in the form of credits from the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program to customers using electricity as a low-carbon transportation fuel. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune states that PG&E is also offering cash rebates for owning or leasing an electric vehicle or plug-in.
The number of electric cars sold worldwide hit a record level of 750,000 last year, bringing the total number of electric vehicles driving on roads around the globe to two million. While two million is a notable milestone for the industry, the figure still only represents 0.2 percent of the total number of light duty passenger vehicles in operation.
Sunrun announced recently it will begin operating in Texas through a partnership with Engie Resource's retail company Think Energy. While Texas has no default net metering policies, customers will be able to sign up for a 20-year net metering agreement that will return energy credits for exported power through Sunrun's partnership with Think Energy.
This June, NYSEG will begin installing smart meters for its customers in Tompkins County. According to a local publication, NYSEG will install some 12,400 smart electric meters and 7,300 smart gas meters under efforts to automate its billing processes. The project is part of the utility's Energy Smart Community pilot program.
Utilities traditionally haven’t had to consider the vagaries of consumer behavior as a big part of their grid investment and power procurement plans. But with the rise of customer-owned solar PV, plug-in electric vehicles, demand response, behind-the-meter batteries and other distributed energy resources, leaving the customer out of the equation is no longer an option -- at least, not for SMUD.