Effective Customer Engagement Begins by Knowing the Score
Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
OK, let's set a few relationship rules up front: We only talk when I want to talk. You just have to be there when I need you. We can do this by phone, laptop, Facebook, Twitter or email. And, no, you don't have to be perfect but, yes, you do have to fix it when you mess up. I don't even want to have to ask because I expect it. That is all. Have a nice day! What sounds like a high-maintenance relationship is kind of what utilities face every day with customers, especially during this golden age of analytics and social media.
Pepco is proposing an off-peak electric vehicle charging rate for drivers in the DC, offering to reduce rates for avoiding peak hours of noon to 8 p.m. A similar rate was approved by the Maryland PSC two years ago following a multi-year pilot showing drivers took advantage of the lower rates. Pepco has asked the DC PSC to approve a study of the new rate, initially offering it to 100 residential customers.
Alabama Power is collaborating with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to deploy the smart grid pilot Smart Neighborhood to its consumers residing in the Hoover community of Signature Homes. Under the pilot, the energy provider will develop and integrate with its grid network, a microgrid comprising solar panels, battery energy storage system and backup generation to offer customized solutions to improve energy efficiency in their homes.
PG&E will administer about $240 million under California’s self-generation incentive program (SGIP) to help customers install energy storage, renewables and other energy technologies. The funding is allocated through the end of 2019 and according to the utility, 79 percent of the incentives under SGIP are now allocated for energy storage, with approximately 13 percent of this available for residential projects.
Rural electric cooperatives spread across the U.S. in the 1930s to electrify parts of the country where as many as nine out of ten rural homes lacked electricity. Today, many of those co-ops are building on that legacy by deploying an advanced, 21st-century version of the electricity distribution systems they brought to farms decades ago. In some cases, rural America is seeing the smart grid arrive at their doorstep well before their urban and suburban counterparts.
Utilities know — customer engagement is low unless there’s an outage or a billing problem. Meanwhile, those same customers are engaging with tons of other brands through websites and their smartphones: Uber or Lyft for transportation, PostMates or Seamless or Dominos for dinner, RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal to track their exercise activities, and Netflix to relax in the evening.
The U.S. wind industry installed more than 8 gigawatts in 2015 and again in 2016. Follow that with the strongest first quarter this decade and the industry can lay claim to some consistency, according to the just-released first quarter report from the AWEA. This promise of market stability follows a decade of up and down deployments, buffeted by policy makers' changing sentiments.
IID, a public power utility in Southern California, took the No. 1 spot for the most energy storage, in megawatts, on a new “Storage Top 10” list created by SEPA. IID landed the top spot in the “megawatts” category by adding 30 MW of new storage last year. The Sterling Municipal Light Department, the public power utility for the town of Sterling, Massachusetts, led the storage list for watts per customer, with 533 watts.