US consumers highly knowledgeable on smart energy tech – survey 16 MAY 2016


A new survey by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative has found US consumers to be highly knowledgeable about smart energy technologies.

The level awareness includes consumers highly knowledgeable about solar panels and the ability of smart energy technologies to be controlled remotely for a system’s reliability and efficiency.

In a press statement, the non-profit organisation said findings of its survey, Empowered Consumer Report indicate that 55% of consumers interested in transitioning to either a peak time savings or time-varying rate plan as well as purchasing smart grid technologies to reduce their monthly bills.

The Atlanta-based organisation surveyed more than 1500 consumers to gain insight into the level of awareness energy consumers have in regard to smart energy technologies as well as the level of interest in adopting the solutions.

Amongst the surveyed consumers, 68% expressed their interest in participating in utilities’ energy efficiency programmes by buying a smart appliance.

Commenting on the implementation of the study, Patty Durand, CEO of SGCC said: “As American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funding catalyzed smart grid innovation across the country, we have taken this opportunity to explore how consumers are breaking the mold of passive consumption to become dynamic, engaged users.

“The Internet of Thing (IoT) has become more prevalent and it’s important, now more than ever, that energy providers understand what consumers expect from the modern grid,” added Durand.

More importantly, the report states that the increase in consumer awareness is better aligned with consumer segmentation compared to their location.

The report reiterates the need for continued and increased measures to educate consumers on smart grid technologies to speed up the growth of the market in the US. [IoT: US consumers want their homes and cars to communicate].

Customer engagement in smart energy projects

In mid-April US utility Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) partnered with smart grid solutions provider Oracle to automate its communication with customers.

The utility cooperative providing electricity to more than 160,000 customers said it integrated Oracles new tech with its existing customer information system.

The combined solution of the Oracle Utilities Customer Self Service and the Oracle Utilities Customer Care and Billing solution is said will allow SMECO customers to view their bills, make payments, access grid information, report outages and participate in various programmes online, on a single website.

The decision to integrate the solutions falls under the utility’s efforts to reduce pressure on its call center and allow its staff to focus on more complex issues.

The solution will also be used to leverage SMECO’s energy portal which will allow consumers to participate in energy efficiency programmes once the utility completes rollout of its AMI project in 2017.