If half of U.S. consumers don’t know what a ‘smart meter’ is, how are they supposed to engage?

That is perhaps the most interesting question raised by the latest “Consumer Pulse” research by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. In its third survey by the Collaborative of at least 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. since 2011 reflecting the U.S. demographics, 54% of Americans who are heads of households and at least 18 years old […]

Purported smart meter fires: how power industry can get the facts, manage the risks

As dozens of U.S. utilities ramp up their deployment of smart grid programs and with them new digital / smart meters, a few meter installations reportedly are causing small fires that could undermine the trust utilities need to continue updating the nation’s 100+year-old electric system. It is not clear how many real fires have resulted […]

Are low-income consumers slowing smart grid progress? Hardly . . .

The answer thus far would appear to be that low-income consumers are looking forward to smarter energy offerings based on fresh data from the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. A recent survey for Collaborative sheds light on the opportunity and the challenge of engaging consumers who have annual family incomes up to $20,000 (for a family […]

FAST FIX: debunking 6 myths about smart meters

Courtesy of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, here are facts about smart/digital meters and six commonly circulated myths — debunked. 1. Smart meters are less accurate than analog meters. Public service commissions require meter manufacturers to supply independently certified testing results to prove that their smart meters provide accurate measurements. 2. Smart meters are a […]

Consumers deserve a LOT more information about smart grid functions, benefits — new research; are Republicans opposed?

New research out this morning for the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative affirms what what is needed for utilities, and their vendors, need to accomplish for smart grid applications to grow more quickly: educate, educate and educate some more. Here are the key findings, followed by selected top-line implications. The research, conducted by Market Strategies International […]

One way to prove smart grid benefits: assess power outages and how systems recover more quickly

Consumers, utility executives and regulators can debate the benefits of smart grid applications all they want. But proof is emerging that they can dramatically cut short power outages and even help save lives. It begs the question why these benefits are not more of the smart grid discussion. The speed and efficiency with which Vermont […]

Engaging consumers about smart grid apps: face-to-face better than Facebook

From the successes, hiccups and outright failures of utilities trying to deploy smart grid applications, those worth emulating are few. As previous posts on TheEnergyFix demonstrate, Southern California Edison is widely hailed for rolling out programs that are working. So is Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Another success story to emulate is the “PowerCents DC” effort […]

Engaging utility consumers about Smart Grid benefits – what it takes to be a leader

Judging by the myriad approaches energy utilities are taking in their march toward a smarter grid, it is becoming more clear by the month what it will take to truly engage consumers. Some utilities get it, some are making progress  and others lag behind, almost embarrassingly so. As with most clean or smarter energy initiatives, […]

A different kind of energy competition. Or is it guilt? Envy? Pride?

If you knew most of your neighbors were using 10% percent less energy on an apples-to-apples basis during the past year, how would you react? Would you drop a hint at the next neighborhood barbeque? Would you date someone who is an energy hog? A burgeoning field of data miners, software developers and social scientists […]

Smart Grid Stakes Are High for Baltimore Gas & Electric and Its Customers

Baltimore Gas & Electric has made admirable strides plotting, researching and testing smarter grid applications (see p. 18) backed by a promise from the U.S. Department of Energy to help deployment with a $200 million “Stimulus” grant. But the utility made one miscalculation early in 2010, at least in the eyes of Maryland’s Public Service […]