The entire utility-consumer relationship must be reengineered.
Michael Henry Price is a Specialist Leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP.
The business case for advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) can’t be justified alone on operational savings to the utility. But critical assumptions involving process improvements and system efficiencies depend on customer involvement. This sequel to a September 2009 article examines customer engagement strategies and techniques.
When Public Utilities Fortnightly published the author’s article, “Bringing Customers On Board,” last September, it was intended as a single work about the new utility business model known as “smart metering.” Today, however, with the added hindsight of nearly a year’s worth of experience, it’s clear that a sequel is needed.
The initial idea was straightforward enough. Simply stated, the AMI business case can’t be justified alone on operational cost savings to the utility. Rather, the success of smart metering—and indeed the entire smart grid paradigm—likely will depend on customer participation and buy-in.
That argument, presented last September in the first installment, still holds true today. But what has changed—what we have learned during the past year through hard experience—is the difficulty of winning over customers to the smart-meter world, and why it now appears that the utility, despite its best efforts, might not be able to do it alone.