Technology opens customers’ homes to utility services.
Matt Dinsmore is the director of the energy and clean tech practice at management consultancy Altman Vilandrie & Co., and Laurence Wong is a manager in the energy and clean tech practice.
Utilities are charting their role and next steps as they determine just how (or whether) they should move into new home-based energy services or transition beyond the meter to achieve new operational benefits. Utilities are looking beyond the meter to enable new revenue opportunities, and improve performance in time-of-use, critical-peak, real-time pricing and demand response programs. In these early stages much of that discussion has focused on the technology side of the debate, with numerous questions gaining attention. Should we be using public networks (e.g., Verizon, ATT) or private networks (e.g., Silver Spring, Sensus, Elster, L&G, Itron OpenWay, etc.) for our advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployments? What should be used for home energy management (HEM) connectivity—i.e., the AMI network or consumer broadband? What are the emerging standards going to look like—i.e., Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi—for HEM communications? What features should the meter have—i.e., 15-minute increment storage, remote connect and disconnect, etc.?