Understanding consumers’ likelihood of engaging in smart energy behaviors.
Peter Shaw is senior director, smart energy, at J.D. Power and Associates, and Gina Pingitore is chief research officer.
Electric utilities are coming to terms with the business need to better understand and predict the likelihood that diverse customers will engage in new and different energy management behaviors. This need is driven, in part, by public policy imperatives, regulatory mandates, and market conditions, including the need to augment flagging sales growth with new revenue streams.
But another key factor driving utilities’ need for greater insights into customers’ energy management behaviors is the implementation of smart grid initiatives. Even as utilities build the smart grid physical infrastructure, they seek to better understand customer energy use behaviors and develop strategies to accommodate diverse norms. The long-term objective is to encourage smart energy customer behavior on a wide scale.
Utilities face multiple challenges in enlisting customers as smart grid participants. The goal is to enable customer involvement in optimizing when, where, and how much electricity they consume—and increasingly that they generate or store. Fundamentally, this requires a new definition of the customer role in the energy supply chain, predicated on encouraging smart energy behaviors unfamiliar to many customers.