No Two Are Alike
Since October 2013, Sheri Givens has been President of Givens Consulting LLC, providing energy consulting services to consumer advocate and non-profit organizations, trade associations, U.S. and international government agencies and utilities on regulatory and consumer education issues. From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Public Counsel/Executive Director of the Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel and served on both the ERCOT and Texas Reliability Entity Inc.’s Boards of Directors.
We hear a lot about utility innovation lately. A list of innovations would include microgrids, integrated distributed energy resource services, smart meters, electric vehicle charging stations, data analytic software, cloud computing, demand-side management and energy efficiency programs, smart phone applications, non-wires alternatives, and other emerging products and services.
What we do not hear much about is how these innovations will ultimately impact the residential utility customer.
Technology advances, cost reductions, and customer preferences permit utilities to expand beyond providing basic electricity and grid services in many jurisdictions nationwide. These same elements also encourage consumers to embrace innovation. Some of those innovations include EVs, energy-related smartphone applications, smart home networks and appliances, rooftop solar, and energy storage.
According to a 2017 J.D. Power survey, seventy percent of residential customers believe their utility infrastructure is being updated to improve safety and reliability. The survey also found electronic bill pay is increasing, paperless communications are on the rise, and website access is increasingly going mobile. Yet, utilities are still lagging behind airlines in customer satisfaction.