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T&D World Magazine

Customer Buy-in is Key to Smart Grid Success: Oracle Study

Oracle has announced the results of its “Smart Grid Challenges & Choices, Part 2: North American Utility Executives’ Vision and Priorities” research report, which surveyed 152 North American C-level utility executives to understand utilities’ visions for the upcoming decade, how smart grid plans and expectations are evolving and how utilities are communicating these changes to their customers.

This report is the second in a series. In March 2010, Oracle Utilities released its first survey of C-level utility executives – "Smart Grid Challenges & Choices: Utility Executives’ Vision for the New Decade."

Key Findings

While 71 percent of utilities say securing customer buy-in is a key step needed to drive the success of smart grid, just 43 percent say they are educating their customers on smart grid’s value proposition.
Additionally, three-quarters of utilities rely on one-way customer communication via mail and/or Web sites. Few use social media or other means to engage customers in a two-way discussion.
Further, utilities that have implemented pilot programs or system-wide smart grid deployments anticipate that just 38 percent of customers will take advantage of energy conservation programs – like smart metering pilot programs, in-home energy management programs, programmable thermostats and incentives for reducing energy loads, etc. – once available.
Utility executives agree, however, that their top priorities for the next 10 years will be improving service reliability (40 percent) and controlling customer costs (40 percent).
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