In 2011 and 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE OE), in partnership with electric utilities, convened a series of regional smart grid peer-to-peer workshops. The workshops were designed to bring together key stakeholders to engage in peer-to-peer dialogues around the most compelling smart grid topics in the region. The meetings offered a platform for smart grid implementers, at all stages of project deployment, to share their experiences and learn from others in the field. Discussions at each workshop underscored the changing nature of the utility-customer relationship and the need for utilities to effectively communicate the benefits smart grid technologies. Building on the success of the workshops and in response to industry need, DOE OE convened a Smart Grid Customer Engagement Working Group to develop a guide of industry best practices for smart grid customer engagement.
Why the Smart Grid Customer Engagement Guide?
The success of the smart grid will depend in part on consumers taking a more proactive role in managing their energy use. A best practices guide will provide utilities with successful approaches to engaging customers along with parameters and guidance for measuring the effectiveness of customer engagement programs – filling a real need of utilities and regulators alike.
Purpose of the Guide
Utilities undertaking new projects can use the Guide to learn about insights and lessons learned. Utilities with projects underway can use the Guide to compare their experience to others to learn new methods or to confirm their approach. The Guide is intended to provide information on elements to consider regarding customer engagement activities – it will not be a roadmap of what to do, but a compilation of best practices.
Progress and Path Forward
Recommendations from the Working Group have been received and are being assimilated into the framework. An initial draft of the framework has been distributed to members of the Working Group for review and comments. The final document is scheduled to be released in July, 2013.