In the US, the utility for the state of Illinois Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is launching a new initiative to engage customers with smart meters.
The joint project between ComEd and the small town of Chatham will see the utility training a group of ten local residents as outreach workers to support meter installers.
ComEd will coach the new team to talk to customers about the benefits of smart meters in an effort to help installers gain access to existing meters.
Supported by the Chatham Business Association, in the first week the Community Outreach team was able to contact 903 addresses, schedule 45 appointments and eliminate 83 vacant properties from ComEd’s Unable To Complete (UTC) list, "bringing the benefits of smart meters and cost savings to area residents", reported Melinda Kelly, executive director of Chatham Business Association.
ComEd confirmed that the customer engagement pilot is expected to last for three months and the results will be reviewed by all parties to determine next steps.
Smart grid job creation
The move is also part of a ComEd policy to create jobs in the Chatham area, which was welcomed by the local Congressman, Mayor and business association.
US Republican Bobby L. Rush said: “I commend ComEd and the Chatham Business Association for launching this initiative in Chatham.
"By pairing employment opportunity with consumer education on energy efficiency, the entire community stands to gain.
He added: "ComEd’s pilot program provides an example of the type of investment and collaboration that I encourage other corporations to follow. They can provide the impetus to turn Chatham around.”
Commenting on job creation deriving from grid modernization, ComEd president and CEO Anne Pramaggiore said more than 3,600 full-time equivalent jobs have been created as a result of smart grid work in northern Illinois.
In-home customer engagement
Chicago-based ComEd is also testing a new in-home customer engagement solution in collaboration with energy analytics service provider Bidgely.
In February 2015, ComEd announced it was launching a pilot to test Bidgely’s HomeBeat energy monitor and Web & Mobile solution, which will deliver personalized energy reports detailing energy consumption.
ComEd is claiming to be first to market with this technology.
During the pilot, the utility will give a HomeBeat energy monitor to 250 customers in Northern Illinois, which will allow them to connect to their ComEd smart meter and provide real-time data to the Bidgely cloud.
An additional 2,500 people from ComEd's 3.8 million customer base will receive access to Bidgely’s HomeBeat Web & Mobile platform, which utilizes information collected and sent over the ComEd smart meter network to Bidgely’s cloud.
Bidgely’s HomeBeat platform will provide personalized appliance-level insights through the company’s disaggregation-based solution.
The pilot is expected to launch in late spring and run for approximately six months.