Consumer collaborative formed to foster adoption of the smart grid


Jesse Berst,
Acting Executive
Director, SGCC
Tampa, FL and Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 24, 2010 – The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) has been established to help build consumer acceptance and use of the smart grid by a group of founding members including consumer electronics and technology companies, retailers, consumer advocacy groups, and utilities.

The non-profit SGCC will work to understand consumer needs and preferences, reach out to build awareness and educate consumers about the benefits of the smart grid, and share best practices for consumer engagement and empowerment.  

The SGCC has three priorities:

  • In-depth research on consumer awareness, acceptance, and use of the smart grid with emphasis on their needs, preferences and priorities
  • Development of outreach and education to allow consumers to better understand the smart grid, its issues and potential
  • Development and sharing of best practices to involve and empower consumers in the rollout of smart grid technologies.

“For many reasons – energy independence, energy efficiency, integrating renewables, accommodating electric vehicles, and global competitiveness – we must modernize our electric system, but we can’t do that without the support and involvement of the ultimate customer,” said Jesse Berst, acting executive director of the SGCC. “We formed the SGCC to bring important stakeholders together to do the necessary research, education and collaboration to make sure we include the consumer in the conversation.”

The cross-industry initiative started after IP-based home control systems provider Control4 recognized a common concern emerging from partners, customers, and smart grid conferences that the industry wasn’t equipped to understand and support consumer reactions to the technology upgrade.

The broad representation of the group and support from established smart grid and consumer advocacy organizations reinforces the importance of the SGCC’s mission.

“There’s been intense work and focus on the technology, energy efficiency and economic advancements the smart grid enables, but if we as an industry don’t turn our attention to the consumer, to drive participation and acceptance, the real promise of the smart grid, energy independence, can never be realized,” said Richard Walker, president of Control4 Energy Systems.

Founding members of the SGCC include Magnolia/Best Buy, Control4, Ember, General Electric, GridWise Alliance, IBM, NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), Silver Spring Networks (SSN), Stoel Rives LLP, SutherlandGold Group, and the HEAT agency. Additionally the Demand Response and Smart Grid Coalition and the Future of Privacy Forum have joined as affiliate members, contributing resources to the SGCC.