Enhancing consumer confidence in smart meters in just 90 days


Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.  — (METERING.COM) — May 3, 2013 – A new handbook, setting out how to enhance consumer confidence in smart meters in just 90 days, has been published by NV Energy with support from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Based on NV Energy’s own experiences, as well as those of San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and ComEd, The Smart Meter Deployment Handbook presents a 90-60-30 strategy to build confidence with consumers prior to the deployment of their smart meters.

Though the importance of engaging consumers in a smart meter rollout is now well understood, it wasn’t in the earlier days of the technology and also some utilities have been challenged in developing consumer relationships and trust – particularly in the face of activism over issues such as security, privacy and health effects of smart meters.

According to the handbook, the consumer confidence story began in 2006 when SDG&E set the goal of “a neutral-to-positive customer experience” for its 1.4 million smart meter deployment – a goal that was achieved. As a result NV Energy decided to adopt a similar approach, enhancing it by formalizing the process. Likewise it was followed at ComEd, with adjustments for local conditions.

In broad terms, with more detail in the 36-page handbook, the approach is as follows:
-90 days: Educate employees and community leaders
-60 days: Educate community
-30 days: Notify customers
0 day: Deploy.

+5 days: Survey and support customers
+35 days: Provide online tools.

The handbook, in which customer experience specialists Peter Honebein and Roy Cammarano were involved in the research and development, is intended as a “‘first edition’ recipe book for developing a smart meter deployment approach that works.” Future editions are expected to enhance and adjust the recipes, and utilities are invited to contribute their adjustments or new recipes.