Preventing smart meter rot: Five principles for increasing customer involvement in smart meter services


Conference: World Meter Design Congress
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Presenter: Peter C Honebein
Abstract: Presented by Peter C Honebein at World Meter Design Congress

Are smart meters destined to rot on the walls of the world’s homes and businesses? Will customers find value in the services a smart meter system offers? With business cases weighted toward operational benefits, there is a significant risk that customer-oriented services, such as online presentment, in-home displays, and other information and convenience-based products, will remain underdeveloped and underutilized. It is unclear who the champion of customer-oriented services will be: governments, public utilities commissions, utilities, third-party product marketers, or customers themselves. In California, for example, the public utilities commission has articulated a policy where the regulatory forces end at the meter, and market forces drive what occurs in the home.

It is clear, however, that to avoid an underdeveloped and underutilized smart meter system, champions of those systems must embrace an evolutionary approach to customer adoption. The jury is still out on what will be the best online display, the best in-home display, and so on. Based upon research and perspectives from industry experts, this presentation synthesizes a set of five First Principles. These are the principles that must be integrated into business cases, strategies, and tactics to support the emerging social aspects of smart meter systems so that the right solutions are put into customer hands. These five First Principles are:

  1. Embracing customer-centered design
  2. Balancing rational and emotional customer experiences
  3. Engaging customers in small, observable steps of adoption
  4. Using customer actions as customer segmentation criteria
  5. Engaging in action research to drive evolution and emergence

The presentation will discuss each of these principles and provide examples of how they might be put into practice to increase customer involvement with smart meter systems.