Matthew Smith, Senior Director, Product Management
Matthew has over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in the energy management, home computer, and consumer electronics industries, most recently at Greenbox Technology, an early leader in customer-facing smart grid applications, where he was head of Marketing and Sales. Matthew earned his MBA from the Presidio School of Management and his B.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh.
Q: Does access to usage information help support customer acceptance of smart meter programs?
A: Studies show that when customers understand their usage, and how different behaviors impact their bill, they gain a more tangible appreciation for what smart meters mean to them. The next obvious question then becomes – how much information is enough? Again, studies demonstrate that the more information that is available, the better. Utilities should, at a minimum, provide customers with a daily consumption total plus, for context, some comparative information, such as how their consumption compares to their own historical usage and to that of consumers with similar-size homes and families.
Q: What percentage of utilities is making such smart meter data available to customers?
A: A review of utility practices reveals that only 20% of the utilities capable of sharing usage information with consumers actually do so. Why are some utilities apparently hesitant to provide this functionality to customers, given the widespread benefits? Sometimes utilities are unsure of the best way to make this information available. Studies show that one of the most effective means is to use an interactive web portal that delivers near-real-time usage insights, along with weekly email reports and messaging to in-home devices.
Q: What effect has energy literacy had on customers’ consumption?
A: The benefits of energy literacy are significant. Oklahoma Gas & Electric, for example, generated peak demand savings of 9% to 14% by leveraging its energy portal to make customers aware of the higher price of energy during certain hours of those peak days – and the utility achieved this reduction without having automatic control over energy-consuming devices in homes. Energy literacy, therefore, better equips utilities to meet demand while at the same time enabling customers to save money. Such positive results can help customers more tangibly see the benefit of smart meters and make them more likely to embrace such initiatives.