Despite the massive adoption worldwide of smart meters, there are still many utilities who struggle to get external stakeholders excited about their benefits merely because they are telling the wrong stories.

I spoke here about the top five benefits of smart meters that reduce a Utility’s cost to serve.  There are many additional benefits to a Utility such as such as improved customer profitability, defending against market liberalization, generating new revenue streams, etc.  The problem is, these business benefits mean absolutely nothing to anyone outside the Utility, in fact, we have identified over thirty business benefits, crucial to a Utility’s business case, that we would never suggest these make up the stories you tell your external stakeholders.

The stories you tell must focus on customer value, and not business benefits.  We have found keeping it simple and talking about the following to be the most effective

  1. Reduce impact on the environment, which is about the reduction in usage of fossil fuels.  A consumer can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels in areas such as the adoption of distributed generation and storage, the transition to electric vehicles, or energy efficiency and conservation actions.
  2. Save money on their bill.  Through a range of products and services you can support a customer’s desire to reduce their energy bill.  Saving money also relates to your Utility lowering its tariffs through the introduction of new services such as demand response, as well as improving the efficiency of its operations..
  3. Improved convenience and experience.  We are not talking about providing customers with graphs of their energy usage; most don’t care about this stuff.  We are referring to services that help people get on with their lives.  For example, ensuring accurate bills, so customers do not need to waste time calling their Utility, or services such as the end to end automation of moving house.
  4. Improved reliability and safety of electricity supply.  While this remains relevant to utilities, in many parts of the world customers have become so used to high levels of supply reliability and safety that they do not understand why they need to pay for smart meters to improve it further.  Utilities need to be careful not to assume customers will see this as a significant benefit.

Try to avoid discussing your internal benefits with external stakeholders, focus instead on telling the stories that explain the value smart meters will deliver to them.

What stories do you tell?

Contact me to find out how we can help you get the most from smart metering and demand response.

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