TAMPA, Fla., and WASHINGTON - To help build consumer acceptance and use of the smart grid, a group of companies and organizations announced the formation of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC). According to the SGCC, the founding members include consumer electronics and technology companies, retailers, consumer advocacy groups, and utilities dedicated to maximizing the value of the smart grid for consumers.

The SGCC stated it has three priorities:

1.In-depth research on consumer awareness, acceptance, and use of the smart grid with emphasis on their needs, preferences, and priorities.

2.Outreach and education to allow consumers to better understand the smart grid, its issues, and its potential.

3.Development of best practices to involve and empower consumers in the roll out of smart grid technologies.

Federal stimulus funding for the smart grid will reach more than $4 billion and, by 2015, nearly half of all North American consumers are expected to have next-generation smart meters. The SGCC wants to ensure these investments engage consumers and deliver the energy efficiency and the savings promised. According to the organization, consumer adoption of the new technology and services being deployed is the key to the success of the smart grid.

“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 SGCC’s founding members include: Best Buy/Magnolia; Control4; Ember; General Electric (GE); the GridWise Alliance (GWA); IBM; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC); and Silver Spring Networks (SSN).

For more information about the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, visit www.smartgridcc.org.

Publication date:04/12/2010