“We rolled [our smart-grid] project out over three years. We could have gone faster, but it would have required additional resources
and created a lot of unknowns, and we didn’t want that.”
“Otherwise consumers will feel this is
something being done to them and
that can easily turn into a negative
The stakeholder communication
process should include education about
how a smart-grid system will positively
impact the users’ lives. Whenever possi-
ble, it should also show them real-world
examples of how smart meters can help
lower bills or lessen the environmental
impact, he says.
Before taking the plunge, though,
utilities may want to consider running a
smaller-scale pilot project with employees—both to work out the kinks and to
demonstrate the benefits of the technology to gain buy-in.
“If you are only describing the con-
cept, it can be difficult to visualize,” Mr.
Hagan explains. “But if you let people
experience it, it can make a big differ-
ence in winning their support.”
He recalls working with a manager
skeptical of the benefits of smart grids.
As part of a pilot project, an energy dis-
play was installed in her home, and on
the first day it indicated that her
immersion heater was running nonstop.