The Infosys Utilities Blog seeks to discuss and answer the industry’s burning Smart Grid questions through the commentary of the industry’s leading Smart Grid and Sustainability experts. This blogging community offers a rich source of fresh new ideas on the planning, design and implementation of solutions for the utility industry of tomorrow.

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Smart Grid : Are your customers ready?

Smart Grid is a major transformation where utilities are revamping infrastructure, bringing automation and increasing reliability. This transformation is leading towards redefinition of business processes to achieve maximum operational benefits which have direct or indirect impact to the customers.

 Utilities try to  :

• Improve existing customer service programs
• Offer new customer service programs
• Introduce new rate plans
• Enable energy efficiency, demand side management or demand response programs 
• Improvement in outage notifications and restorations  
• ...etc

But, are customers ready to walk along with you? If customers are not "active" then it will have major impact in realization of smart grid benefits. Customers are major" influential" actor and can negatively impact you in various ways such as:

• New service offerings will be successful only when customers pay attention & it look attractive to them
• New rate plans offerings or change in tariff need customers buy-in
• Success  of energy efficiency programs depend up on customer's effective participation
• Demand forecasting will be unrealistic if customers behavior are untrendy
• Various AMI pilots & programs (such as Smart Meter, Home Area Network) need customers interest & active participations

In conclusion, smart grid has more "social" impact than operational. Customers are key actors who have influence to slow down the smart grid journey. They need to be "consulted" and "integrated" each & every step rather than approaching at last stage.

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