Need to Create Consumer Awareness around sharing of Usage data
With the advent of Home Area Networks, Utilities will now be able to monitor consumption patterns of consumers. While this opens up substantial avenues for the Utility companies to analyze the data collected and utilize the same for meaningful purposes, the possibilities of consumer repercussions are very high...
As a consumer, it is a little scary to think of the fact that whenever one turns on his/her dishwasher, someone in the Utility Company might know it within seconds. One would definitely be worried that the data collected by means of advancements in advanced metering would reveal individual lifestyle patterns. Concerns over privacy of such information being made available have put a halt to major advanced metering initiatives in multiple geographies. So, what is that a Utility company should do?
Utilities should engage more in educating consumers about the values they can derive out of sharing basic consumption details and usage patterns. Utilities should be able to demonstrate that access to such data will eventually enable the utility to provide meaningful analysis to the consumer in return that helps him/her in achieving reasonable savings. Utilities should go for focused marketing campaigns, advertisements, commercials etc. to socialize the concept and attract more masses to participate. Only an inclusive approach will help achieve the holistic goal of achieving savings by the Utility and consumers alike. The question that arises is - are Utilities doing enough to promote consumer awareness and exploit the current opportunities made available by the technology advancements? If not, we all are losing out on 'an opportunity of a lifetime'!