SoftGrid Conference Explores Utility Data Crunching


Attending Greentech Media’s Soft Grid Conference In Menlo Park, CA, this week, where the general topic is how to effectively manage, analyze and take action on the data generated by the digitized grid.  GTM’s Jeff St. John explains, “Customer data is a huge realm of interest for utilities — and the wider world of distributed energy resources is going to make customers even more important in years to come.” Customer service and demand management is one big reason utilities want to crunch your data. Companies helping them on the residential side are scaling their efforts through behavioral programs like OPower’s. Auto Demand Response progress is taking a different course on the commercial side. Read about Enerliance new AutoDR deployment here.

Smart Buildings Panel with Blue Pillar, FirstFuel and Retroficiency was an opportunity to quiz FirstFuel CTO about his company’s new partnership with Opower. A big part of motivation was to jointly go after ‘Mom&Pop’ small to medium size buildings – so move up from Opower’s strength in residential behavioral engagement programs.  Not sure they are going to have much impact with a similar behavioral approach in commercial. He did offer this statistic: Generally, the uptake on utility energy efficiency programs is only 1%-5%. FirstFuel has seen engagement uptick by 5% to 8% when it partners with a utility and deploys its big-data approach to increasing engagement. Blue Pillar’s Brad Witter addressed the challenges of engaging critical power infrastructure customers.  He noted that in NYC, post-Hurricane Sandy, engagement in EE programs was understood to be a positive step toward energy resiliency – and customers wanted to get on that path.  Brad Witter authored an article about Blue Pillar’s approach to more secure building management for critical facilities like hospitals, military bases, etc. for last year.

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