Ten years ago today, large portions of the Midwest and Northeast United States and into Canada went dark. The cascading event, which started shortly after 4:00 PM on August 14, 2003, ended up affecting an estimated 50 million people. For some customers, power was not restored for nearly four days. The Department of Energy and Natural Resources Canada jointly commissioned a task force that examined the underlying causes of the blackout and recommended forty-six actions to enhance the reliability of the North American power system. A number of the recommendations were incorporated into law passed by Congress and enacted in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Infrastructure Security Act of 2007.
Under the Recovery Act, the Energy Department awarded $3.5 billion in funds to the electricity industry, including OG&E, to help catalyze the adoption of smart grid tools, technologies and techniques such as demand response that are designed to increase the electric grid’s flexibility, reliability, efficiency, affordability, and resiliency. Understanding lessons learned from these projects is vital.
The Voices of Experience | Insights on Smart Grid Customer Engagement guide builds on the knowledge shared during a series of DOE-sponsored regional peer-to-peer workshops during which utilities discussed compelling smart grid topics and issues. The guide offers practical advice and lessons learned, and showcases creative, high-impact approaches.
The Smart Grid Investment Grant program's consumer behavior study effort presents an opportunity to advance the electric power industry’s understanding of consumer behaviors in terms of customer acceptance and retention, and energy and peak demand impacts.
The success of the Smart Grid will depend in part on consumers taking a more proactive role in managing their energy use. This document is the result of a nine-month effort to compile information on the successful approaches used by utilities to engage customers regarding smart grid technology deployments. Voices of Experience: Insights on Smart Grid Customer Engagement provides practical advice from utilities that have implemented smart grid projects to educate and engage their customers.