Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Energy consumers want utilities to invest in technology: GE

Iain Morris
August 19, 2014
 
Some 41% of Americans living east of the Mississippi River are willing to pay an extra $10 a month to ensure the power grid is more reliable, according to a new survey from GE, compared with 34% of those living west of the Mississippi.

The company puts this disparity down to the fact that consumers living east of the Mississippi experienced nearly three times as many power outages over the past 12 months as those living to the west.

Even so, GE (Fairfield, CT, USA) claims the survey results prove that consumers want utilities to invest in technologies that would reduce the likelihood of outages and deliver efficiency improvements and cost savings to households.

It says that a number of power providers are already anticipating and planning for the grid of the future through grid modernization strategies – creating what GE terms an “energy internet” that can deliver real-time information to consumers.

“Twenty-first century consumers are more sophisticated and expect reliable power 24 hours a day to support their power-hungry lifestyles,” said John McDonald, the director of technical strategy and policy development for GE’s Digital Energy business. “Moreover, when there is a power outage, consumers expect their utility to communicate effectively and provide real-time updates on power restoration progress.”

“Leveraging big data, minimizing recovery times and optimizing renewable energy will be key for utilities to meet consumers’ evolving needs,” he added.



GE’s survey also indicates that consumers now expect more value from their utility providers, with 82% of respondents agreeing their utilities should do more to encourage energy conservation and share ideas to improve energy efficiency in the home.

GE is attempting to carve out a leading position as a provider of smart grid technology allowing utilities and consumers to cut down on energy consumption and reduce costs.

Earlier this month, it agreed a deal to roll out a cloud-based, fee-for-service grid management system in the Mississippi city of Aberdeen.

GE said its technology would allow consumers in Aberdeen to view energy usage and billing information on a real-time basis, and that it would also provide asset monitoring and outage detection services to the local utility.
 
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