Sense Utilities Blog

The Power of Real Time

Imagine it’s the end of a long day and you look forward to getting home and relaxing. The only thing standing in your way: traffic. It could be a short or long commute, depending entirely on unpredictable traffic conditions. But thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones and navigation apps, getting through traffic has become infinitely easier. Drivers are alerted in real-time about road conditions, construction, and accidents so they can change their routes to minimize delays. Without that real-time data, you could be stranded on a highway that looks more like a parking lot or even put yourself in danger.

Real-time matters. Having insights at your fingertips matters.

Utility professionals already know they’re facing an all-new way of operating as more and more distributed energy resources come online. Customers will be facing a new way of operating, too. As electrification of transportation and home heating takes hold, customers will be making many more decisions about their electricity that impact the grid.

To make it all work, utilities will need customers to take actions that increase their energy efficiency overall and reduce energy usage at specific times. This will only happen if consumers have information in real time that guides their decisions to control household consumption. Just as utilities transitioned from thinking about their constituents as “rate payers” to “customers,” they must now shift to recognize “customers” as “collaborators” who can help them reach their demand flexibility and energy efficiency goals.

Today, some utilities are at risk of developing a poor customer experience around demand flexibility and energy efficiency. On top of a rise in bills, strategies to manage demand range from complicated pricing structures to ineffectual tips like using cold water instead of hot. Attempts at load disaggregation to provide greater insight have been too inaccurate, too vague, and too late. Finding out that you might have used an unidentified appliance in the kitchen last week is not very helpful. If they’re lucky, consumers will get a text message from their utility imploring them to reduce energy use during peak events.

These approaches, along with traditional behavioral energy efficiency programs, don't deliver the levels of consumer engagement that utilities will require to successfully navigate the energy transition. Real gains occur when customers have tools and real-time insight to help them choose the right devices and appliances to use in their homes, can track down hidden energy hogs, and can utilize applications and automation to better use energy in their homes

It's time to adopt a new generation of real-time, consumer focused mobile applications. The Sense app shows in real time what is using power in the home, down to specific appliances, making it simple for consumers to identify and cut energy usage. The immediate feedback generates trust and high levels of engagement. In fact, nearly 60% of Sense users remain long-term active users. Approximately half of those users open the app on any given week with an average of 6.5 app sessions per week.

Sense has partnered with Landis+Gyr to develop the first next generation electric meter fully enabled with Sense real-time intelligence that is proven to engage consumers in actively managing their home energy use. With Sense, utilities can offer customers an engaging mobile app to better manage their energy usage and connect to programs and services that address efficiency, load flexibility and electrification without any hardware beyond the meter.

Learn how next generation smart meters enabled with Sense will redefine your residential DSM program.

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