Utility Execs: Customer Buy-in Critical to Smart Grid Success

Once again a major player in the Smart Grid space is sounding the alarm about the importance of customer buy-in to Smart Grid. Readers here have seen our summaries in recent weeks about Accenture's comprehensive report, "Revealing the Values of the New Energy Consumer." Now Oracle is out with its second annual "Smart Grid Challenges & Choices" report, based on interviews with 152 C-level executives at U.S. utilities.

Among the report's most insightful findings: Almost three-quarters (71%) of utility executives say that securing customer buy-in is essential to Smart Grid success, yet less than half (43%) are doing anything about it. Moreover, the report suggests that most utilites are stuck in the communications past, relying on one-way channels like mail and websites while customers are increasingly relying on two-way, interactive channels like Facebook and YouTube.

Take a look at the full Oracle report (pdf below)) and then weigh in with your comments. Why is it that there is such a discrepancy between what utility executives know and what they do? My theory is that the utility business is in transformation, moving quickly to a more customer-centric model. What's yours?