Today’s guest blog post is from Dean Schiller, CEO CEIVA Energy

We’re entering a new era of the smart grid. Itron has spent years working with utilities, municipalities and energy consumers to lay the groundwork of consumer energy engagement by deploying nearly 16 million electric smart meters globally. Today, utilities are figuring out how to reap the benefits from the smart meters they’ve already deployed—and both CEIVA Energy and Itron are here to help.

CEIVA Energy is a utility-focused home energy management systems provider that operates on Itron’s smart grid infrastructure. The companies have worked together for four years to help utilities activate their infrastructure investments and engage with consumers in ways never before possible.

Itron’s initial focus on the deployment of core operations such as data collection, advanced meter reading and streamlined customer billing has led to significant improvements for utilities. For example, Itron’s OpenWay smart grid solution has dramatically cut costs and significantly reduced outage dispatch times for utilities.

Automation and efficiency are just the first steps. In collaboration with CEIVA, Itron’s smart meters and software are poised to help utilities go beyond basic functionality to provide better services and engage consumers, which in turn helps to more easily achieve mandates.

Enter CEIVA Energy. CEIVA has built an integrated platform to help utilities capitalize on the immense potential of smart meters over the OpenWay network.

  • The Entryway solution works with OpenWay to give utilities management software for residential demand response, remote meter and device provisioning and data analytics. In other words, CEIVA helps utilities engage consumers by getting more out of the infrastructure they already have.
  • CEIVA’s Homeview ecosystem engages consumers with instant and historical views of their home’s energy, gas and water usage on their mobile device, a utility-branded web portal and an in-home display. Consumers can also respond to peak events and control smart thermostats, plugs and other load control devices from their mobile devices on the couch or on an airplane

The centerpiece of CEIVA’s approach is tapping real-time smart meter data to capture consumer attention. The CEIVA display blends personal pictures with instant and weekly views of electricity, water and gas use. In addition, they receive unique, thoughtful personal conservation messages and considerate community messages from the utility, notifying them about local events and more.

This approach gets the results the industry has been hoping for. Research reveals that a recent CEIVA/Itron deployment with Glendale Water and Power drove big improvements in consumer energy knowledge and behavior. Specifically, the program:

  • Sparked a nine-fold increase in consumer understanding of energy use
  • Encouraged 83 percent of participants to change behavior
  • Boosted awareness of hourly electricity costs by 85 percent

While Itron provides the expertise in hardware, CEIVA draws on a deep background engaging people on a personal level. As a former Walt Disney executive, CEIVA’s CEO helped create classics such as Aladdin and The Lion King, which pulled on the heartstrings to become perennial family favorites. At CEIVA, he’s adapted the techniques he learned at Disney to transform utility consumer engagement.

For example, for our partnership with National Grid, we developed an eye-catching heat wave message in compelling, unmissable font—“78* The ideal temperature to find smaller numbers on your bill.” These images have turned out to be so effective that our utility partners regularly reuse them on their Facebook pages, in e-newsletters and at industry events.

Engaged consumers represent the Promised Land for utilities facing myriad business and regulatory pressures. They enable more effective demand response and efficiency programs, helping to more easily achieve goals. Engaged consumers also require less servicing, helping to boost the bottom line.

Partnerships like CEIVA’s with Itron are critical to deliver on the promise of the smart grid by completing the last mile—or last few feet—to connect smart meter information with the consumer. Together, we are changing the utility business by unlocking consumer engagement and reinventing the utility-consumer relationship so that utilities can thrive in a rapidly shifting market.

Learn more by visiting CEIVA in the Knowledge Center at Itron Utility Week this Sunday-Tuesday.

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