Blowback Attack: The Smart Grid’s Greatest Danger?
From Erica Watson-Currie, a member of the DOE-funded Smart Grid Demonstration project partnership between LADWP and a consortium of top Southern California research institutes including USC, UCLA, and CalTech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. USC and UCLA will be testing grounds for innovative technologies. This project is currently the only DOE funded project to have a socio-behavioral component, which makes it one to watch.
A DOE report states: “The ultimate success of the Smart Grid depends on the effectiveness of these devices in attracting and motivating large numbers of consumers.” Yet the way Smart Grid is described, implemented, and envisioned as it rolls out to the public may be the very things holding it back. Are the government and utilities creating the very resistance they need to overcome?
Our team [has] discovered most of the resistance centers on the following common themes:
* Anti-Big Business as evil, oppressive, greedy or abusive
* Anti-ties between business and government
* Privacy concerns
* Anti-governmental intrusion
* References to dystopian science fiction
* Fear of cost increases
Consumers are afraid, it seems, of things they don't understand, and they prefer the water analogy they're used to - "power flows" - over the data analogy they're not used to - "smart wires and appliances"...the Terminator and Matrix come to mind. So, what language should we use instead? I suggest customer empowerment and energy independence messages...
Continuing to “explain” Smart Grid using analogies which fail to generate end-user understanding; using utilities’ rate structures to reward those who cede control and punish those who refuse; and increasing governmental regulatory actions will result in fueling these fears, increasing end-users’ opposition and resistance.
Electricity - like Water or like Information?
by John Cooper on February 15th, 2010
Posted in The Smart Grid Consumer Tagged with LADWP, SGDG
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