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Use smart grid investments to better engage customers

By Max Burkhalter
February 25, 2014

Customer engagement can play a critical role in growth for utilities. From boosting service satisfaction to enabling future growth through increased revenues, engaging customers on a new level is important for firms to explore and focus any expansion effort on. One approach - smart grid deployments - can serve to further engagement efforts and simplify interactions with customers so that firms can become more flexible and dynamic in the customer service side of operations.

According to Smart Grid News, the value in customer engagement isn't just focused on service and revenues either, but help optimize demand response, fund energy efficiency programs and minimize problems when customers do need to call in to dispute a bill or report an outage. Smart grid solutions help to further these advantages and ensure that when an interaction between the firm and a customer does occur, all of the necessary information to resolve the situation quickly and efficiently is readily at hand.

Make data work for you
The trick to driving engagement through smart grid initiatives is how a firm harnesses its data. Smart meters and the supporting hardware, such as serial to Ethernet converters allow utilities to gather more information about consumers more quickly, expediting service and helping to paint a complete picture of a user's energy habits and needs. While this improves energy delivery on a base level, it also allows a utility to have more information on hand when a customer contacts it with a problem.

Return the benefits to the customer
Turning the advantages of a smart grid solution around and delivering them back to the consumer will also improve interactions with them and allow a firm to focus on building that relationship further. This will help utilities when seeking to invest in future projects, gaining customer support easily and being able to demonstrate value readily.

Smart grid deployments offer many advantages as long as utilities invest in the right terminal servers and related technology to support the network infrastructure. Passing those benefits on to the customers is the next, natural step in the progression.

Perle offers a range of cost effective serial-to-Ethernet converters to help meet NERC-CIP compliance for the protection of critical cyberassets in substations. The IOLAN SDS HV/LDC Terminal Server is designed to meet harsh environments associated with Power Substations with attributes such as support for substation AC and DC voltage ranges, extended operating temperatures and meeting emission, immunity and safety approvals associated with substation IT equipment.


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