There is no shortage of extensive, in-depth research throughout the industry conducted by many accomplished and credible organizations. What To the Point brings to the table is an exceptional ability to synthesize and tease out the tangible insights that make research actionable.
Research publications and analyses authored or co-authored by President, Judith Schwartz include the following:
Low Income Consumer Decision Making
Published by the Low Income Energy Issues Forum (June 2014) and funded by DEFG, this meta-analysis examines 70 studies, presentations, and articles. The research supports that when low-income families have reasonable options for their energy use, assistance in understanding the tradeoffs, and the ability to manage their choices, they will choose to exercise control for the simple reason it will free up cash they can apply to other expenses. The study highlights seven practices that consistently yield the greatest possibilities for success by combining context, literacy, options, advice and feedback. View here.
San Diego Gas & Electric: Innovation in a Learning Organization
Published by the Association for Demand Response (October 2013) and funded by DOE as part of the National Action Plan on DR, this case study examines how systems thinking and an open attitude can help utilities innovate, learn, and view smart meter rollouts as opportunities to proactively reach out to their entire customer base. Relevant for other utilities regardless of size or governance structure, the approach earned SDG&E the enthusiastic support of the California Public Utility Commission, who saw how responsive the utility was being to consumers as well as anticipating and correcting problems before they occurred. View here.
Salt River Project: The Persistence of Consumer Choice
Published by the Association for Demand Response (June 2012) and funded by DOE as part of the National Action Plan on DR, this case study examines the impact on acceptance and adoption when customers are offered time-differentiated and other types of pricing options. Based on interviews with employees of the Phoenix-based municipal utility, Salt River Project (SRP), and Arizona Community Action, a local consumer advocate, the narrative case study goes behind the scenes to examine the goals, reasoning, and processes used to design and evaluate program offerings and tools. View here.
Smart Grid Communications Top Line Findings
This June 2012 DTECH meta analysis and utility case studies on Smart Grid communications report examines breakthrough outreach and education strategies and tactics appearing at innovative utilities throughout North America. Distinguishing among trends by deployment sequence, regional variances, and types of communication vehicles and channels, this study will help subscribing utilities engage the full range of consumers in their service territories. Top line findings here.
The Costs and Benefits of Smart Meters for Residential Customers
The Costs and Benefits of Smart Meters for Residential Customers, co-authored with the Institute for Electric Efficiency and the Brattle Group, examines different types of utilities, consumer adoption rates, and provides an analytical model for how the costs and benefits pencil out. The whitepaper is available here.
The 2011 State of the Consumer Report
The 2011 State of the Consumer Report, published by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, is used by many stakeholders throughout the industry as an important foundational research work. A meta-analysis of 80 research studies, it lays down a clear framework that continues to be validated by subsequent studies. The 38-page report may be downloaded.
Low Income Consumer Issues and Voluntary Prepaid Energy Offerings
DEFG published Series of Regulatory Choices No. 6, "Low Income Consumer Issues and Voluntary Prepaid Energy Offerings: Perspectives from Three Industry Thought Leaders." Judith Schwartz was one of the thought leaders who addressed how a balance can be struck between allowing consumers to exercise their preferences and ensuring that adequate consumer protections are in place. They also discussed how regulatory rules and practices – including those for low-income consumers – can be revised to allow for innovation and new offerings, yet maintain the original regulatory protections. View here.
PowerCentsDC: A Model for Stakeholder Collaboration
PowerCentsDC: A Model for Stakeholder Collaboration was published by the National Action Plan Coalition. This narrative case study, developed by the To the Point team, examines the behind-the-scenes collaboration among the consumer advocates, regulators, utility, and the union and raises discussion questions for other jurisdictions to apply to their own situation. (View)