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"I think I heard something about the Smart Grid on the internet, but I'm not really sure what it is."

— R.D., Boston, MA

Begin identifying key stakeholders as part of establishing your outreach activities. It will also form the foundation for summit invitation lists. Building relationships with specific individuals and organizations can be a lengthy process and is well worth the planning and effort required as these relationships will have long-term value.

 

Blue shading: These stakeholder segments are directly involved in the regulatory process and have statutory responsibility for regulated utilities.

Green shading: For municipal utilities and coops, local officials and voters have direct oversight responsibility.

Other stakeholder groups will usually see electricity-related policies as a potentially important topic for their constituents. It will be important to frame issues for them from their perspectives.

 

SOURCE: Checklist modified from materials developed for DOE Smart Grid Customer Engagement Working Group, 2013

Utility Employees
  • 1. Identify executive sponsor and management. Their participation is important to show customer engagement is a priority.
  • 2. Identify champions from a range of functional areas and management levels.
  • 3. Include union representatives and members.
  • 4. Involve human resources and community outreach beyond smart grid or regulatory responsibilities.
  • 5. Share plans with employees and ask for feedback.
  • 6. Make information about smart grid programs and events readily available to contact center and field personnel.
Technology vendors
  • 7. Invite key partners in smart grid deployments or pilot to participate and support activities as appropriate. 
  • 8. Partner with utility and industry about smart meter issues such as RF, privacy, and security concerns. 
  • 9. Get their help in developing or obtaining communication materials especially regarding safety, security, and privacy.
Elected officials
  • 10. Brief local, state, and federal representatives about the initiative and invite reps and staffers to participate. 
  • 11. Brief the governor’s office if appropriate. 
  • 12. Provide speaking opportunities at event. 
  • 13. Involve DOE if possible.
Regulators
  • 14. Host execs should invite PSC/PUC, energy commission, etc. to attend appropriate meetings and a staffer to participate on outreach steering committees and advisory groups. 
  • 15. Brief regulatory personnel as needed and communicate regularly and informally (as local rules permit). 
  • 16. Invite regulators to suggest individuals to participate in summits.
Customer Advocates: statutory and interveners
  • 17. Work with customer advocacy groups to address concerns, reaffirm broad goals, and interest in identifying potential capabilities of smart grid to support consumers. 
  • 18. Treat as valued ombudsmen and allies. 
  • 19. Personally invite all to event and invite one to serve on steering committee.
Low-income assistance agencies
  • 20. Identify leading organization(s) to be part of the steering committees and advisory groups. 
  • 21. Work with agencies to make sure that their constituents are participants in summits and other events. Offer modest subsidies for those who will be taking time off of their jobs or who require transport. 
  • 22. Make sure their organizations are included in the resource map with links to their websites. 
  • 23. As part of the outreach process learn how their programs might include an energy literacy component to explain smart grid, dynamic pricing, and outage recovery.
Community based organizations (CBOs)
  • 24. Identify environmental groups, faith-based groups, family service groups and others (including local chapters of national groups like the American Red Cross, and YMCA) who have a broad interest in sustainability and how it relates to economic vitality in the community/region. 
  • 25. Invite them to participate in energy literacy workshops, summits, and community steering committees. 
  • 26. Encourage utility personnel to attend their meetings and events, answer questions of their constituents, and provide general or customizable materials about smart meters, benefits, etc. as well as the summit initiatives.
Businesses and clean-tech associations
  • 27. Include trade associations and local business chambers in this category. It is very important that local business leaders are well-represented on steering committees and advisory groups. 
  • 28. Connect outreach objectives to economic development, clean jobs, workforce education, and training opportunities. 
  • 29. Involve members as experts in energy literacy programs, steering committee members in summits, and other events.
Media
  • 30. Goal is to receive positive to neutral media coverage. Develop a relationship before the event. Be proactive, transparent. 
  • 31. Provide ongoing education (brief the media before, during, and after deployment activities). 
  • 32. Utilize online media outlets and community publications.
Public safety
  • 33. Brief law enforcement personnel about contractors and the installation process. 
  • 34. Educate fire departments and emergency personnel about smart meters, remote disconnect features, etc.
Schools and colleges
  • 35. Feature their current DR, microgrid, building energy management systems, and renewable installations in innovation videos and panels. 
  • 36. Collaborate with colleges and universities who have sustainability, energy research, related engineering and communication functions. These are critical players to have as co-hosts or steering committee members not only to attract participants but also to encourage students to lead and staff post-summit projects. 
  • 37. For primary and secondary schools offer speakers or materials about how students and families can save energy or invest in clean resources. 
  • 38. Recognize that summit prototypes will inevitably include ideas that reach out to young people and teachers and administrators will be the gatekeepers. 
  • 39. Piggyback on your existing education, outreach, and training opportunities.
Neighborhood groups and home owner associations (HOA)
  • 40. Partner with external affairs rep or PR team to provide presentations and set up booths at community events promoting the summit and post-summit activities. 
  • 41. Prepare to answer energy questions beyond the smart grid, dynamic pricing, and rooftop solar.
Anti-smart meter activists
  • 42. Recognize the anti-smart meter groups are customers, too and listen to their concerns and address them respectfully. 
  • 43. Handle individuals on a case-by-case basis, rather than as a group. Issues will vary.
Local Innovators
  • 44. Identify people within the community who are already demonstrating innovation and a willingness to invest in deep energy retrofits, renewable generation, LEEDs buildings, and participation in demand response programs. 
  • 45. Select a few to feature in videos or innovation panel 
  • 46. Add to invitation list and feature them in the sustainable resource asset map. (see taxonomy categories below.)

 

View an example of in interactive resource map at http://www.green2growth.com/resources

 

Categories

Green Resources
Places where the public can go to learn more about sustainability

  • Info Sources & Events
  • Advocacy Groups & Associations
  • Training Programs 

Smart Energy Solutions
Delivery of green expertise and products is the core mission

  • Retailers Of Green Products
  • Cleantech Investors & Consultants
  • Service & Equipment Suppliers
  • Renewable Power Producers
  • Clean Technology Companies

Green Leadership
Sites where sustainability mindset is part of the organizational DNA

  • Sustainable Campuses
  • Green Residential Developments
  • Businesses Practicing Sustainability
  • Sustainable Government & Non-profits

Utility Offices and Installations