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Princeton EPB survey identifies preferred smart grid option for public power


From the February 22, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 22, 2013

Direct load control may be a preferred option for public power utilities serving customers who otherwise may not be familiar with smart grid projects, according to a study conducted by APPA members.

American Municipal Power partnered with the Princeton Electric Plant Board in 2011 to survey customer perceptions of service and smart grid programs at Princeton EPB. Princeton EPB serves nearly 4,000 customers within 9.1 square miles in rural Kentucky. The survey results can easily be applied to other public power providers, concluded the study, "Customer Perceptions of Exceptional Service and Smart Grid." 

The utility’s location likely meant consumers were aware of high profile smart grid issues but not smart grid projects locally, according to the final project report from AMP. 

After conducting focus groups, AMP decided the survey’s smart grid questions should center on direct load control because the initial number of smart grid topics was too broad and Princeton EPB was already planning to conduct a cost-benefit study of direct load control. Direct load control includes capabilities such as air-conditioner and electric water heater cycling.

The survey concluded toward the end of 2011 with 300 customer responses. Princeton EPB received very high ratings for safety and reliability, among other categories. The research firm said such responses were unusual in the existing economy and therefore impressive.

AMP and Princeton EPB’s research was supported by a $12,100 grant from APPA’s DEED (Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Developments) program. Details of the research are published in the final report for the project, which is posted in the DEED Project Database.

A more detailed news story about the project appears in the Winter issue of the DEED Digest. The DEED Project Database and DEED Digest newsletter are both available to all members of the DEED program.

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