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Power to the People: Automatic Meter Reading Supports Consumer Programs

September 2015
U.S. Department of Energy
Smart Grid Demonstration Project, NSTAR, AMR, AMI, TOU

"Customers look at their utility bill a total of 9 minutes a year," says Doug Horton, manager of Revenue Requirements at NSTAR, a Northeast Utilities company. Typically, "it's just not something the average customer monitors daily."

So, it can be hard to motivate customers to use less electricity, even if it means lowering their energy costs. With its project in the Smart Grid Demonstration Program, NSTAR sought ways to incentivize consumers to participate in dynamic pricing and direct load control (DLC) programs.

As part of the $4.9-million project, which began in 2010 with $2.4 million from DOE through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NSTAR used e-mails, postcards, direct mailings, and bill inserts to recruit customers living in and near Boston.