Smart Grid Above the Fold: 3/24/17

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Top consumer smart grid news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative.

Utility Dive: Illinois Launches ‘NextGrid’ Utility of the Future Study
The ICC recently launched an 18-month study focused on finding new technologies, utility business models and regulatory strategies to transform the state’s grid into a more flexible and efficient resource. The NextGrid study will be led by an outside facilitator and will result in a final report late in 2018 that will include “tangible recommendations” to the ICC and Illinois General Assembly.

Public Power Daily: US Solar Market Poised to Triple in Next Five Years, Says Report
Over the next five years, the cumulative U.S. solar market is expected to nearly triple in size, although a slight dip is expected in 2017. On average, U.S. solar photovoltaic system pricing fell by nearly 20 percent last year — the greatest average year-over-year price decline since GTM Research began modelling pricing in this series of reports.

Metering & Smart Energy International: BGE Residential Bills Down by 25 Percent This Winter
BGE reported that its residential customer bills were reduced by 25 percent this winter compared to winter bills two years ago. The 25 percent reduction translates to an average customer savings of $72 per month. Customers also used less electricity through February due to mild weather, participation in EE programs and managing their energy use with real-time information provided by smart meters.

Utility Dive: New York Microgrid Projects Snap Up $11M in State Funds for 2nd Stage Feasibility Study
In the first phase of the NY Prize competition in 2015, 83 municipalities won awards of $100,000 to conduct feasibility studies for microgrids that could boost grid resiliency. The program, part of the state’s REV effort, is intended to help modernize and grid and add resiliency in areas where extreme weather has often resulted in power outages.

SGCC Member News
Utility Dive: Inside Austin Energy’s Customer-Focused Business Strategy
In 2015, Austin Energy residential customers had the second lowest energy bills of any utility in Texas. But the utility spends less time comparing itself to other power providers, says VP of Customer Energy Solutions Deborah Kimberly, and instead looks to a broader range of offerings and products to judge how it’s doing.

Public Power Daily: Ohio Regulators Launch Grid Modernization Initiative
The Ohio PUC has launched an initiative looking at how best to support emerging grid technologies that can provide consumer benefits. “From a policy perspective, we are interested in exploring the latest innovation in the electric industry… in order to enhance the electric customer’s experience,” PUC Chairman Asim Haque said March 17 in an interview about the PowerForward initiative.

Utility Dive: Bidgely’s Business Blooms as Residential Demand Management Matures
2016 was a notable year for a number of distributed energy companies, with Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity, Opower’s sale to Oracle and key solar net metering decisions dominating the headlines. But slightly behind the scenes, another advanced energy vendor has been making strides in the market, living out what may be the DER startup dream.

Alameda Municipal Power Launches Smart-Technology Program
AMP is taking steps to transform its electric grid into a smart, innovative system with the launch of a new technology program called Energy inView. The program begins with an upgrade of customer meters and provides many benefits, including faster restoration of power outages and robust data to help customers manage and understand their energy usage.

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