Guidehouse evaluated National Grid’s innovative smart grid pilot program
National Grid’s Smart Energy Solutions (SES) program is an innovative smart grid pilot featuring the deployment of a unique combination of advanced meters, customer-facing technologies, and time-of-use rates. To meet the requirements of Massachusetts’ Green Communities Act, and inform investment strategies for advanced metering infrastructure and other grid modernization infrastructure, National Grid engaged Guidehouse as a third-party evaluator.
Guidehouse’s evaluation focused on customer awareness of smart meters, rates, and technologies; the choices customers made to adopt and use smart meters, rates, and technologies; and the savings that resulted from the use of each technology.
Savings analyses addressed peak event, energy, customer bill, and load-shifting impacts across the different price plans with different levels of enabling technology. As the SES pilot was not structured as a randomized control trial, our analytics team relied on advanced, quasi-experimental designs to meet study requirements.
Customer awareness and experience analytics relied on both quantitative (surveys) and qualitative (focus groups) methods to address awareness and participation in the program pre-launch, and ongoing/event awareness and participation post-launch.
Near real-time findings on customer satisfaction were needed by National Grid to inform event-calling strategies, and by the second year of the program, the Guidehouse team turned around survey results within one week of peak events.
Guidehouse’s advanced analysis of the SES program, technologies, and rates showed that National Grid met impact goals while maintaining very high customer engagement and satisfaction levels. Furthermore, these findings and our interaction with stakeholders helped the company gain approval to extend the program for two additional years, while also supporting grid modernization and other new customer programs.