The municipal and cooperative power companies that make up the country’s public power utilities have a completely different set of concerns and priorities than their IOU cousins. A Users Conference Survey conducted with utility customers of smart grid communications company Tantalus found that their focus and investment priorities for 2013 are the new technologies that will ensure low electricity costs for ratepayers.

Tantalus CEO Eric Murray commented “This survey demonstrates what we already know from our experience working with public power utilities for more than a decade – that they are dedicated first and foremost to serving their customers with reliable, cost-effective power. By adopting energy saving applications that keep rates down, utilities not only show their commitment to their customers, but they also invest in a cleaner, smarter grid.”

The company surveyed more than 40 of its utility clients during its fifth annual Tantalus Users Conference in November. Key findings include:

  • 42% consider consumer/ratepayer concerns and the biggest issue they need to address in 2013
  • The two top applications on their to do list are voltage reduction (46% and direct load control (35%), applications that cut loads and rates
  • The third most popular top investment priority for 2013 is customer education, which ranked above improved security and billing solutions

Also, the survey found that wrapping up existing smart grid deployments is the top investment for 44% of respondents. And future stress on the grid from sources like EVs and solar power integration are a top concern for only 8%.