Leading Smart Grid Companies Join Forces

BRUSSELS, /PRNewswire/ -- To highlight the critical role of energy users in the Smart Grid, leading utilities, technology companies, and industry groups launched the Smart Energy Demand Coalition (SEDC) at a press conference at the European Union's Strategic Energy Technology Plan Conference. SEDC members include founding members eMeter and VaasaETT, as well as Landis+Gyr, EDF (EDF.FR), ENEL (ENEL.MI), Gas Natural Fenosa (BMAD: GAS), the Climate Group, Vodafone (LSE: VOD, Nasdaq: VOD), Universidad Comillas (Madrid), the European Smart Meter Investment Group, the Demand Response and Smart Grid (DRSG) coalition, The Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA), Capgemini (Euronext: CAP), Entelios, Jouleasset, Schneider Electric (Euronext: SU), the ZigBee Alliance and Silver Spring Networks.

The SEDC is a not-for-profit industry association based in Brussels and consisting of utilities, electricity retailers, and providers of services and technologies related to demand response, energy efficiency, smart meters and smart grids. The Coalition is willing to share expertise and information with industry participants, regulators and policymakers, media and consumer associations regarding the deployment of smart meters and communications systems seeking to enable energy providers to offer their customers time-based rates with off-peak discounts, thereby allowing consumers to save on their electricity bills by varying their demand in response to price signals. Additional benefits are provided by smart grids, which automate substations and circuits used for electricity distribution.

The association will be led by Executive Director Jessica Stromback, currently a Senior Partner at global energy think tank VaasaETT. Chris King, founder of DRSG, a similar group in the United States, and a leading industry expert who has spoken at several industry events in Europe as well as testifying before the U.S. Congress on smart energy demand and smart meters, will initially chair the SEDC.

"Regulators across Europe are presently debating and finalizing requirements for smart meter and smart grid deployments, including the platforms on which demand response and energy efficiency programs will be built, helping influence the ability of electricity customers to contribute to the advancement of the EU's aggressive 2020 climate change objectives," said Stromback. "Our goal is to provide useful information on price responsive loads, program and technology experience, market structures and rules, including information on market participants' roles, consumer needs and actions, enabling technologies, and specific programs as appropriate."

Balancing consumption with generation could be said to form the heart of the intelligence of the Smart Grid. To a certain extent the success of the "smart" grid is therefore dependent on the ability of utilities to make energy demand "smart", using such tools as feedback, pricing, automation etc. Despite their central position within a new Smart Grid future - European demand centered programs are lagging well behind other global markets.

Billions of Euros are currently being spent on the development and rollout of a variety of Smart Grid related technologies throughout Europe. These include Smart Metering, wind generation, solar generation, electric vehicles and heat pumps etc. Yet in comparison to the funding, standardization initiatives, regulation, publicity and special interest activity surrounding and supporting these technologies - relatively little attention is paid to the development and support of the demand side programs which will be essential for successfully integrating them into the grid - and are the heart of the Grid's "intelligence".

"As we've seen in numerous Smart Meter pilots and rollouts throughout Europe, technological development without, program development, cannot provide adequate customer benefits to justify costs," said Chris King, Chief Regulatory Officer at eMeter. "eMeter has several projects in Europe and has been working with regulators in EU countries on smart meter and related best practices. We are excited about putting the focus on consumers and the benefits created by smart energy demand."

The SEDC has an annual smart energy demand conference for all industry participants to share success stories and learnings in programs ranging from pilots to large-scale rollouts. The SEDC also has members-only meetings for EU program and policy planning and development, quarterly information sharing and networking webinars, an extensive database of demand side research and consumer-related information, and regular communications, including a bimonthly organization newsletter and special bulletins on policy and industry developments.

About SEDC
The Smart Energy Demand Coalition (SEDC) is a European trade association for companies that provide products and services in the areas of demand response and smart grid. The SEDC works to raise awareness on how demand response and smart grid technologies can help modernize our electricity system and provide customers with new information and options for managing their electricity use.

About VaasaETT
The VaasaETT, a Global Energy Think Tank, shares and develops best practice for the global utilities industry through our network of thousands of senior executives, officials, researchers and other experts who are for the most part known and trusted personally. Value is provided to partners through the synergy of Interactive Forums and Collaborative Research or Market Development Projects. The Think-Tank focuses broadly on strategic business, market, innovation and regulatory issues, and is world renowned for its expertise in fields such as Customer Psychology & Behaviour, Smart Metering and Demand Response.

About eMeter
eMeter provides essential software that enables electric, gas and water utilities to realize the full benefits of Smart Grid. Leading utilities worldwide depend on eMeter Smart Grid Management software to reduce operational costs, improve customer service, and drive energy efficiency. With the most large-scale deployments in the industry and strategic partnerships with Accenture, IBM, Logica, and Siemens, eMeter has built a reputation for unparalleled expertise that ensures customer success.