SmartGrid Canada Conference to Explore Electricity Consumer Needs in the Digital Age: Are Canadians Ready for Smart Grids?

"Solving problems is often about providing solutions that pre-empt future customer needs... We're in a position now where we should make planning changes to the grid to support the future society. We need forward thinking about where customers will be in the future."

- Bob Shapard, Chairman of the Gridwise Alliance

TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Modernizing the country's electricity system will take more than upgrading aging equipment, it will also involve engaging electricity consumers by providing services and products that can meet the demands of a modern, technologically-enabled home. This pressing issue will be a key theme at the SmartGrid Canada Conference to be held in Toronto on October 15 and 16.

Anchoring the conference will be the release of new consumer research that will delve into the attitudes and behaviours of Canadians relating to smart grids -- digital electricity networks that integrate sensors, meters, digital controls and analytic tools to deliver a more sustainable and efficient electricity service.

Addressing the research findings and other consumer issues in smart grids will be a wide range of speakers from utilities, academia, manufacturers and start-ups who will discuss some of the key questions facing the smart grid sector: Are consumers ready for smart grids? What kinds of benefits do they expect to see from them? How should the industry respond to consumer needs?  Speakers include:

  • Michael Valocchi, Global Energy and Utilities Industry Leader at IBM
  • Greg Reimer, Executive Vice President, Transmission and Distribution of BC Hydro
  • Bob Shapard, Chairman of the Gridwise Alliance
  • Ersilia Serafini, Chief Executive Officer of Summerhill Group
  • Paul Murphy, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Electricity System Operator
  • Niraj Bhargava, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Energate
  • Ariel Sobelman, President of the Power Matters Alliance

"Consumer engagement is critical to the success of smart grids in Canada, so we're very interested to gauge how much consumers know about the smart grid, and how we can improve the customer experience," said Alex Bettencourt, Managing Director of SmartGrid Canada. "The research findings will provide valuable insight into the consumer's perspective and will help guide our vision and next steps on smart grid."

Featuring presentations from speakers across Canada and abroad, the conference will cover a number of smart grid topics, including:

  • Pathways to Consumer Engagement
  • The Evolution of the Home Consumer
  • Canada's Smart Grid - The View from the Ground
  • Utility Transformation - How Smart Grids are Changing the Utility Business Model
  • Labour Transformation
  • Consumer Education Efforts
  • A Global View of Smart Grids

"The smart grid is a dynamic force shaping the way we will manage, generate, deliver and consume electricity," said Paul Murphy, President and CEO of the Independent Electricity System Operator, partner organization on the SmartGrid Canada Conference. "It has immense potential to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electricity system and engaging the consumer is very much a part of that process."

For more information on the SmartGrid Canada Conference and to register, please visit:

SOURCE: SmartGrid Canada

For further information:

Alex Bettencourt
SmartGrid Canada
(416) 567-5052

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SmartGrid Canada

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