Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

1Green with Frustration

It’s hip to be green, and the buzz is big around Smart Grids because of their purported ability to reduce consumption with intelligent technologies aimed at streamlining and conserving. But, the survey of top utility honchos shows the lack of standards, definitions and realistic price estimates have utility companies moving slowly and searching for leadership from the feds and top vendors to define and refine Smart Grid strategies and timelines.

2Smart Grid Movers & Shakers

Oracle’s been in the utility game a long time, and the company is focused on providing utility companies with solutions that help them manage and deploy service solutions required for making the move to Smart Grids. With large utility practices and a spoken commitment to providing and fostering the adoption of green technologies, IBM and Cisco plan major impact on the Smart Grid market, too.

3Uncle Sam Plays a Role

Last October, the Obama administration announced it would invest $3.4 billion to help facilitate the move to Smart Grids. The funding is aimed at offsetting costs of manufacturing Smart Grid technologies, like smart transformers, implementing dynamic customer systems for pricing, and increasing grid automation and distribution.

4Defining a Real Smart Grid

Oracle says that the concepts that make up "Smart Grid" include, but are not limited to, smart metering, demand response, intelligent outage management, and advanced distribution. The White House says the move to Smart Grid technologies could reduce electricity use by more than 4% by 2030, which translates into a savings of $20.4 billion.

5The Survey: Service and Metering Top Priorities

Oracle’s survey respondents cited service reliability (45%) and implementing smart metering (41%) as their top Smart Grid priorities over the next 10 years.

6The Survey: Smart Grids still in Pilot

It seems utility companies are moving slow, hung up with determining the best path for implementation. Only 20% are currently moving forward with a system-wide Smart Grid deployment, while 49% of large utilities and 18% of small to mid-sized utilities are moving into trial programs.

7Smarter Consumer Choices

Nearly everyone knows that consumers will benefit&#151the White House says Florida Power & Light’s deployment will save every resident $56 annually. 86% of large utilities and 82% of small to mid-sized utilities say smart grids will give consumers the usage information needed to make smarter choices.

8Skittish Consumers

Even if it saves the consumer some cash, Smart Grid deployments translate to rate hikes, and survey respondents are concerned how customers will handle the news. 43% of executives identified consumer reactions to rate increases as their top worry.

9Tips for Success

Utility executives think their peers are the best resource for successful Smart Grid deployments. Most respondents recommended "sharing best practices with peers" as a top driver for success as well as "developing an information architecture strategy."