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TMCNet:  Public Power Utilities Declare Ratepayer Concerns as Number One Issue in 2013, Tantalus Says

[December 04, 2012]

Public Power Utilities Declare Ratepayer Concerns as Number One Issue in 2013, Tantalus Says

New survey of top munis and co-ops provides insight into 2013 trends and investments Raleigh, NC – December 4, 2012 – Tantalus, a leading provider of Smart Grid communications, today announced the results of its Users Conference survey, which asked North America’s top public power utilities to address concerns and investment priorities in 2013. The company surveyed more than 40 of its utility customers at the fifth annual Tantalus Users Conference in November, which brought together Tantalus customers to share best practices and learn about new products and services.


The municipal and cooperative utilities surveyed cited consumer/ratepayer concerns (42%) as the number one issue they need to address in 2013. These findings demonstrate the public power industry’s focus on adopting new technologies that both keep rates low and minimally impact customers. Additional survey questions reflect this trend as well: * Voltage Reduction (46%) and Direct Load Control (35%) – both of which are advanced applications that decrease loads and rates – are the top two smart grid applications surveyed utilities will implement in 2013.

* Customer education was the third most popular choice for utilities selecting their top investment priority of 2013, above security enhancements and billing solutions.

The results illustrate a key factor that drives decisions in the public power market – munis and co-ops answer to their local governments and communities, unlike investor-owned-utilities (IOUs), which cater to regulators and investors that seek quick return on investments. Consequently, munis and co-ops are dedicated to working closely with their constituents while adopting applications that promote cost-effective and efficient service with minimal impact on customers.

Other key survey findings include: * The majority of respondents (44%) say completing their existing smart grid deployments is their number one investment in 2013. The second largest group of respondents (34%) named add-on applications as the focus of their investment.

* Only 8% of respondents believe future strain (e.g. electric vehicles and solar) on the grid will be a top concern for utilities in 2013.

* Of the utilities that indicated they are planning to hire in 2013, the majority are seeking to fill positions in meter support in order to sustain deployment completions.

“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,” said Eric Murray, president and CEO of Tantalus. “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.”

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