Two years after providing approval to Florida Power and Light to install smart meters, the Florida Public Service Commission has decided to have a public workshop regarding the devices due to public outcry. Scheduled for September 20, 2012, the workshop will give the public the opportunity to provide comments regarding smart meters. The Commission has also directed its staff to gather additional insight about the technology, policies, jurisdiction, costs and benefits of smart meters. The information will be compiled and brought back to the Commissioners for further discussion. In its quest for information, the utility is asking some very good questions that any utility seeking smart meter deployment should be addressing. Below are the documents requested in Smart Meter Data
Request #1

30. Please provide copies of any material(s) given to customers on smart meters.

31. Please provide any call center scripts on smart meters or smart meter opt-out.

32. Please provide any materials given to customers in response to their concerns about the health effects from smart meters.

33. Please provide the procedures for smart meter installation used by either the utility or contractors.

34. Please provide copies of any FCC regulations that smart meters must comply with.

My view is that public workshops and smart grid education in general are a great idea. Extensive consumer engagement has been a lesson learned the hard way for the trailblazers in an industry where consumer education is typically providing regulatory notices and bill inserts. For some reason, the smart meter is different and more is required. Given the ease with which information is available today, if utilities don’t educate their customers, someone else will. While the magnitude and message need to be balanced with the deployment schedule, I am of the general view that education should precede installation.