Pecan Street Project has kicked off the first phase of its smart grid demonstration project in the Mueller community of Austin, Texas. One hundred residences volunteered to have Incenergy’s Home Smart Grid System installed. This system will capture electric and gas usage data for the home and six major appliances on a minute-by-minute basis. It will also gather data from the 10 homes that have solar PV rooftops. 

Project researchers will use the data collected during the first phase, which will last a year, to design the second phase that aims to produce user-friendly ways to manage individual appliances, systems, electric vehicle charging and rooftop PV systems. The second phase will involve up to 1,000 homes and 75 businesses. 

Project team members include the UT Austin, Incenergy, Austin Energy, Texas Gas Service, Environmental Defense Fund, the City of Austin and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. 

Austin Energy, a smart grid success story, has already deployed 400,000 meters with only 25 meters having to be replaced and only a little over 200 requesting meter accuracy tests. Austin Energy credits its success to understanding what customers really want and having an extensive communication and outreach effort.  

The Pecan Street Project seeks to continue the success that Austin Energy achieved by following the same customer-oriented approach: Two of the participants in the demonstration project serve on the executive committee, offering a valuable customer perspective. Imagine that! Customer involvement in the planning process! A great idea that should reap benefits as it will provide the project team with valuable insights on customer values and behavior.