Brussels, Belgium --- (METERING.COM) --- June 20, 2013 - Europe’s distribution system operators (DSOs) have a key role to play in communicating on smart meters with consumers before, during and after the installation, according to a new paper from Eurelectric.

Activating consumers to make the most of their smart meters will depend on a positive customer experience. In this regard, clear information is key.

The paper, Communicating smart meters to customers – which role for DSOs?, states that with DSOs having the responsibility for the installation of smart meters they must now be prepared to address very specific customer questions related to the installation. They will have to explain what a smart meter is, how it works, why smart meters are needed, and where to go for impartial advice on smart meter functionalities and benefits.
 
To this end a three phase communication effort, encompassing preparation of the rollout, installation of the smart meters, and post-installation, is outlined with best communication practices and strategies of DSOs from around Europe.

The key aspects for customer information that DSOs will consider are:

Phase 1 – preparation of the rollout

  1. Customer awareness and understanding of smart meter deployment
  2. Training and accreditation of the installers
  3. Scheduling visits.

Phase 2 – installation of smart meters

  1. Installation
  2. Testing and demonstration.

Phase 3 – post-installation

  1. Customer feedback
  2. Resolving complaints
  3. Fault resolution.

The paper comments that customer information should be uniform, regardless of who provides it (DSOs, contractors, suppliers, media, regulators, etc.).

The paper also recommends that national rollout strategies should include DSO supported national and local communication campaigns to explain the usage and opportunities of smart meters.