April 21, 2011 - The Galvin Electricity Initiative today introduced the Perfect Power Seal of Approval™ (PPSoA), a program to drive innovation in the electric power industry by embracing consumer needs. The program, modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification for buildings, will evaluate and recognize the nation's top-performing smart microgrid projects in key performance categories.
"The Perfect Power Seal of Approval program establishes much-needed metrics that can empower consumers, businesses, communities and regulators to demand better performance from the power system," said John Kelly, deputy director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative.
"Today's monopoly-driven business model does not hold participants accountable for quality in electricity service. The PPSoA program shines a bright light on this issue, shifting the focus from technology for technology's sake to measurable system performance outcomes. By providing a standard set of consumer-focused criteria, we aim to inspire continuous improvement in smart grid projects, as those projects innovate to meet the Seal of Approval criteria over time."
Research has shown that nationwide, consumers and communities are looking for dramatic improvements in four areas — reliability, consumer empowerment, efficiency and environment, and cost. The PPSoA converts these consumer demands into simple and effective metrics that measure and benchmark performance. The program, which is based on Six Sigma quality methods, will help the industry identify necessary improvements as well as strategies for achieving more aggressive goals that meet or exceed consumer demands — financed, for example, by eliminating wasted energy.
Projects that score well in one or more categories will be awarded a category-specific seal for each, which allows the program to maintain high standards for improvement while recognizing exemplary performance in critical areas. Projects that excel in all four categories will be awarded the full Perfect Power Seal of Approval.
The rating system was developed by the Initiative together with an advisory committee of experts in various sectors of the industry, including power distribution, utility benchmarking, environmental advocacy, green buildings and product safety. The committee uncovered precedence for each of the new metrics but found that until now, they have not been combined to form a comprehensive picture of electricity system performance from a consumer perspective. The Initiative is collaborating with consumer protection certification organization Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL), to train and certify PPSoA evaluators.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with the leaders at the Galvin Electricity Initiative on this unique project," said Jeff Smidt, vice president of Global Energy at UL.
"The PPSoA will serve as a necessary vehicle for catalyzing power system transformation based on the voice of the consumer, which we believe should be the driver of all smart grid efforts going forward. UL's experience in the product safety and consumer protection arenas has shown that a consumer focus ensures both success and value."
In the pilot phase, the PPSoA program will test the beta version of the rating system by evaluating a select group of projects. Beyond the pilot phase, the program will expand to additional types of projects with the help of a broader stakeholder process.
To learn more about PPSoA criteria and performance metrics, visit www.galvinpower.org/sealofapproval.