PG&E: Making headway into the smart home through energy providers

by Parks Associates | Feb. 9, 2018

Before speaking at Parks Associates' 9th-annual Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer in Austin, Kari Binley, Expert Product Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric, answered several key questions on current and future trends within the energy industry:

What are the barriers to bringing together a broad ecosystem of smart home products that work together as an energy management system?

According to PG&E research, customers are buying single use cases. Barriers include interoperability, installation, price, and valid use case. Additionally, many connected products don’t have clear value propositions to many customers (connected basketball, connected baby scale) so how do we leverage the use cases customers do appreciate like comfort, security, entertainment?

What are the biggest opportunities for the smart home industry to work with the utility industry?

Design for the customer, not the utility. If you have an engaged customer, ENGAGE them! Understand our goals and limitations. In California, consider relationships with implementers.

How has the smart home created new service opportunities for energy providers?

Utilities often give customers a ton of information and recommendations. Smart home provides a way for them to act, or automate an action related to the information and or recommendation. i.e. Alexa Skills/IFTTT.

From a grid perspective, connected devices, or connected distributed energy resources which also includes smart home products, allow orchestration of these devices to stabilize the grid in an era of fluctuating demand due to solar, EVs, batteries, etc.

How will broad adoption of smart home products and services impact energy providers?

Smart home products are a component of DERS. Broad adoption allows for reliable energy procurement. From a customer perspective, energy journeys can be embedded into their home/routine in a much more meaningful way than previously possible.

How will energy providers expand the energy monitoring services market?

Energy providers will need to work with technology partners to drive innovation around the energy use case and provide “Energy as a Service” to deliver flexible load, and help customers better manage their bill.

Kari will speak on the panel session "Energy Providers: Opportunities Beyond Energy Management" on Tuesday, February 20 at 3:30 PM. For more information on the speakers or session details for the 2018 event, visit

Next: Powerley: Energy providers must avoid innovating in isolation
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