‘Smart' Future In The Cards For Entergy, Customers

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Dec. 2, 2013 12:00 am  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator headquarters in Carmel, Ind.

“Today, the growth’s just not there,” McDonald said. “We haven’t seen the individual kilowatt hour sales bounce back to pre-recession levels.”

So, the recession made penny pinchers and energy efficiency buffs of us all. What does that mean for companies like Entergy Arkansas?

“Our customers’ expectations have changed because we’re all connected now,” McDonald said, noting that customers now feel the pinch of power outages much sooner than they used to because people are accustomed to being connected through the Internet and social media.

Through its move to MISO, McDonald believes Entergy Arkansas is in good position to meet the energy needs of its customers for the next 20 years. But, “eventually, we’ll have to build that next new power plant.”

Looking ahead 20 years, it all comes back to technology.

“When you start installing smart grid meters and you’re able to see what 700,000 customers are using at a given moment, and when customers can see that as well, we’ll assimilate that data to create information that we can use and our customers can use,” McDonald said. “That’s where the industry has got to get to in the next 10 to 20 years. Houses will be built that are smart houses. You’ll be able to remotely control your appliances. The technology is here today, but how do you get it all built and deployed?”

Technology will help companies like Entergy Arkansas make more sense out of data, he believes.

“Rather than a customer calling in to tell us about a problem, the smart meter will tell us.”



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