During the next two years, power utilities across the country will initiate projects to transform the nation’s electrical grid from a centralized, producer-controlled network to one that is less centralized and more interactive with consumers.
To prepare for related product and service sales, CE retailers should look at what the utilities are planning in their markets and how to leverage the opportunities. Best Buy—with its Geek Squad, increasingly energy-savvy product mix and recent capital investment in Control4—as well as a handful of specialty dealers and custom installers are already targeting the home energy-management business. During the next 12 months, CE retailers will find themselves answering customer questions about electric utilities’ plans to install Smart Meters, which will provide home and business owners with a variety of information from real-time energy usage to real-time pricing.
Those changes will present opportunities to sell energy-management systems, adapter modules, energy-load meters, and appliances designed to communicate with the “Smart Grid” and help consumers save money on their electric bills. Some retailers and custom integrators also will compete for utilities’ contracts to install basic home energy-management systems.