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Smart city roadmap for public power utilities

American Public Power Association and SmartEnergy IP say utilities must take a proactive role in shaping the smart city vision

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Public power utilities must be part of the smart city vision from the outset
Public power utilities must be part of the smart city vision from the outset

American Public Power Association, the voice of not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities across the US, and SmartEnergy IP, have released a roadmap for cities and utilities considering implementing a smart city programme.

 

The whitepaper, Creating a Smart City Roadmap for Public Power Utilities, focuses on the importance of smart technology planning and investments to improve communities and customer experience.

 

Key questions to consider

 

The paper aims to offer guidelines and recommendations for public power utilities, while recognising that each utility is as unique as the community it serves. It also lays out key questions to consider in the process of implementing a smart cities programme, including which stakeholders to include in the planning, which materials to develop to support the project, and other key operational considerations.

 

“It is a pivotal time for today’s utilities as they undergo industry transformation,” said Juliet Shavit, founder and CEO, SmartEnergy. “We were pleased to help with this paper since public power companies play a critical role in the future development of their communities. From smart grid to smart cities, they must leverage the latest advancements in connected technologies to improve the well-being of their citizens.”

 

Key takeaways in the paper include:

  • The definition of “smart cities” is not universally agreed upon. The association defines a smart city in the whitepaper as a city that betters the lives of residents and businesses through mindful investments and deployments of advanced technologies;
  • Public power utilities need to engage in conversations early in the process to make sure there is proper coordination, as well as to ensure their interests are not superseded;
  • There are risks associated with utilities not engaging with the public and private sector on smart city initiatives;
  • In a smart city environment, the public and private sectors must align, and stakeholders, which at times have opposing interests, must communicate and coordinate with each other;
  • Public power utilities must take a proactive role in shaping the smart city vision for their service territories.

The paper also includes a section that outlines an initial set of questions that can lead to a preliminary smart city blueprint. It sets out to break down what public power utilities must do to engage and lead the smart city conversation and includes a proposed ‘map’ to begin laying information down into a shareable internal and external document to help communicate internally and to stakeholders the utility’s smart city plan.

“From smart grid to smart cities, public power utilities must leverage the latest advancements in connected technologies to improve the wellbeing of their citizens”

“Public power utilities play a unique and important role in smart city efforts,” added Paul Zummo, director of policy research and analysis, American Public Power Association. “This roadmap serves as a first step in educating public power utilities about how they can be leaders in smart city efforts as part of their transformation to utilities of the future.”

 

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