As more people move to cities, many rural cooperatives face the challenge of a flat to declining customer base. At the same time, their customers have ever-increasing demands for improved communications and technologies. Improving available technologies could not only satisfy current customers, but even attract more customers to rural areas. However, new technologies come at a cost. How feasible are smart technologies for rural electric cooperatives with dispersed customers and limited resources?

In the 2014 Rural Smart Grid Survey Report, sponsored by Honeywell, the leader in automated demand response, energy solutions, and utility customer communications, Zpryme and the Rural Smart Grid Summit (RSGS) completed a survey of 77 U.S. rural electric cooperatives in order to bring you the 2014 Rural Smart Grid Initiatives: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities. With nearly 30 figures such as the two shown below, this report will help you understand the opportunities and challenges of smart electric systems for rural areas, and where cooperatives are making progress with smart technologies. Key findings include:

  • Nearly all rural electric utilities have some sort of smart grid effort in place. Most are at the planning and investigation phase (38%), while others are deploying multiple applications (21%) or at least have a formal strategy in place (16%).
  • Seven out 10 utilities are experiencing a positive impact from smart grid programs. Many utilities are making smart grid programs part of their core operations (42%).
  • About two-thirds of rural utilities are taking on AMR and AMI efforts.
  • Despite challenges, there is smart grid spending at rural electric utilities. In 2014 many companies are spending up to $1M on smart grid technologies; the next 5 years will bring spending numbers closer to $5M or more.
  • Although rural consumers typically lag behind their urban counterparts in technology awareness, interest in home energy management has increased significantly for rural consumers from 4% in October 2013 to 16% in October 2014.


About Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions

For more than 30 years, Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions (SGS) has provided utilities with industry-leading technologies and strategies from automated demand response and energy solutions to utility customer communications. Working with over 60 utility clients across North America, Asia, Europe and Australia, Honeywell SGS has delivered innovative programs and solutions to help utilities exceed their demand management goals. Energy and sustainability solutions are just the beginning. Honeywell SGS also helps utilities engage customers for program participation, create and implement energy management systems, measure and verify energy and demand savings and serve their commercial and residential customers reliably and efficiently. Simply put, for utilities around the world, the partner of choice is Honeywell Smart Grid Solutions.​

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