U.S. Dept of Energy National Lab Sponsoring Workshop for Utilities to Successfully Promote “Pilot Programs”

By B.N. Frank

Although utility corruption in Ohio and Illinois is making headlines (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) it’s definitely not isolated to these states or these utility companies. Adding insult to injury, utility personnel are invited to attend workshops sponsored by a variety of organizations that will teach them how to successfully market “pilot programs” – like for example to promote “Smart” Devices, “Smart” Grids and “Smart” Meters (see 1, 2).

These “pilot programs” may be beneficial to utilities but injurious to customers – like again for example “Smart” Grids and Meters (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Edison Electrical Institute (EEI) is one of these organizations. So is Berkley Lab, a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory managed by the University of California.

A recent email from Berkley Lab invites subscribers to attend such a workshop:


Berkeley Lab report provides a step-by-step process to promote successful utility pilots

Since at least the late 1970s, electric utilities and their regulators have recognized the value of experimentation to motivate innovation. The industry has a long history of using pilots to help inform future decision making about electric utility rates, customer technology adoption and integration, and even changes to the utility’s regulatory or business model. Although utility pilots have become almost ubiquitous proving grounds for new rates, technologies, and alterations to the traditional utility regulatory and business model, some regulators are beginning to raise questions about what constitutes a “good” pilot.

Much has been written about utility pilots over the years; however, what is missing from the literature is the identification of a comprehensive process for not only designing and evaluating a pilot, but also implementing, successful utility pilots that provide actionable outcomes upon which more informed decisions can be made.

A new report from Berkeley Lab provides a step-by-step process that regulators, policymakers, and utilities can follow to help ensure a pilot is successful, even if whatever is being tested fails to produce the intended or expected result(s). The process highlighted in the report is based on the experience of the authors who have worked with regulators and utilities over the past 10 years designing, implementing, and evaluating pilots. A link to the report is available at: https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/handbook-designing-implementing-and.

The authors will host a webinar highlighting the process identified in the report on September 18, 2020 at 11:00 AM Pacific / 2:00 PM Eastern. Register for the webinar here: https://lbnl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lMcKrjzQSkKKkL9wVi7c2A

For questions on the report, feel free to contact the Peter Cappers (315-637-0513, [email protected]) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

We appreciate the funding support of the U.S. Department of Energy Transmission Planning and Technical Assistance Office for making this work possible.


Many Americans still don’t know how much utility companies have benefited at their expense via “Smart” Meters – electric, gas, and water. Customer bills usually go up after they are installed AND these meters DO NOT save meaningful amounts of energy. “Smart” Meters collect customer usage data 24/7, whereas original 1-way transmitting analog meters DO NOT. Utilities collect and analyze customer usage data so they can market more products and services to customers and/or sell data to 3rd parties. This is sometimes referred to as “Surveillance Capitalism.”

Activist Post Recommended Book: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

In addition to higher customer bills, these meters have been associated with fires, explosions, frequent replacement, unwanted surveillance (see 1, 2), cybersecurity risks, and more (see 1, 2). A documentary was produced about “Smart” Meters and Grids appropriately titled Take Back Your Power.

Millions of electric, gas, and water “Smart” Meters have already been installed by utility companies and millions more are planned. So if they haven’t been marketed as a “pilot program” in your community yet – they probably will be soon.

Activist Post reports regularly about “Smart” Meters and other unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives and the following websites:


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