Business News for the Mississippi Delta

The Utility of the Future

By Haley Fisackerly

March 4, 2019 was a big day for Entergy Mississippi customers—though few knew it. That’s the day the company installed the very first advanced meter at a residential home in Centreville in the southwestern part of the state.

Although it will be 2021 before all 450,000 Entergy Mississippi customers receive their own advanced meters, the day marked a milestone in creating the utility of the future—one that is tech-forward and customer-centric.

Customers at the core

At Entergy Mississippi, we are changing the way we interact with you, our customer, in a very important way. We are driving toward a closer relationship, working diligently to better understand your wants and needs so we can provide results that exceed expectations.

Traditionally, utilities have been suppliers, as electricity flowed from our grid into customers’ homes and businesses. Now, we are evolving to become a partner, one who can offer tailored solutions based on customers’ individual preferences and ever-changing expectations; one that delivers safe, reliable electricity, helps save money, is more environmentally responsible and offers services that are easier to use.

And we are getting there by merging new technologies into our existing grid infrastructure and by creating a platform for what’s to come.

Smarter Meters, Smarter System

It all starts with advanced meters. These are the foundation that will allow us to upgrade our technology infrastructure. Advanced meters will impact many areas of the business—from how we read customers’ energy usage to how we calculate and send bills. More importantly, the meters will have many benefits for customers.

Once a customer has the new meter, they will be able to log into their online account and see exactly how much energy they have used that month, what time of day they are using the most energy and they’ll be able to identify the biggest driver of energy use. This will help them learn how to use energy more efficiently and can lead to savings on their bill. This information will be very detailed and specific to the home or business and is available in roughly 15-minute increments. That’s quite a big difference from learning your energy use once a month when the bill comes!

There are other benefits, too. These meters will allow us to better pinpoint outages which means we’ll be able to respond faster when the lights go out.

Beyond the meter…data, data, data

By building the infrastructure needed for advanced meters, we also make our grid smarter. These upgrades let us use data to optimize the operation, maintenance and planning of the grid. This will improve the efficiency of our processes and deliver a better customer experience.

As customer needs shift and evolve, it presents us with new challenges and opportunities. Along the way, we may need to develop new company processes, change traditional business and regulatory models, and more. But what won’t change is our focus on delivering solutions that meet customers’ changing needs—whether that’s adding microgrids to those communities hardest to serve or being a leader in the development of smart cities.

This is more than installing new, smarter meters. It’s laying the groundwork for the future. But as we do so, we won’t be forgetting our past. For nearly a century, Entergy Mississippi has worked diligently to improve our communities and the lives of our customers. We’ll continue with these initiatives that help the environment, educate our workforce and create poverty solutions in the Delta and the state. DBJ

Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi President and CEO