David Moore, Senior Manager of Market Development & Regulatory Affairs at Opower, the global leader in cloud-based software for the utility industry on his visit to India spoke to Buildotech on the importance of utility companies engaging with consumers. He said, “Advances in software technology has opened new avenues for energy policymakers and power utilities to empower residential customers by providing them more personalized energy usage report rather than just a billing information. The Opower software creates an alignment in terms of demand-side management and customer’s interests. People want lower bills and they look to utility companies for energy information. By providing tools on the utility’s Web portal, people can engage online, check their usage behaviour and save energy.” In India, Moore sees a lot of opportunity for such software as most ordinary Indians pay less for power than it costs to generate and distribute. This means that they are also the ones to suffer power outages due to underinvestment in infrastructure. “When consumers engage, they guide the power companies through their usage patterns to provide services as per local consumption such as, where the grid needs a new substation. Also, with tailored data at their fingertips, providers can send text or email messages when power supplies are stretched at peak demand times.” he added. Opower is currently in talks with both state owned utilities and private power companies in India. While, the response has been positive, according to Moore, it would take time for the projects to materialize. He sees a huge potential for the software driven demand side management in the country as it has the highest number of green buildings under development and government initiative of Smart cities would also mean need for advanced systems to connect public services and citizens.