An occasional feature on Energy Consumers of the Carolinas is “In My Opinion” (IMO). We pose a set of customer-oriented questions to various people involved in the electric energy discipline. Our third IMO column is from Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, Executive Director of Corporate Development & Community Affairs for the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI), in North Charleston. (Full bio at the end of this column.)

Technology – Question: What technology do you see that is especially notable for electric customers, why?

Answer: Interactive app development for the visibility, measurement and management of consumer energy usage.  (A note from ECC: An article from several years ago that is a good, basic overview of this is, “What do utility customers want? There’s an app for that.” UtilityDive website.)

Behavior – Question: How do you see customer habits changing as technologies change?

Answer: Customers will manage their utility bills by having the visibility of their usage. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. This will improve energy efficiency at the home owner level. It will empower the consumer.

Education – Question: What kind of personal education and information would you advise electricity customers to pursue now? How would they find that information?

Answer: Understand how much you pay for energy. What you are paying for, how energy is generated and how it is delivered. Studies have shown that if a consumer can see the wind turbines and they can see the solar farms they will see energy being made. Seeing it being made resulted in a reduction in usage and increase in energy efficiency. The consumer was more likely to turn off the lights.

Bio: Elizabeth Colbert-Busch is the Executive Director of Corporate Development & Community Affairs for the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI), in North Charleston. She is responsible for CURI’s private-public strategic planning for business and economic development. CURI’s projects and programs, totaling approximately a quarter of a billion dollars, include the U.S. Department of Energy’s $49M grant to build the state-of-the-art SCE&G Energy Innovation Center.

Colbert-Busch serves on the Charleston Regional Development Alliance Board of Directors, Charleston School of Law Maritime Institute’s board of director, College of Charleston Alumni Advisory Board. She is a founding member of the Charleston Women in International Trade, S.C. Clean Energy Business Alliance and the Lowcountry STEM Collaborative Planning Group and a member of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors and the DOE Southeast Regional Wind Resource Center. She serves on the S.C. Regulatory Task Force Committee for Offshore Wind, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance Stakeholder Committee, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund’s Offshore Wind Awareness and Advocacy team and the College of Charleston’s Intermodal Transportation and Logistics Management Program Advisory Committee.