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TVA Murfreesboro

Murfreesboro Housing Authority Launches New Program for Residents to Receive Free Internet Access and Energy Education for Up to Three Years

TVA Funded Connected Communities Pilot goes live this month

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Murfreesboro Housing Authority (MHA), in cooperation with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), United Communications and SmartMark Communications, announced today that its residents will now be eligible for free Internet service for up to three years thanks to a grant provided by TVA’s Connected Communities program. Infrastructure has been laid out over the past several months and customers will have access to service beginning this month.

MHA received a Connected Communities grant from TVA last year to lay fiber in three communities currently under revitalization efforts: Oakland Court I, Oakland Court II, and Parkside. Phase I of a multi-phase grant offers residents free internet access and energy education programming designed to help lower monthly bills. Later phases will include the introduction of smart technology and further energy savings opportunities in partnership with Middle Tennessee Electric, United’s parent company.

TVA’s Connected Communities initiative supports TVA’s energy system of the future and plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. By expanding access to technology, TVA is investing in job creation, preparing for a modern grid system to further support clean energy resources, and opening more opportunities to connect with the community.

“MHA is honored to have been awarded this grant from TVA and the opportunity to provide free connectivity to our residents,” said Thomas Rowe, CEO of MHA. “Internet access has become a necessity to our daily lives, and we are excited that this program will not only help raise awareness around energy efficiency and costs but open up new possibilities and access for residents.”

“Affordable housing has many benefits for limited-income residents but the cost of technology, like internet access, can be burdensome,” said Georgia Caruthers, senior program manager of the TVA Connected Communities initiative. “By supporting Murfreesboro Housing Authority’s efforts to help residents to have a better quality of life, we are helping to fulfill TVA’s mission of service to make life better through complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity that allows ready access to information and online services, and the ability for residents to benefit from their ‘smart-home ready’ residences with the potential to help lower their energy bills.”

In addition to offering free internet service, United Communications has been actively contributing to the project through additional funding that has allowed for the full deployment of fiber-to-the-home in all three communities.

“United Communications is honored to provide reliable, high-speed internet for low-income residents in Middle Tennessee while supporting an important energy education program in partnership with MTE, TVA, MHA and SmartMark,” said William Bradford, President and CEO of United Communications. “This is especially meaningful as it is our mission to bring critical internet connectivity to support a variety of needs, including kids’ education, adult online training and education, and working from home, to meet their most basic needs. We are pleased that, together, we can achieve this goal.”

SmartMark Communications is program managing the project and providing the energy education and customer engagement components of the pilot.

Learn more at

About Connecting MHA
Connecting MHA is a program supported by the TVA Connected Communities grant program that provides free Internet access and smart technologies together with energy education and automated savings opportunities to residents of Oakland Court I, Oakland Court II and Parkside communities at the Murfreesboro Housing Authority. Phase I provides three full years of free Internet service in exchange for participation in a quarterly energy savings education program. This program is supported by United Communications, Middle Tennessee Electric, SmartMark Communications, and ACE IoT.

About the Murfreesboro Housing Authority
The mission at the Murfreesboro Housing Authority is to provide decent, safe and sanitary housing in good repair for eligible families in a manner that promotes serviceability, economy, efficiency and stability of the developments; and to utilize all available resources to maximize the social and economic opportunities of all residents. Learn more at

About TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About United Communications
United Communications is a leading provider of internet, digital TV, and phone services to enterprise-class businesses and residential customers in Middle Tennessee. United is recognized as a Smart Rural Community ProviderSM, a top “Fastest Internet Service Provider” by BroadbandNow and the winner of the 2021 Broadband Communities Cornerstone Award, which honors the most notable deployments of Fiber-to-the-Home in the U.S. and abroad. United operates approximately 1,700 route miles of fiber covering portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, Wilson, and Davidson counties. United Communications is a service of Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation. To learn more, please visit

About Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE)
Founded in 1936, MTE is the largest electric cooperative in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) region and the second largest in the United States, serving more than 750,000 Tennesseans via 325,000+ accounts covering nearly 2,200 square miles in 11 Middle Tennessee counties, primarily Rutherford, Cannon, Williamson and Wilson. Municipalities served include Murfreesboro, Franklin, Brentwood, Smyrna, La Vergne, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. MTE employs 520 people in seven local offices and its Murfreesboro headquarters.

MTE’s subsidiary, United Communications, is a nationally recognized broadband company with a fiber network spanning more than 1,700 route miles providing high-speed internet and other services to portions of Williamson, Rutherford, Marshall, Bedford, Franklin, Wilson and Davidson counties.

About SmartMark Communications
For more than two decades, SmartMark Communications has helped shape customer experience by developing education and engagement strategies that drive technology adoption and sustainable behavior change. A leader in energy innovation and the evolution of the smart grid, SmartMark works with energy companies, stakeholders, and policy makers to design and implement customer-centric programs that validate investments and drive transformation. Learn more at


Meredith Ponce
SmartMark Communications

BGE’s Connected Annapolis Achieves First-Ever ENERGY STAR SHEMS Certification

Utility combines real-time reporting of energy use with smart home technology, paving the way for utilities to lead the way in the future of connected home

ENERGY STAR is the gold standard for energy efficiency and is most frequently awarded to best-of-breed products that have demonstrated energy reduction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ENERGY STAR stakeholders saw an opportunity to mitigate growing consumption and bring a focus on energy savings opportunities to the smart home market through development of ENERGY STAR certification criteria. The strategy was to leverage the powerful ENERGY STAR brand and partnership to guide smart home systems toward readily achievable energy savings in the near term while working toward the future of a smart home ecosystem capable of acting as a single touchpoint for consumers and utilities to manage energy consumption.

Baltimore Gas and Electric’s (BGE) certification of the first smart home energy management solution breaks numerous barriers, including demonstrating that utilities and energy companies have an active role to play in commercial solutions development.

In March 2020, when the world was mostly shutting down due to COVID-19, BGE launched its Connected Home and Small Business Demonstration (CHBD), also known as Connected Annapolis. The purpose of the Demonstration was to understand the role connected customers played within a connected community. More specifically, the utility wanted to explore the combined impact of smart home technology and education on energy reduction. The technology demonstration offered exclusively in Annapolis, MD (BGE service territory), allowed four user groups to receive a combination of smart home devices as well as support from a robust education and outreach program designed to empower customers to take control of their energy use through SHEMS technology. The four user groups were intentional so that the utility could identify potential differences and opportunities in engaging with each kind of customer: Early Adopter, Small Business, Low Income and Senior.

Demonstration participants received a package in the mail that was designed for their user group. These devices were a combination of a z-wave hub, instructions to download the compatible app, door and window sensors, motion sensors, water leak detectors, smart plugs and Energy Star-certified lighting. Initially, participants received a coupon for a free installation of a smart thermostat when the climate was safe again for installers to enter homes. Later in the Demonstration, when installation restrictions were lifted, participants could call and schedule this free installation at their convenience. All groups except the small business group received an Amazon Dot, and the Senior group had the added benefit of receiving a tablet.

Because of the unexpected pandemic, BGE had originally designed the program to have more in-person support and training; yet the new environment brought about a unique opportunity to engage with customers remotely. It made the emphasis on education and technical support that much more important. The Connected Annapolis team developed an online community whereby participants could watch video tutorials, download step-by-step instructions, learn about the technology and contact program managers for additional help. Zoom training also became a regular part of the program.

The ENERGY STAR team at the EPA learned about Connected Annapolis through its Smart Home Energy Management Systems working group (SHEMS). In discussions between EPA and the BGE Connected Annapolis Team, it became apparent that there was a unique opportunity to demonstrate real kWh reduction because of the way the program was conducting its own internal analyses leveraging AMI data. The 15-minute interval data became an important baseline for measurement and the Connected Annapolis team analyzed it three years before the technology deployment as well as the 12-month period after. To better correlate reduction to smart home device usage, the Connected Annapolis team was able to work with the technology vendor to collect real-time usage information for the different devices in the home. This data included thermostat adjustments, frequency of use of lighting and the additional smart devices as well as specific information about home/away programming and pre-configured room setups.

Integrating technology with utility programs

One of the things BGE was keenly interested in was the integration of smart home technology solutions with other existing energy efficiency programs. As a result, the Demonstration made an effort to market to and sign-up participants for the utility’s demand response program, Connected Rewards. Because the utility was moving towards a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) model, the Connected Annapolis team used thermostats that were compatible with the program. By doing this, the team was able to fulfill additional EPA requirements of ENERGY STAR certification including, demand-side events and targeted communications notifications, available by both text and email.

In addition to the demand response program, the Connected Annapolis team at BGE also utilized programs designed for small business thermostats and first-time smart thermostat residential customers.

The role of utilities in SHEMS

BGE was excited to see how it could leverage its AMI network in the smart home demonstration, so designing measurement criteria around energy reduction and analysis through AMI data was critical from the start. In addition, participants were encouraged to view their data and understand energy patterns on BGE’s My Account.

“BGE is proud to be a leader in showing how our industry can optimize AMI network investments and smart technology to provide our customers with cutting-edge tools that allow a greater degree of control over their energy usage and costs,” said Alex Núñez, BGE senior vice president of Strategy & Regulatory Affairs

EPA was excited to see the successful deployment of ENERGY STAR-certified SHEMS through careful delivery of a program that provided valuable insights into small businesses, aging in place and low-income participant segments. “In the Connected Annapolis pilot, we saw how smart home can successfully bridge the gap between the utility goals and consumer interests with key target audiences. We were pleased to see that the systems deployed in the pilot, while supported by substantial virtual training, successfully delivered both consumer amenity and savings,” said Taylor Jantz-Sell, SHEMS Program Manager, EPA.

This use of AMI data led to an ongoing dialogue between BGE and EPA about the role of utilities in collecting and analyzing the usage data. It is important to note that Connected Annapolis was an opt-in program where customers received free technology in exchange for making their usage data available to BGE. Personal data was not shared with the EPA, and information was provided in aggregate and by average, with outlier information removed from the analysis.

It was important that BGE communicate to the industry that it was not focused on collecting or sharing personal data information of its customers. Rather, the utility was focused on understanding how and why people might benefit from such technology.

More importantly, the Connected Annapolis team was looking at aggregate data among users and sub-segments of the user groups to determine patterns and trends. Individual customer usage was looked at in conjunction with device usage, but this was reported anonymously to all stakeholders. No individual customer information was shared for privacy reasons.

Furthermore, the Connected Annapolis team conducted significant qualitative research to help put the data story further together.

Proving energy reduction and the unique role of the utility

Throughout the process of certification with the EPA it became more apparent that the utility was uniquely positioned to provide proof of energy reduction of the SHEMS devices in a way that, perhaps, product manufacturers had been struggling. As owners of the AMI data, utilities can produce evidence of energy reduction when coupled with the specific device usage information. In addition, as owners of many energy efficiency programs like demand response, the utility can conduct events that enable customers to save automatically through the SHEMS devices and subsequently demonstrate results through kWh and GHG reductions.

BGE has a long history of innovating through advanced technologies, so when the opportunity to empower customers through smart home technology arose, it moved forward in trying to really understand the motivations for such technology use and the potential long-term impact of providing these devices to its customers. In particular, it also wanted to better explore the impact of these devices on lower-income customers who may not otherwise be motivated or able to spend more money on smart devices in the home. It turned out that this segment of participants yielded strong results, particularly during the summer high bill months.

Lessons learned

The ENERGY STAR certification process really allowed BGE to push the sustainability narrative forward. The Connected Annapolis team translated its energy reduction to greenhouse gas emissions helping bridge the objectives of both DOE and EPA. By focusing on customers and behavior instead of device specifications, the Connected Annapolis initiative brought home the power of why, and the critical importance of engaging with customers to educate and empower them.

Customer feedback was an important part of the Demonstration. Highlights of that feedback include:

  • An interest from participants to purchase more smart devices to add to their setup.
  • Looking to the utility as an advisor in smart energy technology solutions.
  • Many customers who initially doubted their ability to engage with the technology, thrived with it.
  • Many customers indicated a lack of awareness and understanding of smart home technology — why to purchase it, how to use it, etc.
  • Many customers believed that if the utility had not offered this technology to them, they would not have purchased it on their own. Education played an important part in the process.

Some of the joint learnings between EPA and BGE focused on the critical ingredient of AMI data and the unique role utilities had in utilizing SHEMS for energy reduction. While utilities may not be the long-term distributor of such technology, it was clear that there is an important role to play in the deployment of these technologies for energy reduction specifically.

As utilities continue to innovate and expand energy efficiency programs as well as develop consumer marketplaces and BYOD programs, smart home technology is clearly an important piece of the future of energy management.

“We are proud to align technology and the needs of our customers with our Path to Clean goal to achieve net-zero operational emissions by 2050. As we push toward this goal, we will continue to experiment with new technologies, offerings and platforms to empower our customers as they seek to improve their energy efficiency and help to address the climate goal, added Nunez.”

This article originally appeared in Electric Energy T&D Magazine, Quarterly Issue 3, 2022 – Volume 25. To read original article, click here.

SmartMark Communications Supports BGE’s Milestone ENERGY STAR® Certification Process

Utility Solution is First Smart Home Solution to Be Certified by EPA

Philadelphia, PA – January 11, 2022 – SmartMark Communications announced today that the EPA has certified the BGE Smart Home Solutions as the first ENERGY STAR SHEMS product in the market. SmartMark Communications supported the BGE Connected Home and Small Business Demonstration technology trial and was a critical player in helping evaluate energy reduction by the devices through data collection and AMI energy use analysis.

SmartMark Communications is the leader in customer education strategies and solutions for utilities. The company has been supporting the advancement of customer facing technologies to improve energy management for more than two decades.

BGE serves more than 1.3 million electric customers and more than 680,000 gas customers in a diverse, 2,300-square-mile area encompassing Baltimore City and all or part of 10 central Maryland counties. It is an Exelon company.

“We believe that the success of the BGE smart home solution is contributed to the perfect balance of education, technology and customer support and we are thankful to SmartMark for helping us design a customer-centric program with impactful results for the utility,” said Sam duPont, Principal in BGE’s Utility of the Future Group. “It is exciting to demonstrate how a utility can leverage its AMI investments to further build customer facing tools to help improve energy management and customer service.”

To learn more about how SmartMark Communications is working with utilities to understand the benefits of smart homes, visit

About SmartMark Communications
SmartMark Communications has redefined the role of traditional marketing communications companies and uses a blend of industry knowledge and business strategy to help organizations—public, private, and not for profit—shape industry. This unique blend of policy, communications and creative expertise is a critical component to successful storytelling. SmartMark’s passionate interest and deep domain expertise in the industries that it serves has allowed it to emerge as a leader in the conversation around innovation, technology adoption and transformation. To learn more visit

Media Contact:
Meredith Salefski
SmartMark Communications, LLC

SmartMark Communications to Roll out New Solutions Focused on Customer Education and Engagement Around Carbon Reduction

Company to launch programs and strategies for utilities focused on helping communicate to customers their role in the energy transition, DER, and environmental responsibility and stewardship

GLASGOW – SmartMark Communications, the leading provider of utility customer education and engagement solutions, announced today that it stands with the leaders of COP26 in the call for improved behavioral responsibility around carbon reduction. As a leader in articulating the value proposition of kWh reduction to utility customers, SmartMark has announced new solutions to help translate kWh to GHG to better inform consumers of the impact of their energy use on the environment. The company is actively working with the technology industry to design and implement new tools to support this effort.

“As both an advocate for customer education in energy and technology and a parent, I find both a personal and professional responsibility to evolve strategies and messages around demand side management to newer value propositions that resonate more strongly with today’s energy consumers,” said Shavit.

SmartMark Communications works with leading utilities on adopting innovative technologies and equitable best practices around energy management. SmartEnergy IP™ is a research and consulting organization within SmartMark Communications that is dedicated to helping utilities communicate the benefits of smart grid to customers.

About SmartMark Communications
SmartMark Communications has redefined the role of traditional marketing communications companies and uses a blend of industry knowledge and business strategy to help organizations—public, private , and not for profit—shape industry. This unique blend of policy, communications and creative expertise is a critical component to successful storytelling. SmartMark’s passionate interest and deep domain expertise in the industries that it serves has allowed it to emerge as a leader in the conversation around innovation, technology adoption and transformation. To learn more visit

Meredith Salefski

Connected Home Technology Levels the Playing Field in Energy Management

by Juliet Shavit, SmartMark Communications

This article appears in the current print issue of Electric Energy, Quarterly Issue 3

There have been a number of smart home pilots in the United States that explore different technologies and use cases. A common and obvious theme among them is the impact of these devices on energy efficiency. For utilities, this is, of course, the obvious bottom line.

This benchmark has safely steered energy efficiency investments for decades and continues to be the key driver for utility smart technology programs (e.g., smart thermostats).

SmartMark Communications is working with BGE and the City of Annapolis on the Connected Home and Small Business Demonstration, which offers low income customers smart home devices to lower energy use and evaluate the benefits to quality of life.

Yet, the current Department of Energy, under the direction of the Biden Administration, has been tasked with building a roadmap for energy equity, arguably shifting the industry conversation from energy reduction to equitable access to affordable energy solutions. As utilities move steadily down the path of designing and implementing dynamic pricing and Time of Use programs, now most noticeable in the State of California, the current model is likely to benefit wealthier individuals with access to smart devices and appliances. Higher-end refrigerators and washer dryers are decked out with mobile applications and energy efficiency settings. Considered luxury items, these smart appliances are noticeably expensive. The likelihood of low-income customers selecting these things for their homes is zero. Their purchases will always be governed by cost, and that unfortunately can dictate less efficient products.

Thanks to Energy Star rebates and discounts, low-income customers have more access to energy-efficient appliances than ever before. Yet, despite that, research suggests that low-income customers are more likely to hold onto older, less efficient appliances. If you add in the economic pressures caused by the pandemic, then the likelihood of replacing appliances in the home now becomes even less probable.

That means that approaching smart and connected devices for kWh reduction is not enough, and, with the onset of time-based pricing, a perfect storm is brewing.

Energy Star appliances will not save customers significant dollars when they run during peak periods in dynamic pricing environments. Similarly, low-income customers are not likely to succeed in incentive-designed programs that encourage reduction during peak hours. That means that in the current world of energy efficiency program design, the cards are stacked against the people with the most to lose. That is a dangerous concept.

The time has come for the conversation to shift from energy efficiency to “leveling the playing field”. While smart refrigerators and washer dryers are expensive, a $10 smart plug is not. In fact, it is likely to cost less than recruitment and marketing costs for average energy efficiency programs. If utilities provided low-income customers with tools to succeed on these programs rather than just a direct mail piece, they would be creating a sustainable path for successful energy efficiency that aligned with their strategies. It is even more cost-effective economically for utilities to provide tools for success than offer bill protection in many cases.

Today’s regulators, policymakers and advocates must be aware of the role “technology access” plays in energy equity. It is the most obvious and overlooked opportunity for utilities as they seek to address issues of equality. A close friend of mine who works for a low-income advocacy group warned me that it is a myth that low-income customers do not have access to mobile phones or know how to use technology the same way as their wealthier peers. In a survey conducted by Pew Research, teenagers who came from homes, where income was less than $30,000 annually, were less likely to have access to a desktop or PC (75%) but were likely to have a smartphone (93%).

A smartphone and a smart plug are all you need to reduce energy use during peak hours if you are away from home. When you couple technology with education, there is nothing more powerful in the roadmap to energy efficiency and energy equity. It is the most obvious and most overlooked path forward for sustainable and equitable energy management in the industry.

About the Author
Juliet Shavit is the president and CEO of SmartMark Communications, LLC a global leader in strategic communications and customer experience. For more than two decades, she has been at the forefront of conversation around technology innovation and the impact of those decisions on industry transformation.

Shavit has been widely recognized for her contributions to the energy industry. She was instrumental in founding the DOE smart grid customer education working group and is the founder of the Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium.

Today, she works with utilities to optimize their AMI investments and build customer centric programs around technology adoption.

SmartMark Communications Named One of Most Influential Companies of 2021

Company Listed in ‘50 Most Influential Companies’ Issue of CIO Bulletin

PHILADELPHIA, PA November 4, 2021 – SmartMark Communications, LLC, a leading provider of strategic communications and business innovation solutions announced today that it has been listed by CIO Bulletin as one of 50 Most Influential Companies of 2021. The company is a driving force in the energy and telecom industries, pushing for the adoption of advanced technologies to support customer experience and engagement.

For two decades, SmartMark Communications has been an advocate for collaboration between the telecommunications and energy sectors and the benefits of such collaboration on improved customer experience and innovation. Today the Company provides strategic services for the largest and most influential companies in the world.

“This is an incredible exciting time for our company, as we see great strides in the advancements in network innovation and IoT,” said Juliet Shavit, President and CEO. “For today’s customer, the digital lifestyle begins at home and accompanies consumers on their journey throughout the day in the vehicle and in the community. That said, consumer engagement with technology is as important, seamless, and vital to our well-being as the clothes we put on.”

SmartMark Communications is leading companies in adopting new technology to help advance smart cities, smart homes, and a smarter lifestyle through improved and innovative energy management solutions and creative models for behavior change.

Learn more about how SmartMark Communications is driving innovation, policy, and digital transformation at

About SmartMark Communications, LLC SmartMark Communications has redefined the role of traditional marketing communications companies and uses a blend of industry knowledge and business strategy to help organizations—public, private and not for profit—shape industry. This unique blend of policy, communications and creative expertise is a critical component to successful storytelling. SmartMark’s passionate interest and deep domain expertise in the industries that it serves has allowed it to emerge as a leader in the conversation around innovation, technology adoption and transformation. To learn more visit

Media Contact:
Meredith Salefski
SmartMark Communications, LLC

Juliet Shavit to Speak on Grid Edge Innovation at IEEE Power and Engineering Society General Meeting this Week

SmartMark CEO to Present on Optimizing AMI and New Applications Shaping the Utility of the Future

Philadelphia, PA – July 27, 2021 – SmartMark Communications, the leader in smart grid customer education, announced today that its president, Juliet Shavit, will be speaking at the IEEE Power and Engineering Society General meeting this week. Shavit will be speaking on the panel entitled, “Innovation at the Edge of the Grid” on July 29, 2021 at 10:00am.

Shavit’s presentation will focus on how energy companies are turning to new applications that leverage emerging technologies such as AI and IoT in ways to help utilities optimize AMI investments. These applications include such areas as smart homes and buildings, connected communities, and more personalized energy use tools that leverage disaggregated data.

The discussion will also provide an overview of the current business and technology landscape and the key industry pressures pushing utilities to innovate. These include but are not limited to more aggressive carbon reduction goals, increased emphasis on energy equity, new business models like transportation electrification and beyond-the-meter programs, and regulatory pressures.

Shavit will join a number of industry experts from the U.S. Department of Energy and private industry on the panel.

About SmartMark Communications
For more than two decades, SmartMark Communications, LLC has been working with energy companies on the adoption of new technologies and how to articulate the benefits of these investments to customers and stakeholders. Today they are an expert in business transformation for energy companies and lead pilots and shape strategies for utilities that focus on innovation in customer experience. Learn more

SmartMark Communications owns and operates SmartEnergy-IP, a research organization focused on articulating the benefits of smart grid investments for customers and stakeholders. You can watch videos from the Company’s annual Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium and learn more about the ways SmartMark leads industry discussion on innovative investments for the grid at

Meredith Salefski

SmartMark Communications CEO Juliet Shavit ‘Sees 2020’ on Cover of CIOReview January Issue

Company Named Leading Utility Solutions Provider Second Year in a Row; Seeks to Define a Decade of Customer-Focused Industry Transformation

Philadelphia, PA – January 27, 2020 – SmartMark Communications announced today that it has been selected as the leading utility solutions provider for the second year in a row by CIOReview magazine. According to the article, the Company’s energy practice, SmartEnergy IPTM is creating the roadmap for innovation in customer experience, transforming the utility-customer relationship in unprecedented ways.

The cover story describes the Company as leveraging its 20-year history of rolling out customer facing programs to marry proven best practices with the excitement of innovation. According to the article, the Company is more passionate than ever about the customer experience and more aware of what is missing. SmartMark’s roots in network communications have given the Company an edge in fearlessness around technology and a sneak peek into the future. Their practical experience working with utilities and stakeholders help energy companies navigate technology adoption wisely, keeping in mind the important regulatory demands that require risk assessment and analytics driven programs that benefit consumers.

“If I think back about the start of SmartMark 20 years ago and how much the world around us has transformed, I get an unbelievable sense of excitement for what’s in store in the next decade and the role the Company is set to play,” said Shavit. “2020 is the year when utilities grasp that the role they play is in the development of smarter communities and people. It is the year they work with their stakeholders to apply innovation to reach new levels of energy efficiency and grid management, while better positioning themselves as dynamic, exciting companies that put the customer first.”

Learn more about the way SmartMark Communications is taking the utilities industry to new levels at

Industry Leader: Juliet Shavit, President and CEO | SmartMark Communications

November 12, 2019


A lot of my business know-how and entrepreneurial skills can be credited to my father. He ran his own business while I was growing up and taught me a great deal about business and responsibility. While at college, I had the opportunity to work for the New Yorker in the public relations office under Maurie Perl. Maurie was a remarkable woman and a true class act. She exuded self-confidence and demanded respect, but was not afraid to work hard. She could plan the 70th anniversary gala for the magazine and still find time to stuff a press kit. To me that is a true leader—knowing how to orchestrate and plan like an artist, but not being afraid to get messy in the delivery.


A leader must be able to hold one’s own and demonstrate that he or she has control over any situation. But most importantly, its someone who will stand up and get involved in anything that needs to get done. Additionally, a true leader exemplifies a level of fearlessness in order to take risk, and consideration and mindfulness of others.


What motivated you to not give up and how have you faced adversity?


I am a dreamer and a very visual person. I see things like a choreographer—that means knowing what happens when different things are meant to intersect at the same time. I think it ties well to PR. It’s all about how press releases, messaging, events, and thought leadership come together at a moment in time. Each piece by itself will fall short if not intertwined with the others.


I am a very honest and passionate person which can be risky in my area of business. Not everyone wants to hear the truth, but I find it is my greatest strength and weakness.


Respect and incentive are very important. Hard work deserves reward. In addition, giving people opportunities and making them feel valued is one of the strongest things you can do as a leader.


I have been deeply interested in the impact of music on customer experience. A couple of years ago I picked up my family and we moved to Nashville Tennessee, which was pretty risky [chuckles]. I opened up an office—which is still running today—and started meeting with the music industry to discuss their issues around their profitability and future growth in the digital economy. This led to the startup of MusiComms, an association that brings together leaders from communications, energy and the music industry where we discuss ways of collaboration. I’ve been working for a few years now on integrating music strategies into service provider business models. This is risky, but is where my passion lies.


I ask a lot of questions, particularly ‘Why?’. By asking this question, it keeps me focused on the reality of how to navigate a rather abstract future. In today’s time, SmartMark is playing in spaces of innovation where it’s important to understand how something is solving a particular problem.


I have to believe in what that company does and their end vison. There are a lot of companies that are financially motivated, but their solution is not always in the best interest of the consumer. There has to be a customer benefit and it must leave this world a better place for my children.


‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette?’ by Maria Semple. I’d recommend it to any working mom who struggles with finding her purpose and balance. There are a lot of expectations of women—that we be great mothers, wives, and successes at work. That we drive carpool and make dinner, but also bring home a salary. Sometimes we just need to find our voice and be happy with that.


Authority. It’s not in my nature to be authoritative. I much prefer to be constructive than bark out orders. Hiring and firing people is simply still the hardest of all.


1. Treat others as you would want to be treated. 2. Go for it. History is full of fearless people with crazy ideas. If you believe in it, chances are someone else will too.


I’ve made my children a part of my company. When my third daughter was born—I have three daughters— the business was growing and evolving, demanding more of my time. Therefore, I ended up building a nursery in my office as I couldn’t bear the thought of having to choose between work and family. We have in my office what I like to call a “Life comes First” policy. I live by it and I offer that to my employees as well.


I spend a lot of time thinking about the impact of technology and innovation on the energy industry. I let my mind wander at night as I am not checking mails or answering phone calls [laughs].


I think the dynamic of the utility customer has changed, which can be attributed to AMI and smart grid. Somewhere in the process of deploying smart meters, utilities realised that they had to get buy-in from their customers to make these types of changes while looking at long-term grid modernisation and energy and carbon reduction. We are in an era where executives are forced into thinking about ways to change and improve their relationship with the customer.

I also see smart home expanding the role of the utility into the home and redefining utility companies. I believe the Utility of the Future is innovative, not afraid to expand its services, and understands that the customer is at the heart of it all.

2019 Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium to Focus on Smart Utilities and Smart Customers in the Age of Digital Transformation

Industry’s Leading Smart Grid Event that Focuses on Customer Benefits of Grid Modernization to Take Place in Washington, DC this October

WASHINGTON – June 03, 2019 – SmartEnergy IP™, a division of SmartMark Communications, announced today its 9th annual Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium. This year’s event, which will focus on the impact of digital transformation on smart grid customer experience, including optimization of AMI infrastructure as a platform for improved customer communication, smart cities, smart homes and smart customers.

The 2019 Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium will take place on October 29, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.

“This is an exciting time for utilities, as they continue to evolve and improve their relationship with customers,” said Juliet Shavit, President of SmartEnergy IP. “From the latest applications to educate and engage consumers, to the tools now available in our homes and in our communities to improve our lives, utilities have become powerful central forces in the investment and optimization of emerging technologies’ innovative applications.”

This is the 9th year of the conference, which has always been focused on the customer benefits of smart grid. The event is designed to educate utilities, regulators and stakeholders on best practices in educating and engaging consumers on the benefits of their smart grid technology investments. Today that means not only AMI deployments, but dynamic pricing, time-of-use programs, advanced bundled services and new applications designed to empower consumers to save energy and money.

To learn more about speaking opportunities or to register for the 2019 Smart Grid Customer Education Symposium, visit