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Video Tour of the Community Summit Process

Promote the Idea

Build Internal Support

Build Interest Among
Community Partners

Co-create the Future

Promote Local Innovation

Inspire Action

Getting Started

The journey to a summit generally starts with a visionary inside an organization who sees the possibilities.  This section will suggest ways for a champion to get additional colleagues on board who will share the enthusiasm.

Who should consider hosting a summit?

Utilities or municipalities who have either deployed Smart Grid or are considering grid modernization and wish to connect the possibilities with local communities' priorities.  If the majority of your customers don't yet understand how this new infrastructure can serve their needs and support the necessary investment, this process can complement your other communication efforts.  If you want a transparent, structured way to empower influential local champions who can envision a smart energy future, understand the economic tradeoffs, and will share their enthusiasm with regulators, media, friends, and family, then this approach will minimize risk for everyone. However, the approach will only be effective if the utility is sincere about listening to its customers.

 These videos (posted on YouTube) can be shared with colleagues to promote the concept.

• What do you get?     
   (TRT: :39)           
• How do you make SG relevant in 2 days?
(TRT: 1:06)
• Groundswell in Worcester
   (TRT: 1:05)
• Groundswell in Washington, DC
   (TRT: :55)


Does constructive engagement make financial sense?

Smaller one-day events like energy literacy workshops for CBOs may be a good way to get started and find candidates for a summit steering committee.  If you've already been doing that kind of outreach and you have enthusiastic partners, then it is quite straightforward to proceed more quickly.  A well-executed summit costs less than a new branding campaign, a big PR or advertising program, and will result in hundreds of diverse champions willing to speak out in support of the shared goals. This work can inform development of comprehensive outreach and education plans that will gain acceptance as they move into action.


While all utilities can benefit from constructive engagement at various scales, ideal candidates for programs targeting 300-700 community influencers will have:

  • A utility leadership team willing to consider best practices that may be new to the organizaiton
  • Communities in the service area where there is a concentration of people already engaged in sustainable practices and investments
  • Municipalities who have commited people and resources to sustainability
  • Nearby universities offering coursework in related fields
  • Enthusiastic clean tech groups, CBOs, business and civic leaders
  • Regulators and consumer advocates willing to discuss options even if they are skeptical


There are a common set of critical success factors for any large multi-disciplinary project whether it involves a marketing campaign, enterprise systems, or smart grid deployment.  Constructive engagement is the same.

Critical success factors

  • Management support
  • Committed internal champions
  • Adequate budget and resources to support the scope
  • Timely decision-making
  • A good process to obtain buy-in from key stakeholders