Social
Acceptance of technology has been described in literature as competing
interests between different stakeholders during the development and deployment
of the technology. Social Acceptance is said to comprise of three dimensions
namely; socio-political acceptance, market acceptance and community acceptance.
These dimensions enable policy makers to develop and formulate strategies for
the acceptance of technology by various stakeholder groups and ensure that the
technology supports the values or the interest of each stakeholder group to
facilitate technology adoption (Kizhakenath, 2016).

Figure 4 Social Acceptance of Smart
Meters

The
three dimensions of Social Acceptability are

a) Socio-Political Acceptance – This is
the broadest and most general level of acceptance and it includes acceptability
across various stakeholder groups i.e. the end users, the utility and smart
meter vendors. For institutionalization of smart grid technology it is
important to incorporate the values or interest of different stakeholder groups
to facilitate the adoption of the technology. In relation to socio-political
stakeholders the vales that have been identified are as follows.

Privacy
– in the case of smart metering technology, the utility has access to the
consumer’s data at any time which is in contrast to the current situation where
the utility has access to the meter readings only in the presence of the
consumer. Privacy has been an issue in the mandatory smart meter roll-out in
the Netherlands which had to make the roll-out voluntary on account of privacy
concerns by consumer organizations.

Compatibility
– This refers to the uniformity of technology standards across the country to
facilitate the institutionalization and adoption of smart metering technology.

Trust
– The level of trust that the public has towards the policies promoting smart
metering should be evaluated. In India, public support for the Smart Cities
Mission and the trust they place in the mission will determine the adoption of
smart metering technology.

Cost
Effectiveness – Cost Effectiveness is a value which is shared by both the
utility, smart vendors and the end user. Therefore the policy should promote
cost-effectiveness across the stakeholder groups. This is particularly
important in developing countries.

Environmental
Sustainability – One of the major drivers of the mandatory smart meter roll-out
in the Netherlands was environmental sustainability. In the Indian context too,
environmental issues especially with respect to water are on the national
agenda which has been a driver for the policy promoting smart grid technology.

Control
– For households an important value is the degree of control they would be able
to exercise with respect to their consumption. This is particularly relevant to
smart grid technology.