Raiford Smith

Chief Utility Innovation Officer

Raiford Smith is the Chief Utility Innovation Officer of AES’ US Utilities – AES Indiana and AES Ohio – providing safe, reliable, and affordable electric service to more than one million customers. AES’ US Utilities are leading the inclusive, clean energy transition with new solutions to exceed customers’ energy needs.  In this role, Raiford leads planning, asset management, engineering, and project management functions for transmission and distribution.  He also leads efforts around creating new customer products and services while developing new analytical models to generate insights about customers and the electric grid.

While Raiford began his career as a unionized call center clerk at Savannah Electric and Power Company, he has spent three decades since then in the electric and natural gas industries as well as in high-tech.  Prior to his role at AES, Raiford led Google’s global energy, water and wastewater, economic and community development, and supply planning teams, managing over $1.2Bn OpEx budget to help Google transition from 100% renewable energy to 24×7 carbon free energy.  Additionally, he led the product and UX functions at Tapestry, Google X’s moonshot for the electric grid.  Prior to his work at Google, Raiford held a wide variety of roles at other energy companies, including CPS Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, and the Southern Company.  He has led initiatives that contributed hundreds of millions of dollars of recurring EBITDA, grew customer engagement, and improved service reliability through new customer products and services, analytics, smart grid, and distributed energy resources.   His career has spanned a very diverse set of roles in legal, mergers and acquisitions, energy trading, transmission & distribution, product management, regulatory, information technology, and customer support.

Raiford graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, earned an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, earned a JD from the Charlotte School of Law, and received a business analytics certificate from Harvard University’s Business Analytics Program.  Raiford is a licensed attorney (North Carolina), holds multiple patents for distributed computing at the grid edge, and has published numerous papers on the future of the electric industry, energy regulatory economics, and energy-related technology.