What makes a smart grid pilot a success — even when it’s a failure? General Electric and Accenture have written a report on the subject (PDF),tand they spent an hour Wednesday with some energy industry big shots at the World Economic Forum in Beijing to highlight the key details. Point one: know what a pilot is supposed to prove, said Mark Spelman of Accenture. Two: give tangible results of how you tested your hypotheses, which ones turned out well, and which ones didn’t, he said. That way, even failures can yield important information from other pilots. Three: pay attention to the world of pilot projects, since no one can test out all the questions about the smart grid. Four: make sure you’ve separated grid-level systems from consumer-facing technologies — and when the latter are in play, make sure to do customer outreach, or end up like Pacific Gas & Electric did with irate smart metered customers.