E Source Blog
Welcome to the E Source Blog! Our staff will share insights and observations about life at E Source, our events, our research, and other fun stuff.
Electric utilities have had decades to prepare, at least mentally, for the day when electric vehicles (EVs) would become a reality. That day has finally arrived, but I believe most utilities are falling into traps that are hindering rather than helping the market evolve—and therefore benefit utilities. What tactics can utilities engage in now to help create a new, intelligent EV market that creates consumer demand?
As an E Source content manager, I read dozens of reports, presentations, blog posts, newsletters, and web pages every week. So I know that the words we use are critical to getting the right message to the right audience. But do residential customers really respond to “energy efficiency”? Doubtful. The language we use to describe energy efficiency is often confusing, misleading, fear-inducing, or—horror of horrors—meaningless. But if we choose careful words with just the right nuance, we can stir emotions, change philosophies, and, most important, motivate action.
In 2009, my husband and I applied to the Boulder County, Colorado, ClimateSmart Loan Program—a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program. In 2008, Boulder County voters passed ballot issue 1A, approving the issuing of $40 million in bonds that would fund loans to residents and businesses so that they could make energy-efficiency improvements to their homes and facilities. We thought the timing was perfect to install a photovoltaic system, which is a popular solution in sunny Boulder County. So imagine our disappointment when our home energy-efficiency auditor informed us that the two massive cottonwood trees flanking our southern view rendered the technology impractical.
If you’re like me, you spend countless hours on Pinterest, pinning crafts and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that you know full well you’ll never get around to doing. Well, what if there were a way to create one of these DIY gems with some expert crafting help, while enjoying a tasty cocktail and networking with your peers at the E Source Forum? Enter Upstairs Circus, a new E Source Forum activity option.
Excellent customer service is a must for any utility that’s serious about customer experience. In fact, because your customer service department has the most direct interactions with your customers, it has a great deal of influence on customers’ perceptions of the company. It’s a good idea to first ensure that your customer service reps have the right attitudes; then you can equip them with the knowledge, skills, tools, and resources they need to serve customers well. After that, you can empower them to take care of customers. But don’t stop there.
By now we’ve all heard about the US Environmental Protection Agency’s draft rule covering Section 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act. And many are speaking to the ascendancy of energy efficiency as a preferred tool under this draft rule. But for me, there are two key terms in the proposal that should give pause to those of us laboring in the energy-efficiency field—draft and opportunity. Let me explain.
A new technology has entered the commercial laundry market: polymer bead laundry! Instead of using the standard 140 gallons of water per 60-pound load of laundry, this machine uses only 35 gallons per load. How does it do it? Tiny polymer beads agitate with the fabrics and absorb stains and grime, then they stay in the machine to be used again. And again. And again. For more than 100 loads. The machine is designed to recapture the beads after each load, so no beads are washed away with the water or stuck in your pockets. Did I mention that it operates with room-temperature water? Read on!
LED lights could last a lifetime—how do you make a business out of a product that will last so long? I was at a conference where someone asked a GE exec that question. And I found his answer, for the residential side of the business, very interesting. LED lamps will become like consumer electronics products, he said. People will buy bulbs based on new features, not just on whether or not the lamps have burned out.
As I collaborate with my E Source colleagues to put together the customer experience, marketing, and communications sessions for the 2014 Forum in Denver, I’m reminded of the wood paneling that covered my bedroom walls when I was a kid. In particular, there are a couple of panels we’re currently assembling that promise to reveal previously unseen patterns and secrets, just as those panels from my childhood did.