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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.

August 11, 2013 | Ira Krepchin - Research Director | 0 comments
It seems like light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are taking over the lighting industry faster than anyone predicted—and there have been some pretty optimistic predictions over the years! LEDs are getting more robust and efficient, to the point that a recent US Department of Energy study forecast that, by 2025, LEDs could account for more than half of the light produced. One of the big barriers to widespread use has been cost, but there’s big progress there as well: For example, it used to cost more than $50 to get a 60-watt-equivalent LED, but it now costs less than $15.

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Topics: LEDs
August 11, 2013 | Katie Ruiz - Senior Research Associate | 0 comments
Baby boomers and millennials, conservatives and liberals, urbanites and country dwellers. Utility companies across the US and Canada serve customers from incredibly varied populations. Each of these populations has unique interests, beliefs, and preferences, and these groups often seek information in different ways, presenting a myriad of marketing challenges to utilities working to grow energy-efficiency and renewable energy efforts within their service territories.

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August 10, 2013 | Bill LeBlanc - Senior Director | 0 comments
Utilities are conservative for many reasons. This conservatism works well in a stable technological, market, and regulatory environment, but not very well when rapid change is occurring. Pressure to innovate is rising rapidly due to three primary factors: 1) exponential increase in the availability of information and data on homes and businesses, 2) limited load growth and falling revenues for electricity and gas, and 3) other companies' wanting utilities' customers.

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August 10, 2013 | Beth Hartman - Senior Research Associate | 0 comments
Selling advertising campaigns internally to upper management is often a big challenge for utility marketing professionals, but in many cases, this may be largely because marketers are trying to answer the wrong question. Instead of asking “Can we really afford this?,” the opening argument should be “Can we afford not to do this?” Rather than thinking of the marketing department as a money pit, utilities should design campaigns that drive positive results to the bottom line, resulting in a net gain on the investment.

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August 7, 2013 | Peter Haid - Director, Customer Experience & Marketing | 0 comments

Whether talking to coworkers, E Source members, or anyone else who’s part of the utility ecosystem, I’m frequently reminded of how different this industry is. From a customer experience (CE) standpoint, I see a couple big differences. First, many utilities have a locked-in base of customers, so the concept of creating loyalty can be construed as a nice-to-have. Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, is thought to be the core requirement. Second, the utility industry is heavily regulated.

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August 6, 2013 | Alexandra Behringer - Associate Research Director | 0 comments

As efficiency program managers know, getting savings out of lighting programs is becoming more of a challenge, for a few reasons. First, changing federal standards are raising the baseline for energy savings. And second, a lot of the low-hanging fruit has already been captured. Yet savings opportunities still remain, and as new technologies such as light-emitting diodes and advanced lighting controls become more commonplace and decrease in price, there are additional opportunities to grab customers’ attention, whether in the residential or the commercial sector.

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August 5, 2013 | Kym Wootton - Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications | 0 comments

After months of planning and development, we’ve launched our new (and much improved!) website today. We’ve taken our members’ feedback—along with extensive user testing—to create a website that’s faster and easier to navigate.

So how will this affect you?

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July 26, 2013 | Peter Haid - Director, Customer Experience & Marketing | 0 comments

The rule: stay genuine.

Having worked at organizations that collected thousands of customer surveys per day, I know how hard it can be to take action on each and every one. In fact, doing so is nearly impossible—and certainly not cost-effective. However, taking action on the themes that surface is doable and should be mandatory. If it weren’t mandatory, your business would erode one of the most important attributes in your relationship with your customers: trust.

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July 25, 2013 | Alexandra Behringer - Associate Research Director | 0 comments

I’m excited to introduce a new data resource here at E Source that I hope many of our members will find useful. The new Measure Profile provides a centralized, comprehensive set of data points on different energy-efficient technologies and equipment for which utilities commonly provide incentives through their demand-side management (DSM) programs.

Our first Measure Profile on residential advanced power strips (APSs), also known as smart strips, has just been published. This research is timely, since plug loads comprise as much as 15 percent of the electricity consumed in US homes. Smart strips allow consumers to counteract this increasing electrical load by automatically interrupting power to controlled devices.

With the aim of making program design and planning easier for DSM program administrators (PAs) and managers, we collected data on residential smart-strip programs, incentives, and savings from utility program websites, technical reference manuals, and program evaluations. The Measure Profile will help PAs assess and compare a number of APS measure and program characteristics, including:

  • Product and program types
  • ...

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July 16, 2013 | Peter Haid - Director, Customer Experience & Marketing | 0 comments

During June, E Source had a competition for its employees, challenging them to get to and from work using green transportation. As a naturally competitive guy, I decided to jump in and do some biking to work—and I was playing to win. Which I did.

Though winning was good, what I didn’t realize was how much more downtime I was getting to do some deep thinking. During these June bike rides, I kept thinking about how absolutely complex customer experience (CE) is becoming. Correction: How complex it’s being perceived due to all the noise it’s generating. I’ve been in the field now for several years, and much of the complexity is stemming from the words “customer experience” getting abused and misused more than the quarterback position for the New York Jets.

Let me elaborate on this “misuse” by explaining a typical day in the life of a CE professional:

  • 9:00 a.m.: You’re in your office trying to figure out how to package up a CE strategy that will actually gain buy-in from your boss’ boss by Friday. Luckily, you just got assigned this role a few months ago, so you ...

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