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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 21, 2013 | Lindsey Sajban - Marketing Assistant | 0 comments
Every year, E Source holds the Utility Ad Awards Contest to find the very best in utility residential and business advertising. This was my first year organizing and marketing the awards, and I really wanted to do something new. At first I thought of awarding a fun trophy like the Webby or the MTV Moonman. But then I decided I wanted to see what print ad would come out on top if it were selected by a panel of nonexpert judges—the voice of the people, if you will. From our desire to have a cool award that was based off peer recognition, we created our newest award, the Crowd Pleaser.

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August 19, 2013 | Melanie Wemple - Senior Research Associate | 0 comments
Energy-efficiency programs, no matter their design or implementation strategies, ultimately seek one common goal: to persuade people to use less energy. Inherently, this means motivating a target population—whether it’s consumers, contractors, dealers, or manufacturers—to change their behavior. Energy-efficiency program administrators have historically set into motion desired behaviors with equipment rebates that are intended to create demand for more-efficient lightbulbs, water heaters, or air conditioners, to name a few. But upgrading technology is only a piece of the energy-usage pie. Research from Opinion Dynamics shows that an average of 12 to 18 percent of energy consumed in commercial buildings is wasted as a result of occupant’ behavior. And behavior waste is responsible for nearly 36 percent of commercial lighting energy usage! One solution—targeting behavior (with a little automation, for example)—can help transform bad energy habits and save customers money.

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August 15, 2013 | Aleana Reeves - Senior Product Manager | 0 comments
When I was doing my umpteeth thousandth load of laundry over the weekend, I paused while looking down at my daughter’s shirt. The stain she had created on her “sweetheart”-emblazoned top actually looked like a heart. Fascinating. Immediately, my brain went to one of my favorite television commercials, aired by Tide Miracle Stain during Super Bowl XLVII. How clever, I thought, for a low-interest category such as stain lifter to do such remarkable marketing! How sad, however, that my daughter’s stain didn’t look more like Joe Montana. Alas …

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August 15, 2013 | Mary Horsey - Research Manager | 0 comments
When most of us think about modeling building energy use, we think of complex, expensive computer programs that require a graduate degree to run and understand. Worse yet, they may or may not give an accurate picture of how a building’s energy systems are performing. But now we’re poised to take a giant leap forward! The big data revolution has fueled the development of new tools so you’ll be able to target each building in your service territory to identify the most effective incentive measures. Intrigued? Doubtful? Just stop by the "Big Data Dreamin’" Forum session at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, September 20, to learn how Larry Brackney of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Jennifer Elling of Xcel Energy, and Dale Kruchten of National Grid are working to make this— and more—a reality!

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August 14, 2013 | Kim Burke - Associate Research Director | 0 comments
If the prospect of saving money and energy was all the reason anyone needed to invest in energy efficiency, our jobs would be done, right? The countless brochures, e-mails, and pieces of direct mail that utilities send to their nonresidential customers each year with the “Save money” message would have a 100 percent response rate. But that’s not the reality. The truth is that the decision for a business to participate in a utility demand-side management (DSM) program and to upgrade to more-efficient technology and equipment doesn’t always come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis. There are a lot of competing interests for the capital, and energy use is not top of mind for businesses. Providing customers with a more compelling sales pitch is key to increasing participation rates in energy-efficiency programs.

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August 13, 2013 | Tia Hensler Heath - Director, Market Research Services | 0 comments
Have you ever started a sentence with “How does my utility compare to others when it comes to …”? Well, if you have, it’s time you take a look at the E Source voice-of-the-utility benchmark studies. Recently, I rejoined E Source as the director of Market Research Services. I had worked at the company some years ago as a market researcher and knew the challenges utilities face trying to find relevant benchmark data. I learned E Source had been building its benchmarking data over the years to help utilities assess their business practices. And the efforts have paid off because now E Source’s benchmarking studies cover a wide range of topics!

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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 11, 2013 | Kate Drexler - Research Manager | 0 comments

E Source dissected two new rulings—more commonly called the RICE Rule—issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in January 2013 to give you the lowdown on how the rulings will impact your peak-shaving programs. The short answer: Starting May 3, 2014, utility customers that use backup generators or reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICEs) to participate in local peak-shaving programs will have to adhere to the EPA’s new air emission standards. This means utility customers will have to put pollution controls in place or face whopping fines of up to tens of thousands of dollars.

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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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