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.
What do you call a country that has no gas or oil reserves, depends completely on imported fuels to generate electricity, and must subsidize most electrical sales because its residents earn such low incomes? You might be surprised … Jordan. I recently traveled to Jordan as part of a US Agency for International Development project. The utilities there have never initiated demand-side management (DSM) programs. So we helped them start.
When I started at E Source last month as a senior analyst, I expected to learn about what is to me a distinctly new industry—utilities. To my surprise, I’ve discovered parallels between what I learned as a graduate student about changes in the news business model and what I’ve learned as an E Source analyst about similar changes in the electric utility industry. Namely, the forces of technology-led decentralization under way in the communications business model also seem to be creeping into the electric utilities industry.
Did you know that E Source has answered more than 24,000 energy-related inquiries from our members? Wouldn’t it be great if you could access this research instantly? Consider it done! This month, we launched the E Source DSM Inquiry Vault, which is now available to all subscribers of the E Source Demand-Side Management Service. Not a member of this service? No worries. Soon, we’ll offer Inquiry Vaults for subscribers of our technology, marketing, and customer experience services, too.
Key account managers split their time across a dozen different tasks in any given month, according to just-published results from E Source’s Account Management Assessment. On average, key account reps spend most of their time on relationship building, followed by energy efficiency. In 2011, reps spent 14 percent of their time on relationship building and 22 percent on energy efficiency. In 2013, they spent 18 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Pinpointing the x factor for success in corporate citizenship is tough. In 2013, I spoke with marketing and community leaders at a select few utilities to learn how they’ve reached best-in-class status in the corporate citizenship index of various JD Power utility customer satisfaction studies. At a high level, I learned that the particular efforts a company undertakes are less important to success than the strength of the strategic planning process.
Before I started working at E Source seven months ago, I had no idea what acronyms like DSM and EM&V meant. So when I was recently asked to write a report about trends in evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) budgets and spending, you can imagine my trepidation. Fortunately, I was able to rely on the expertise and magnanimity of my coworkers to help me write a report that I think will enable utilities better manage the tricky balancing act of evaluating energy-efficiency programs.
When I was doing my PowerWalking man-on-the-street videos a couple years ago, I had a great conversation with a couple of women who were about 25 years old. When I asked them whether they thought their electricity was a good value for the money, they complained about the big surprise bill at the end of the month. But one of the young ladies said, “If they would just bill me every day, a couple of dollars, that would be great. That way, it wouldn’t be a big burden when it comes all at once.” Hmm … a new utility service: daily billing.
My head is still spinning from last week’s E Source Utility Customer Experience Conference in Orlando, Florida. A full day of mind-blowing discussions in the Customer Experience Executive Council turned out to be just the appetizer for two more days of thought-provoking presentations, activities, and conversations about the state of customer experience (CE) in the utility industry. The official content of the conference was matched by the powerful connections I made while networking with all the participants and presenters.
After a great preconference session and a jam-packed first day of presentations and working sessions, it was time for day two of the E Source Customer Experience Conference. A key takeaway? If your utility says that customer experience is of utmost importance, but you’re still using templates and automation, you’re sending a message that it’s not about a human experience.