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.
Social media is a hot topic for businesses. It’s a fast-paced environment that’s quickly becoming more accessible to a wider range of customers. In 2014, we conducted a survey of 57 utility companies, asking them about their social media goals, policies, staffing, budgets, and metrics, as well as which channels they’re using for which audiences. We also asked utility respondents which of their fellow energy providers they perceived to be doing an extraordinary job with social media. Here are their top 10!
In the digital communications age, you can get a notification for just about anything—and everything. A preference center can help utility customers ensure that they’re getting the alerts that are important to them. It can also improve enrollment in utility communications, inform utilities about customer needs, and divert calls to the contact center. A recent E Source report describes how to implement a preference center that delivers value for the utility and meets customer expectations.
Interest in home automation—of which home energy management (HEM) is a subset focused on energy use—is nothing new. Science fiction writers started describing this kind of functionality in the 1920s (shortly after the advent of electric appliances), and futuristic demonstrations of how automated electrified homes might make life easier for residents were included in multiple World’s Fairs starting in the 1930s. A variety of factors—including technological limitations, high first costs, lack of a standardized communication protocol, and dubious benefits for users—all conspired to keep home automation from achieving widespread market penetration in the decades to follow. However, after nearly a century of interest, HEM finally seems poised to hit the mainstream.
Saving energy through human behavior is often as simple as turning off lights when they aren’t in use, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. To learn which strategies are most effective at changing consumer energy behavior, several E Sourcers attended the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change conference last week in Washington, DC. Read on for some of our most memorable takeaways and to see a couple of the audience’s favorite videos from E Source senior advisor Bill LeBlanc’s film festival.
In typical multifamily buildings with central hot water systems, hot water is continuously pumped in a loop, 24/7, to be immediately available to occupants, whether they need it or not. Replacing this system with a demand-controlled recirculation system can cut pump run time by about 90 percent and save about 14 percent of domestic hot water gas consumption. A recent E Source report gives all the details.
What do you get when you take 50 employees and 50 plus man-hours? An epic holiday card, that’s what! This year, a team of three had the great pleasure of putting together our annual holiday card. And at E Source, our cards aren’t your average buy-a-stack-of-preprinted-greeting-cards-and-tediously-write-“Happy Holidays!”-on-each-one-type cards. Ours require much more thought. You may know what I mean if you received our now-legendary 2013 holiday card. Read on to learn what it took to put together this year’s creation.
You’ve probably heard the buzz around trade allies and the slew of benefits they can bring. In turn, you’ve likely recruited a troop of contractors that’s so strong, it will make your fellow efficiency program implementers weak in the knees. But how do you keep your contractors engaged so you can reap the rewards of the network? We give you eight strategies that could help.
It’d be nice if there were a simple answer to how to structure your customer experience team. But that answer depends on so many variables that any single recommendation would fall short. Rather than provide an overly general and inadequate suggestion, E Source is giving its members something much more helpful: more questions.
In many utilities, being a customer experience (CX) professional can sometimes feel like a lonely, losing battle. There are days when you feel like you’re barefoot, pushing a boulder made of squirrels up a muddy, thorn-covered hill. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a secret weapon that could help you get executive involvement, cross-functional engagement, and clear prioritization of the many improvement opportunities? Based on our research, that secret weapon just might be a CX council.
Solar is a hot topic (yes, pun intended) for both utilities and customers. As the cost of photovoltaic panels decreases and the popularity of solar increases, utilities are feeling pressured to change their traditional business model. Conflicting incentives around net-metering policies are creating complex regulatory proceedings all around the country, resulting in tension between utilities and solar installers and creating a perception among many customers that the utility is generally not in support of solar. What strategies can utilities use to better communicate their solar message?