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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 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 | Kate Drexler - Research Manager | 1 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 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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