This is a collection of video interviews from some of our 2019 E Source Forum speakers. Click the session title to learn more about it and watch the interviews. You can find the session presentations on our Forum 2019 page.
During our opening keynote, Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication explained recent trends in Americans’ climate-change and clean-energy knowledge, attitudes, policy support, and behaviors, and gave advice on building public and political will for climate action. Then, Alice Jackson, CEO of Xcel Energy Colorado, shared why her utility has committed to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and a 100% reduction by 2050, as well as how her team is using customer data to reach those goals.
When employees are enabled and empowered with the right tools, they’re more satisfied, more engaged, and more productive. A few utilities—including Duke Energy and NiSource—have figured out how to keep up with changing employee expectations. They’re leveraging technology that improves communication and collaboration, making it easier to recruit, equip, and retain great employees who love their jobs—while getting better business results. After the session, we asked Martha Brown, the product owner of Duke Energy’s employee portal, a few questions about her presentation.
Decarbonization is becoming a new standard for utilities. We talked to Sharon Tomkins, vice president of strategy and engagement at Southern California Gas Co., after our 2019 Forum panel session. She talked about renewable goals, the difference between decarbonization and carbon neutrality, and more.
New and emerging technologies can help you revolutionize your utility’s programs and services, but technology alone cannot save you. From deploying new software platforms to integrating distributed resources at the grid edge, the “people problem” is often the tougher nut to crack. In this exciting session, we learned best practices for moving new technologies to market, including understanding customer needs and navigating the intricacies of market delivery channels. After the session, we asked Brian Barnacle, former marketing and proposal coordinator at Energy Solutions, a few questions about his presentation.
Goals around sustainability, renewables, and clean energy are becoming more prevalent among business customers. Utilities have to figure out how they can best help their largest business customers achieve their corporate energy goals. This session featured energy managers from Cisco and IBM. Chris Conrad, account management director at Xcel Energy, presented the utility point of view. We asked him a few questions about the panel discussion to learn more about Xcel Energy’s efforts.
We used this session to get key insights from major players in the tech space. We learned how Google and Microsoft are thinking about the energy industry and heard about developments that are poised to change the utility sector. After, we spoke with Hannah Bascom from Google and Vikram Singh from Microsoft to learn even more.
In recent years, we’ve seen devastating wildfires in the western US, a polar vortex and tragic flooding in the Midwest, and increasingly powerful hurricanes in the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and Gulf Coast regions. These events put utilities’ operations and communications functions to the test, and there’s always something to learn in their aftermath. In this session, we learned the biggest takeaways from ComEd’s communications and operations teams throughout the January 2019 polar vortex that brought some of the coldest temperatures Chicago has ever seen. After the session, we asked Sabrina Potirala, manager of digital business at ComEd, and Rebecca Sheperd, senior emergency preparedness administrator at ComEd, a few questions about their presentations.
Two of your utility peers who have explored new behavioral strategies—including high-bill alerts, prepaid billing for demand-side management, and optimizing home energy reports with connected digital solutions—talked about their successes and challenges. After the session, we asked Amanda Janaski, product manager of behavioral programs at BGE, and Ebony Whitby, customer service manager at OUC, a few questions about their programs.
Utilities talk about generation as a way to supply energy, but the other definition of generation—when we were born and the era we grew up in—greatly influences our views. How do millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers communicate and learn at work, and why do some people become “lifers” at utilities while others see it as a career stepping-stone? Our closing plenary highlighted the remarkable and entertaining insights from Dr. Elisabeth Nesbit Wagner’s research and expertise in generational differences and corporate culture. After this session, we asked Wagner a few questions about her presentation.
Are our attention spans really so limited, or are compelling stories woefully scarce in today’s content-flooded world? The fact that people binge Netflix for hours confirms that amazing stories can capture our attention. How can you tap into the power of storytelling to connect customers with your brand in meaningful, lasting, and valuable ways? This session focused on the types of stories utilities can tell and how to deliver them to customers and the public.