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.
An amateur chef on YouTube treats water as though it’s free, but what does it actually cost? People in the energy industry have trouble justifying measures that would address the water-energy nexus because water is so cheap in our society. This blog examines the energy costs that are associated with water consumption and often overlooked and underestimated.
After years of effort and investment, many utilities are launching new websites that do double duty as information hubs and powerful marketing and brand communications platforms. These overhauls have a similar look and feel: more white space, a simpler visual impact, and an emphasis on customer programs and services. It’s no longer about presenting everything all at once; it’s about having the necessary insights to lead with the best information in an elegant, simple way.
For the last few years, utilities have been creating programs that offer discounts or other incentives for smart thermostats. Anyone who changes their thermostat setting, whether it’s for heating in the winter or cooling in the summer, can take advantage of these programs. In fact, customers can save additional money by participating in a summer demand-response program that eases pressure on the electric grid. Through this program, utilities can change a customer’s Wi-Fi-connected smart thermostat settings to an agreed-upon temperature during “peak” energy times. That means fewer brownouts and blackouts on those extra-hot days when everyone wants to keep their homes at freezer temperature—and cost savings for customers.
We’ve been watching the evolution of microgrids for a few years now, but every time they appeared ready to gain some ground in the market, development got bogged down and progress stalled. So I was intrigued to read a February 2017 article in Microgrid Knowledge on APS’s bullish new microgrid deployments. APS moved to install two microgrids without securing preapproval from state regulators.
Voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are rapidly gaining market share and may prove to be a key interface for the smart home over the next year or two. These continually evolving Wi-Fi-enabled speakers with voice recognition can play music, answer questions, and control an expanding range of smart devices. But for energy nerds like me, there’s a persistent and nagging question: How much energy do these devices actually consume? To answer this question, my gadget aficionado friend Doug and I used a WeMo smart plug to measure the power draw of the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, and Google Home while they were operating in different modes. Check out our results!
Having collected 55 new and innovative ideas from the past year, the demand-side management (DSM) team was in the final stages of narrowing down the list to the top five innovative residential DSM programs. The team ensured representation from a wide variety of programs and geographic regions—from educating real-estate agents in Massachusetts to selectively charging electric vehicles in California. Find out which made the final cut by attending the DSM Roundup 2017: Innovative Residential Programs web conference on Wednesday, February 8.
I had the privilege of speaking with Connie McIntyre and Sandra Broughton about their success in implementing a customer experience (CX) culture at AGL Resources. What struck me in talking to them was the perspective they brought to the task. McIntyre, vice president of CX, and Broughton, director of the CX Business Office, knew their CX journey would be more of a marathon than a sprint.
A content strategy may be the panacea your utility needs to resolve some of its communication maladies. A strategy for your content can help you understand what information you’re putting into the marketplace, how customers should react to that content, and your overarching content goals. It’s not enough to simply create lots of content without managing it, updating it, and retiring it; nor is it enough to simply check the spelling and grammar in your media. You need an overall strategy to tie these tactics together. A crucial first step in developing a content strategy is writing your core strategy statement. We’ve got an exercise to get you started.
In 2016, additional states legalized marijuana, more people implemented voice-activated smart home hubs, and representatives from 200 countries passed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. These are just a few energy-related trends we discuss in our new Top 20 Technologies and Trends of 2016 report. It’s fun to look back at what happened over the course of 2016, but it’s also valuable to think about what those trends mean for 2017.
Because President-elect Trump, as well as some of his advisors and cabinet nominees, regularly expresses disdain for climate-change regulations, many think that the new administration will obstruct international and domestic statutes phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) usage. The situation is actually more complex. With the HVAC and chemical industries in the United States supporting the statutes, US backing of an HFC phasedown may survive the change in administration.