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.

May 17, 2016 | Luke Currin, Keenan Samuelson | 1 comments

First impressions are critical to the success of personal relationships, including customer relationships. The first impression utility customers get of their energy provider occurs during the start-service interaction, when customers move into a new home. Providing an excellent self-service moving experience can set utilities off on the right foot. E Source’s three-part series on self-service moving interactions gives utilities strategies to make a positive first impression on their new customers.

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May 13, 2016 | Jeffrey Daigle - Senior Analyst, Customer Experience Practice | 0 comments

Utilities aren’t faced with listening to the voices of customers on just traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. They also have to deal with nontraditional contenders such as Snapchat, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, Ello, and Reddit. Reddit is a unique social media channel where the users are highly engaged, regularly active, and none too shy about giving commentary and critique. It’s an ideal forum for utilities to get honest and informed voice-of-the-customer feedback.

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May 10, 2016 | Beth Fitzjarrald - Analyst, Demand-Side Management Practice | 0 comments

Home energy reports just a month after you move into your new home? Crazy! Counting on more than 10 percent savings from prepayment offerings? No way! Getting big-name retailers to stock more energy-saving products? Impossible! These aren’t so crazy for the handful of utilities featured in the latest E Source roundup of innovative residential demand-side management (DSM) programs. We know the stakes are getting higher as DSM goals increase, and we all like to know about promising and innovative ways to meet those goals. In this blog, we spotlight five program examples that we think could catch on. Convinced your program is innovative? Let us know and maybe we’ll feature it in our next roundup report.

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April 28, 2016 | Meredith Ledbetter - Analyst, Marketing & Communications Practice | 0 comments

Like many other industries, utilities are very familiar with frequent organizational restructuring. Are we missing an obvious org arrangement that works well in other environments? The natural world is providing surprising inspiration to researchers who are trying to make sense of complex organizations. Let’s jump-start our creativity and innovation when looking at how to organize utility marketing departments.

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April 25, 2016 | K Kaufmann - Communications Manager, SEPA; Alanya Schofield - Director of Strategy and New Products, E Source | 0 comments

The utility industry is searching for ways to develop positive, proactive narratives about solar that connect emotionally with customers while explaining the complexities involved in transforming utilities’ 100-year-old business models. Addressing such antisolar assumptions was a focus of discussion at the Utility Solar Conference, where a new working group of utility representatives met to develop transparent and effective communications about solar. The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) and industry consultant E Source are partnering on the initiative, aimed at allowing utilities to share ideas and experiences on shaping new narratives and communications strategies on solar and rate reform issues.

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April 22, 2016 | Bryan Jungers - Senior Analyst, Technology Assessment Practice | 0 comments

If you listen to the chatter, it almost seems inevitable that one day soon, batteries will be used to soak up electricity anywhere and everywhere they can, fixing all of the problems we currently face with our aging electric grid. Wouldn’t that be nice? A more sobering—and probably more realistic—projection is that game-changing battery technology will always be “5 to 10 years from market” as long as the utility-customer relationship remains fundamentally unchanged. The missing key in grid storage advancement isn’t so much the storage technology itself, but the effective enabling of the many stacked functions that are needed to unlock the technical and economic benefits of grid storage.

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April 18, 2016 | Logan Jacobson - Analyst, Technology Assessment Practice | 0 comments

With nearly 400,000 people preordering Tesla’s Model 3, electric vehicles (EVs) might become mainstream in 2017. Nissan and Chevy are entering the race to bring EVs to every driveway, too. All three manufacturers will release vehicles with at least 200 miles of range for $35,000 or less—providing enough range at a low enough price to make going electric tempting for almost anyone. Now the question is which will sell more: Tesla’s glamour or Chevy’s and Nissan’s dependability?

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April 12, 2016 | Daniel Doutre - Senior Analyst, Market Research Practice | 0 comments

Everywhere you look today, people are face first in their mobile device. They’re surfing the web, watching movies, playing games, emailing, or texting. But as Ecclesiastes states, and The Byrds later sang, there’s a time to every purpose under heaven, including when a smartphone needs to be just a phone. According to our recent Large Business Gap and Priority study, your key accounts want you to call them during energy emergencies. How do they want you to communicate with them during other events? Find out.

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April 11, 2016 | Essie Snell - Research Manager, Technology Assessment Practice | 2 comments
Popular smart thermostat manufacturer Nest has been having a rough couple weeks. Complaints about internal strife, a bumpy acquisition of competitor Revolv, and an apparent 180 from its original position that its thermostat-centric platform was to become the main control point of future smart homes suggest all is not well at Nest. Making matters worse, the company may be setting a dangerous precedent by shutting down and disabling all existing Revolv hubs in customers’ homes as of May 15, 2016. Customers will abruptly be left with nonfunctioning devices, even if the hubs are working well despite the lack of support. It makes me question whether Nest has a clear path to larger success.

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April 6, 2016 | Sarah Howie - Business Line Lead, Marketing & Communications Practice | 0 comments

Something happened around March 1 to give all species of animals center stage in social media. In the past 30 days, animal-related content has been a dominant, high-engagement theme on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Check out the posts that caused the most buzz.

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