January is often a time for reflection and setting goals for the new year. We thought it’d be a great opportunity to look back on 2022 and see what blog posts and reports our readers loved most and give them another 15 minutes of fame. Our most popular post was a timely piece that we published as Congress prepared to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August. Clearly, the IRA has been top of mind for utilities: the post has been our most read every month since we published it.
Other pressing topics of the year seem to be reaching low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers, transportation electrification, risk-spend efficiency, forecasting the battery market, the best way to communicate advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) benefits, and more.
We look forward to another year of bringing you insightful and engaging content. Is there something you want to see us cover on the blog in 2023? Share in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you. Without further ado, check out what made the shortlist in 2022.
What does the Inflation Reduction Act mean for utilities?
On August 7, 2022, the US Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that proposes $369 billion for clean energy and climate programs. The bill is slated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 37%–40% below 2005 levels by 2030. And analysis by Rhodium Group, a research institute, found that the IRA could lower household energy costs by $730–$1,135 by the same date. So what does this mean for utilities? Read the full post.
4 common barriers to LMI heat-pump adoption and strategies to overcome them
Liza Minor, Ben Nathan
Installing electric heat pumps and heat-pump water heaters in homes is one of the most promising strategies for residential building electrification. And LMI customers stand to benefit the most from the nonenergy benefits and efficiency savings from heat pumps.
But heat pumps have high up-front costs that create a barrier to adoption, especially for LMI customers. This presents a challenge for utilities to supply equitable electrification benefits for all. To meet energy equity and decarbonization goals, utilities need to implement innovative strategies to reduce the barriers to heat-pump adoption for LMI customers. Read the full post.
TE Insights: A new tool for tracking transportation electrification plans, programs, and spending
Transportation electrification is changing rapidly. And utilities are looking to shape the future of clean transportation and prepare for the new loads from these technologies. It’s been complicated and time-consuming to find detailed data about what utilities are spending on transportation electrification and where they’re focusing their program efforts.
To gather this information and make it easy for you to find and analyze it, E Source has created TE Insights. The tool organizes data from utility transportation electrification plans, EV-specific rates, and customer rebates into one easy-to-navigate platform for a wide range of users. We’ve designed the tool to offer insights relevant to different roles at utilities and solution providers. Read the full post.
Use the 6 Es framework to improve the employee experience
Paige Martin Cox, Liza Minor
E Source developed the framework The 6 Es of cultivating engaged employees using our research on how organizations most effectively cultivate employee engagement in CX improvements. We used the 6 Es framework to create the E Source Utility Employee Experience Survey, an online survey of utility contact center employees.
In this report, we summarize the key findings from the 2022 Utility Employee Experience Survey, where utility contact center employees rated their organization’s ability to deliver on each of the 6 Es. Read the full report.
What it means to be a Sustainable Utility: Forum 2022 keynote speaker spotlight
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jennifer Montague, senior vice president and chief customer officer (CCO) at NiSource preceding our annual E Source Forum 2022 conference. To kick off our conversation, Jennifer stated, “I feel like, as an industry, we’re on the precipice of really exciting change. And that gives us an opportunity to look closer at some really innovative solutions. I’m truly excited about some of the big challenges ahead and the process of finding ways to fix them to drive that change.” Read the full interview.
Risk-spend efficiency: Moving beyond “Where is my risk?” to “What should I do about it?”
Over the past few years, E Source has gotten extremely good at predicting the location of outage risks for electric utilities—both across the system and at a granular level.
I’ve worked at the forefront of this effort and am equal parts delighted and amazed by how far we’ve come in helping utilities understand precisely where, and to what degree, outage risk exists across hundreds, and often thousands, of miles of power lines.
I had thought that pioneering these data science and data-driven approaches to outage risk prediction would be our crowning achievement. But I was only half right. Read the full post.
How utilities can support EV charging infrastructure through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Bryan Jungers, Liza Minor
The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)—also known as President Biden’s infrastructure bill—provides substantial funding for states to develop a nationwide network of EV charging infrastructure. And through the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021, utilities can work with other organizations to apply for funding and carry out transportation electrification projects.
But you need to make sure you’re ready to take on the work of administering and implementing these funds before you apply. Read the full report.
5 communications strategies to put customers’ minds at ease about AMI
Leading with the benefits is a tried-and-true strategy when communicating with customers about a major undertaking like an AMI implementation.
Communicating the benefits helps form staff ambassadors and gain customer support. But it’s important to understand that along with the realization of the AMI program’s benefits come public misconceptions. Read the full post.
How utilities can collaborate with local organizations to achieve equitable programs
Ben Nathan, Miriam Stein
As we’ve been highlighting in our energy equity research and resources, utilities are working with the communities they serve to apply an equity lens to their demand-side management, distributed energy resource, and EV programs. They’re also incorporating equity into their marketing and communications, internal operations, and trade ally engagement. And they’re learning more about the unique needs and challenges of the communities they serve and modifying programs and services to increase energy equity and affordability. Read the full post.
Battery market forecast to 2030: Pricing, capacity, and supply and demand
The battery market is a critical piece of our global energy future, and it’s growing at an unprecedented rate. The electrification of the transportation industry, the use of battery systems to provide energy storage and demand management for the grid, and the batterification of many devices continues to spur this industry’s growth. These developments are already affecting:
- Investments in energy generation
- Utility demand management programs
- Battery manufacturers’ production and investment decisions
As batteries offer potential solutions to the challenges of legacy electric grids, it’s important to use market forecasting and intelligence to make sound planning decisions. Read the full report.