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.

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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April 1, 2016 | Jeffrey Daigle - Senior Analyst, Customer Experience Practice | 0 comments

Lighting programs have always been a great way for utility customers to achieve large energy savings at a relatively low incentive cost. But as the efficiency of new bulbs plateaus, utilities are searching for the next big demand-side management (DSM) lighting program to get massive savings. Today (which curiously is April Fools’ Day), E Source introduces its Lights Out DSM program—a monumental offering that can result in 100 percent energy savings, no free riders, and major increases in customer satisfaction. It could possibly shape the utility industry for the rest of the century.

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March 31, 2016 | Erin Johnson - Lead Content Manager | 0 comments

When do you celebrate Independence Day? Here at E Source we celebrate on April 1—not because we’re impatient practical jokesters who can’t wait three months for fireworks, but because that’s the day in 2006 when the E Source management team purchased the company from McGraw-Hill, vowing to “contiune to provide customers with the expertise and neutrality they expect from us.” This year is extra special because it’s the 10th anniversary of the date. From year to year, we’ve memorialized our Independence Day in various ways that usually involve food, but some things never change. From day 1, we’ve been proud of our ability to be a trusted, unbiased source of energy-efficiency information for our members. Join us as we celebrate E Source Independence Day!

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March 29, 2016 | Lauren Potter - Analyst, Market Research Practice | 0 comments

For utilities moving into the world of omnichannel and facing some important customer experience decisions, we know it can feel like rolling the dice or blindly looking for answers in a Magic 8 Ball. E Source’s inaugural utility industry omnichannel study provides insights into the health and integration of eight communication channels and presents an overall omnichannel perspective informed by survey responses from residential customers, electric utilities, and gas utilities across North America. With a little bit of help from our trusty advisor the Magic 8 Ball, we’re making a few data-driven customer experience predictions that we gleaned from the data-rich E Source Omnichannel Survey 2015.

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