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.
Last month we celebrated Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day here at E Source. Nine lucky recruits arrived bright and early with their E Source parents. I could tell that most of them were anticipating a day of doodles and dodgeball, but we had other plans for these energy-efficiency hopefuls. They would soon learn that a day of work at E Source can be as challenging as it is rewarding.
The utility industry isn’t threatened by a disruptive technology, but by a disruptive idea: that it’s incumbent on utilities to provide free storage and backup services to solar panel owners. The main manifestation of this idea is net metering, and it’s the law of the land in 44 states. In most of those states, utilities are actively challenging the rules, but many solar advocates object to any effort to tamper with the terms of net metering. How do we get to the bottom of this argument? How do we calmly and rationally decide how to fairly split up the benefits—and costs—of grid-connected solar panels between utilities and homeowners? The answer is, we don’t.
The word “experience” comes from the Latin experientia, meaning “knowledge gained by repeated trials.” Do we want customers to be forced into perilous situations in order to engage with us? Repeatedly? An omnichannel perspective can help mollify these dangers and improve the customer experience (CX).
Some predict that lithium-ion batteries will become so cheap that homeowners and businesses will combine the technology with equally inexpensive solar panels and go off the grid. The scenario seems unlikely, given that the solar panel and battery system required to power a self-reliant home would have to contain lots of extra panels and batteries that would rarely get used. But the debunking of this myth doesn’t dispel all of the utility’s fears.
Many of my colleagues and most of our utility members find value in behavioral programs to encourage customers to use energy more efficiently, but I’ve always been a doubter. After all, I’m an engineer—I actually understand how these technologies work. So imagine my disbelief when I recently got a home energy report that said my efficiency was just “good.” Would the injustice prompt me to make energy-saving behavior changes?
Last year was definitely a fun one for utility advertising. We saw ads that tugged at customers’ heartstrings and others that encouraged customers to pop champagne and celebrate their energy-efficient achievements. We spotted some intriguing advertising trends in 2014. And we think the E Source Utility Ad Awards Contest won’t disappoint in 2015.
Municipalization propaganda creates an “us versus them” mentality that forces people into opposition by suggesting it’s not possible to simultaneously support large utilities and clean energy. Despite the contention between Xcel Energy and members of the Boulder community, I believe there are opportunities for collaboration and compromise. Let’s talk about them over pizza and beer!
Depending on how involved in electric vehicles (EVs) your utility is, you may know that numerous states offer time-of-use rate programs for EV-driving customers. But did you know that utilities and organizations are testing more-sophisticated demand-response strategies for EVs? Feasibility tests reveal that it’s possible to power our homes with our charged EV and sell power back to the grid. Which method is right for your service territory?
E Source is always at the vanguard of new trends in the utility industry. We know that as your needs change, our offerings must change. Today, we’re introducing three exciting new services—including a breakthrough emoji service for millennials—to add to your E Source portfolio. Check them out!
In 2014, E Source surveyed 25 North American utilities to gauge the maturity of their customer experience (CX) programs. Some of the results were promising! Others were bleak. Mostly, we learned that utilities have a long way to go before they reach a fully integrated CX approach. Read on to learn the top three good things and the top three bad things we uncovered about utilities’ CX maturity.