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.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular with consumers, but how can utilities support adoption and capitalize on this trend? Multifamily residences (MFRs) offer an incredible opportunity to reach concentrated groups of residents who are currently unsupported by EV charging stations. Utilities can engage these customers through tailored messaging to residents and property managers, as well as through increased use of digital channels, improved partnerships, and educational workshops.
Recently, I called a company I regularly do business with in order to conduct one simple transaction: buy something. But, most likely due to a spike in call volume, I was put on hold. Enterprise routing—a new call-routing technology that sends overflow calls to non-CSR employees—could probably have helped. Learn about this routing option and four others in a new E Source report.
In 2011, Pepco was pronounced the “most hated company in America.” When your organization sits at the nadir of customer satisfaction, how do you climb to the zenith? Where do you even begin? At this year’s E Source Forum in October, we’ll hear from two Pepco communications experts about how the utility was able to drastically improve customer satisfaction, in part by reengineering the communications department and developing integrated strategies to improve day-to-day and storm communications. Join us for what will surely be a lively discussion.
Jesse Fife grew up on Colorado’s Western Slope in stunning Grand Junction. After earning his degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, he decided to stay in town and get involved in energy-efficiency research. Now he’s E Source’s certified ScrumMaster, the facilitator of all our product development efforts. He keeps us on track, in good spirits, and productive. Plus, he rides a unicycle!
Keeping up with utility bills is an uphill battle for many low-income customers. To help these users reduce their wintertime bill-payment struggles, Consumers Energy partnered with design-thinking firm IDEO and utility assistance provider THAW to pilot the Clear Control program. The initiative combined shorter billing periods; daily text and email updates on energy use; and low-cost, high-impact energy-efficiency resources to help Consumers’ low-income customers stay on top of their cold-weather utility bills.
Home energy management (HEM) is shaking up the market and requiring utilities to rethink their demand-side management program strategies. To keep customers and take advantage of the demand-response and energy-efficiency potential that HEM systems offer, utilities need to decide whether to go it alone and bundle new service offerings around security, comfort, solar, and storage, or to partner with a vendor. Either way, they’ll have to choose. The market is forcing the issue.
Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are varied and abundant, but that same variety is one of the main stumbling blocks utilities have encountered in engaging these customers. What a mobile game design shop needs will be completely different than what a martial arts studio or microbrewery needs. And because SMBs don’t have dedicated account reps, they’re often forgotten. In fact, in the utility industry, these customers were dubbed the forgotten middle or the frozen middle as utilities focused on engaging residential consumers and large businesses to participate in programs. Thankfully, it seems that the tide has turned!
Websites continue to change to keep up with technology and meet our needs as customers. This means that businesses have to quickly adapt to seemingly capricious expectations while still maintaining base functionality. We recently finished the review phase of the E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Residential Websites: 2015. We looked at tens of common features that customers expect to find on utility websites. At this year’s E Source Forum, we’ll be hosting a session called “Can You Find It? A Best-Practice Guide to Redesigning Websites” that will provide an overview of what utility websites look like now, what customers expect from the sites when they’re online, and how utilities can redesign their websites for the future.
Find out about some of the weird and wonderful smart devices and gadgets that we’ve enjoyed reading about over the past year. Although these products don’t necessarily have much to do with energy efficiency, all are wirelessly enabled, can be controlled through a mobile app or web portal, and are either currently for sale or available for preorder. Most came to fruition through crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and seem to be natural (if occasionally bizarre) extensions of the developing smart home industry.