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.
If you’re like me and have noticed that energy topics have been conspicuously absent from the election cycle, then you’ll be as excited as I am that E Source just received data on energy-related customer actions and perceptions! This brand-spankin’-new 2016 data comes from the Nielsen Energy Behavior Track survey, conducted in partnership with E Source, which gathers information from roughly 32,000 residential customers from across the US. Check out our loaded-with-data infographic about how Republicans, Democrats, and independents feel about energy issues.
It’s a cliché these days to say that the energy industry is experiencing a paradigm shift, so I won’t belabor the point. But if utilities are going to succeed in this unfamiliar environment, they need to listen to their customers and act on what they hear. With the right enterprise feedback management strategy, utilities get all their customer (and employee) feedback in one repository; the ability to conduct analysis that combines multiple research inputs into a single perspective; and quick visibility into what needs to change in real time to improve the customer experience.
The office was as quiet as a crypt. All of a sudden, I heard a blood-curdling shriek pierce the silence. A coworker began wailing like a banshee; her worst nightmare had come true. Spotify, Reddit, and the New York Times had been taken offline by a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. At fault was a Mirai botnet that possessed millions of Internet-connected devices to create a zombie army. Even though utilities are using these potentially vulnerable Internet-of-Things devices in efficiency programs, there are steps companies can take to keep gremlins from wreaking havoc.
Ever wonder why that utility bill is so high? It could be your old fridge that’s bleeding your wallet. Utilities know this, which is why many have refrigerator-recycling programs to incentivize customers to switch to newer, more-energy-efficient models that don’t shred through energy and will help slash that electricity bill. But for many utilities, refrigerator-recycling programs have been a nightmare as the value of these programs decreases each year. A new E Source report details the ways utilities can continue to offer refrigerator-recycling programs to their customers.
Earlier this month we told you how nearly two dozen E Sourcers spent an afternoon harvesting seeds from native plants along St. Vrain Creek to help with ongoing flood recovery efforts in Boulder County. At the same time, Bryan Jungers, an E Source researcher based in Patagonia, Arizona, was doing the same thing in his Southwest community. Why do we do it? Because volunteerism supports our corporate sustainability goals; it provides physical and mental health benefits for those who volunteer; and, darn it, it’s just the right thing to do!
How are space travel and energy-efficiency programs related? If you think about it, finding ways to increase energy efficiency for businesses is like developing a reusable rocket—both projects allow us to save money and accomplish our wildest dreams (assuming your dream is getting businesses to participate in energy-efficient measures—and who doesn’t have that dream?). Though Tesla’s Elon Musk and other visionary billionaires are investing their time and capital in pushing the human limits of space exploration, utilities are coming up with innovative DSM programs to push the limits of energy efficiency for their commercial customers.
Electric vehicles (EVs) pose a tremendous opportunity for electric utilities, one that will likely revolutionize the utility industry in my lifetime. That said, we’re a long way from EVs taking over the roads; one of the biggest barriers continues to be a lack of EV education and awareness. So I offer you this: Become an EVangelist at your utility and educate utility employees, customers, and local dealerships about EVs and EV programs.
Today, October 5, is the inaugural National Energy Efficiency Day. It’s a day for utilities to share information on their efficiency programs and talk about how they’re partnering with communities to drive down energy consumption. October 5 is also CX Day, a global celebration of the companies and professionals who create great experiences for their customers. It’s serendipitous that these two celebrations are happening simultaneously this year because collectively they create Customer-Side Management Day! For E Source, Customer-Side Management™ (CSM™) represents the intersection between demand-side management (DSM), distributed energy resources (DERs), and customer experience (CX). These celebrations remind us that there are pivotal interconnections between DSM, DERs, and CX, as consumers don’t view their experiences as separate interactions, but rather as components of an overall brand relationship.
Organizations now have access to impressive volumes of information about their customers, including usage behavior, demographic or firmographic data, building profiles, and past program participation data. Utilities can even purchase and append third-party data to enhance their knowledge of their customer base. The trick is knowing how to use this data to engage customers and break through the clutter of information people are bombarded with every day. In this week’s E Source Forum session “Understand, Find, and Engage Your Customers with Segmentation and Customer Data,” you can hear how a few utilities have optimized their marketing and outreach using customer segmentation and big data.
Can’t stop eating those cookies? Try moving them to the top shelf of your pantry. Simple behavior-change tools like this can help you reach your personal improvement goals as well as the participation and customer satisfaction goals you’ve set for your demand-side management programs. Here, we recommend a few strategies to inspire behavior change, and we encourage you to come practice applying these strategies next week at the E Source Forum!