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.
In 2016, additional states legalized marijuana, more people implemented voice-activated smart home hubs, and representatives from 200 countries passed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. These are just a few energy-related trends we discuss in our new Top 20 Technologies and Trends of 2016 report. It’s fun to look back at what happened over the course of 2016, but it’s also valuable to think about what those trends mean for 2017.
Because President-elect Trump, as well as some of his advisors and cabinet nominees, regularly expresses disdain for climate-change regulations, many think that the new administration will obstruct international and domestic statutes phasing down hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) usage. The situation is actually more complex. With the HVAC and chemical industries in the United States supporting the statutes, US backing of an HFC phasedown may survive the change in administration.
Because water treatment and distribution consume large amounts of energy, encouraging water efficiency could lead to profound energy savings, but very few energy utilities actively promote water conservation. Luckily, by adopting a more holistic view and targeting inefficiencies in the treatment, distribution, and end-use stages of water use, energy utilities can work toward a more efficient and resilient energy and water system. Our new report examines some specific technologies and approaches that can improve energy efficiency by reducing waste in the water system.
As the new US administration takes shape and threatens to scrap the Clean Power Plan and our commitment to the Paris Agreement, there’s never been a more important time to step up our efficiency activities and bolster the over $9 billion we spend annually on efficiency across North America. The majority of this funding is controlled at the state level, not the federal, so states should continue their important work in energy efficiency, vastly accelerating investments where possible. E Source remains your partner in this ongoing effort, and we’re here to help.
Eight more states voted in favor of legalized marijuana. In all, 28 US states now permit people to use marijuana medically, and 8 states plus the District of Columbia allow citizens 21 and older to use pot recreationally. That means roughly 47 million people over the age of 21 are now living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. This sweeping movement to change the legal status of cannabis is spreading nationwide more quickly than industry observers expected. The result has been a rapid growth in business activities related to pot cultivation that will have major implications on energy consumption and will present resource and reliability challenges for many utilities. Is your utility ready?
My home’s energy efficiency got a huge boost after making some critical improvements. I wouldn’t have known to make these changes if it weren’t for an assessment that calculated my Home Energy Score, which made me aware of all of the ways my home was wasting energy. The Home Energy Score, a tool developed by the US Department of Energy for use by utilities, is just one way utilities help customers rank and compare their consumption. Energy data analytics firms like OPower and WattzOn partner with utilities to help customers monitor their energy usage and compare their consumption with that of similarly sized homes. Getting customers to think about their home as an energy-consuming unit can make them aware of the investment opportunities that will reap the most substantial savings on their energy bill.
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.