The new year is here, and we’re in the season for looking back and summing up the the year that has passed with retrospectives and year-end research results. Here are four from 2015 with takeaways for utilities interested in customer engagement.
The Energy Business
Discussion of the ways that utilities and customers, “are managing the big mix of solar, energy storage, flexible demand, smarter meters and other distributed energy resources.”
Takeaway: Leading utilities have started to deploy, “more advanced stages of grid-edge integration, such as DERMS…, data-driven customer energy analytics…, [and] next-generation power electronics for distribution grids.”
A retrospective through 2015, in which, Matthew Ketschke, VP of distributed resource integration for Con Edison, talks with Intelligent Utility, “about the dying utility biz model, IoT, DR, a data deluge and what the utility has learned navigating all these things in the last few years.”
Takeaway: Sales volume is no longer the goal. Instead, Con Edison is about the, “new energy future,” and bringing its opportunities to customers with utilities and customers now exchanging power and information. Rather than a disruption, Ketschke sees the addition of, “customer-driven technologies,” like, “solar, battery storage…, DG, [and] the Internet of Things,” as a continuation of the technological evolution that has always affected the utility business.
Consumer engagement for utilities
Utilities are finding ways to engage customers, starting with many of the largest ones. This is a change from last year. “In 2015, many of the nation’s 125 largest electric and natural gas utilities made significant strides in strengthening bonds with residential consumers compared with 2014.” However, “Despite improvements, some customer segments continue to be underserved.”
Takeaways: 2015 saw the largest improvement in emotional connection reported by, 52,007, residential utility ratepayers, and the greatest opportunity for improvement is in targeting specific customer segments.
This year is the year that, “the customer truly took over,” at least for retail, “where customers [can now] decide what they want, when and how they want it, and then choose the retailer who can best meet their needs.” Utilities can take advantage of the lessons retailers learned about what customers really want in engagement.
Takeaway: Customer engagement needed to be easy, direct, personalized, mobile, and visual.