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Data Analytics: The Modern Utility's Secret Weapon

EnergyX Solutions Inc.

Historically, the relationship between customers and their energy provider was transactional. You have an energy bill; you pay it. For utilities, they needed to do three things correctly:

  • Find out the right amount of power demand

  • Produce the energy itself

  • Commercialize and distribute the energy to their customers

Today, the game has changed drastically. Utilities are mandated to seek an alternative to building new infrastructure and reduce loads through energy efficiency programs. Some U.S. states have set targets as lofty as two percent a year.

And when it comes to commercialization? The modern utility customer expects more timely, relevant service and the same old engagement tactics are simply not going to cut it.

For those who work in energy efficiency programming, data analytics simply must become a part of the shift towards a more customer-centric utility service model. Utilities are becoming more nimble and delivering programs through integrated marketing to customers.

Here are three ways that utilities are leveraging data analytics to better serve customers…

Program Delivery

The mechanics of delivering an energy efficiency program remain similar, regardless of what state you’re in and what programs you are delivering. One way or another, utilities must get their customers interested in energy efficiency programs and incentivize them to participate.

Traditionally, this has been a difficult, slow process marred by guesswork and resulting in wasted marketing budgets. Data analytics are the key for utilities to achieve savings by delivering programs more effectively, such as supporting digital marketing campaigns.

Program Design

What do your energy efficiency programs offer customers? A new HVAC system? A new set of LEDs?

The truth is, there are only so many light bulbs you can change. Customers will get tired of the same old message or call to action. To achieve energy savings and reduce load, you’ll need to dig into the data.

Program managers will need to analyze and evaluate exactly which programs are delivering the most value and the lowest cost, and focus their efforts on these programs accordingly. Data analytics can also help the customers who do participate in programs achieve significant savings.

Audience Targeting and Segmentation

Long gone are the days when utilities only needed to know how much energy a customer was using, and where to send the bill. Data is instrumental for utilities to figure out how their customers behave.

For energy efficiency programs, this means determining their likelihood of participation through data sets, such as building or consumption data. Segmentation is critical to reaching audiences with lower participation rates, such as small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

At EnergyX, we’re using data science and analytics to help utilities evaluate buildings that are more likely to need building retrofits. We then help utilities strategically target these users for program participation…and help them hit their energy savings targets.

The best part? Utilities already have this data. From smart devices, to consumption data…you have all the tools you need to effectively generate value for you and your customers.

Learn more about EnergyX

Bruce Chen's picture

Thank Bruce for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on January 8, 2019

Great article, Bruce. When comparing the 3 ways utilties can use energy efficiency to serve their customers, do you have insights into the relative costs/benefits of each? Are some lower hanging fruit while others require more investment upfront? Or are they all part of the same animal and if you're collecting the data then they're all equally options?

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