Trends That Will Transform The Energy Industry In 2016

Mark Henderson

2016-energy-trendsOn October 29, Ecova’s Mark Henderson, vice president of utility sales & client management, was a presenter for Greentech Media’s Grid Edge webinar that examined trends anticipated to transform the energy industry in 2016. Moderated by Steve Propper, director of Grid Edge at GTM Research, the panel also included Chris Black, CTO/COO of Tendril and Laney Brown, director of smart grid planning and programs at Iberdrola USA. 

On the heels of what is proving to be a pivotal year in the energy sector, a number of significant trends will continue to shape the industry in the year to come. Here is what’s expected and how utilities can react to create more effective programs and stay relevant with today’s customer.

In 2016, utilities will increasingly pursue efforts to offer ancillary services.

Utilities can better succeed with ancillary services by leveraging mandated customer-benefit programs—such as energy efficiency—and building on the connections that these programs generate. Utilities that don’t integrate these types of programs into broader customer engagement approaches are missing a key opportunity.

Data and analytics will play a key role in helping drive greater results with energy efficiency programs.

From an implementation standpoint, utilities have three powerful ways for integrating more effective analytics into their energy efficiency programs:

  1. By utilizing insightful customer data, utilities can facilitate more personalized customer interactions, leading to a more interested and engaged customer.
  2. Analytics can be used to target specific measures for cost-effectiveness. By integrating specific and accurate money-savings data into messages, marketing can be significantly more powerful—resulting in much greater customer participation, as seen for AEP Ohio’s program that achieved an increase of 176 percent in response rate.
  3. Data can help target distinct geographic territories or customer segments—a valuable tool for utilities with specific, regional load reduction concerns. For example, with analytics utilities can engage with customers in constrained areas, targeting measures that reduce load during resource-constrained hours.

Solar will become increasingly more competitive and cost-effective, leading to more widespread adoption.

Analytics can play a major role in assisting with customer engagement in this area. A well-orchestrated, analytics-based program can help utilities reach customers for solar guidance and advice.

Newer, technology-based approaches will be used to better engage customers with programs.

Utilities need to deliver information to the customer that is consistent, accurate, and personalized. Mobile apps and online resources can be used to create a “hub” of customer connection to virtually every utility program. Analytics can be used here to generate personalized messaging and learn more about what customers are doing to engage with the program.

Please visit Greentech Media Grid Edge and register to view the webinar recording.

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