Oracle launches limited income customer support solution

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Oracle Utilities Opower has developed a solution to identify and support customers on limited incomes with bill assistance and energy efficiency.

The identification of customers on limited incomes can be challenging for utilities with scattered data sources scattered and limited resources.

The new solution draws on predictive analytics on utility, third-party and customer-provided data to identify financially vulnerable customers and predict programme eligibility.

Once identified, the solution delivers personalised messages to them on energy efficiency and energy saving opportunities throughout the year in order to influence them to act.

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Account status alerts reach customers with programme offers before they enter collections or disconnect. New affordability insights and recommendations tailor the experience for limited income customers through home energy reports, high bill alerts and weekly energy updates.

Ongoing SMS engagement helps customers save on every bill and take each next step to achieve energy affordability.

“The pandemic intensified our focus on what was already a major issue of energy affordability in the US. With investments in clean energy infrastructure putting more and more strain on household energy bills, decarbonisation could make the affordability gap worse,” said Scott Neuman, senior vice president of Oracle Utilities Opower.

“This new solution brings artificial intelligence and behavioural science into the customer experience so utilities can reach limited income customers on an individual level.”

Tests with a northeastern US utility identified 78% more limited income customers.

A recent survey for Oracle found that as an outcome to government’s handling of the pandemic, 23% of respondents in the US indicated they could not pay their bill for the first time last year and 56% were not aware of programmes their energy provider offers to help.

In addition to not knowing what programmes are available, customers are often uncertain whether they qualify for programmes and how to enroll.

The new limited income solution was designed in partnership with multiple utilities and will be made available in a series of SaaS releases over the next 12 months.