Xcel Energy unveils new Google-voice activated consumer capabilities


US utility Excel Energy has launched a new set of voice actions for the Google Assistant to help consumers manage their energy use.

The new set of actions includes the option for customers to pay their bill by simply starting by saying, “Ok Google…”

For instance, customers can now access their account or hear their account balance or due date simply by speaking to their Google Assistant-enabled devices.

The Assistant is available on more than a billion devices, including Google Nest Hub, Google Home, Google Home Mini, or through the Google Assistant app on iPhone or natively on Android devices. Once their Xcel Energy and Assistant accounts are linked, a customer simply needs to say, “OK Google, pay my energy bill,” to hear account information and make a payment.

Xcel Energy initially unveiled its Google Assistant-enabled smart home and smart energy capabilities in 2018.

The energy provider had partnered with Google Nest in 2015 when they launched energy savings programme Seasonal Savings, which slowly fine-tunes temperatures in a customer’s home heating and cooling schedule to help them save energy and lower bills without sacrificing personal preferences or comfort

The utility plans to introduce more options through Nest Hub and Assistant products In the future.

The aim will be to give customers the ability to personalise their energy management using voice-connected devices, such as the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

The utility is making use of energy efficiency rebates available in Texas and Colorado to scale up consumer adoption of smart thermostats.

Brett Carter, executive vice president of Xcel Energy, said: “Today’s announcement builds on our collaboration with Google and the ways we’re working to bring enhanced service and next-generation engagement to our customers.

“This is an exciting time to develop and deploy innovative energy solutions for our customers while leveraging our investments in technology.”