Report: Consumer engagement best practice for utilities outlined


The annual “State of the Consumer” report tracks the latest trends in utility-customer relationships and has found consumers ready for clean energy, digital services and new utility programmes.

The Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative’s (SECC) yearly report synthesises last year’s research into key takeaways on today’s energy consumers, for electric utilities and other industry stakeholders.

Through in-depth consumer research, SECC seeks to better understand energy consumers – their perceptions, attitudes and needs – and leverage this understanding to formulate actions that utilities and other service providers can use to better serve and engage their customers.

“The energy sector is undergoing widespread change with far-reaching implications for providers and consumers alike,” said Patty Durand, President & CEO, SECC. “Long considered a commodity-based business, utilities are now being called on to build and nurture relationships with their customers. Strategies for effective consumer engagement are increasingly viewed as a cornerstone for utilities and other energy service providers.”

The “2018 State of the Consumer” report underscores the need for utilities to treat the relationship with each customer as a journey that starts with the basics and evolves over time as the customer’s energy-related understanding and needs change.

Another theme in the report is that programmes emphasising shifts in energy usage, such as peak-time rebates or peak-shifting programmes, are appropriate for and appeal to a wide range of consumers.

About 60% of consumers are either “probably” or “definitely interested” in participating in such a programme. Moreover, millennials, now the largest generation of U.S. consumers, renters, and an increasingly important cohort of energy consumers, express particular interest in these kinds of programmes.

An executive summary of the “2018 State of the Consumer” report is available to the public at, and a full version is available to members via their online logins and members of the media on request.

A free webinar on the research findings will be held on Tuesday, March 20 at 1 p.m. (ET).

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