Itron Utility Week

Customers in the US spend less than seven minutes each year interacting with their utilities, finds a new report from US utility software maker Opower.

Titled ‘The Value of Utility Customer Engagement‘, the study aims to show how engaged customers deliver cost savings across the utility business.

The summary states: “Utilities around the world are planning or deploying massive customer engagement initiatives, and for good reason.

“According to J.D. Power, disengaged customers are less satisfied with their utility service, and low satisfaction correlates with reduced operating margins. In addition, disengaged customers are most likely to resist new utility initiatives, ranging from smart grid infrastructure updates to rate increases to a variety of other projects.

“Lastly, as energy delivery models change, with mass-market distributed generation on the horizon and energy storage technology steadily progressing, utilities have to create a sticky relationship with their customers today to stay relevant tomorrow. Successful customer engagement creates significant value for utility shareholders.

“Opower has developed a business case framework to quantify potential benefits of customer engagement through cost savings across various areas of utility operations. According to this model, each engaged household can add an incremental $40-$90 annually to a regulated utility’s bottom line. This white paper identifies the sources of this incremental value across several utility domains: program marketing, customer care, energy efficiency, and demand response.”