Integrating energy efficiency via online customer service applications


Conference: Metering, Billing/CIS America 2007
Location: San Antonio, TX, USA
Presenter: Richard Huntley
Abstract: Presented by Richard Huntley at Metering, Billing/CIS America 2007

On July 31st EEI declared that the National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency will help invigorate efforts to conserve and use energy more wisely.

EEI stated, “The National Action Plan, unveiled today during the summer meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), is facilitated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the participation of utilities, public utility commissions, energy consumers, and non-governmental groups.  The National Action Plan’s blueprint of options to consider sets a broad course for encouraging greater energy efficiency investment in the United States.”

One might ask, “What has this to do with customer service?”

The answer – Everything.

Whether or not the utility customer can effect a change in energy usage will depend on whether or not the customer has the programs, information and tools needed for such a change.
In this presentation, case studies from a variety of North American IOU utilities will be examined, all of which support the following points of the speaker’s thesis:

  1. Seamless integration between energy efficiency and customer service online applications is proven to increase website traffic and  overall customer satisfaction
  2. Helping customers better understand their bills will lower customer service costs, and increase  customer satisfaction.
  3. Value on-line  services provide a compelling reason  for customers to go on-line

Utilities that are focused on customer care issues are now integrating their online energy analysis applications with their bill analysis applications, providing users with detailed, practical and customized recommendations they can use to control their energy  bills. 
These upgrades are resulting in dramatic increases in traffic to the online energy efficiency applications – in some cases, more than eight-fold in the first 45 days.

The ability to change customer behavior in this manner will be adopted by more and more utilites in order to effect an immediate and positive increase in energy efficiency across the nation.