What’s next for utilities after lighting replacement programs?
Compact fluorescent lighting replacement programs have been very successful for utility companies – yielding high energy efficiency gains from a relatively low cost, targeted effort. However, as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) become mandatory due to the federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, these programs are winding down, and utilities are seeking the next high-impact program that will help them to achieve aggressive energy efficiency goals.
Research from McKinsey and other leading industry analysts suggests that, after CFL lighting replacement, energy efficiency programs that leverage customer engagement are the most cost-effective means of reducing energy consumption. In the past, customer engagement was often achieved through direct mail or expensive call centers. Modern engagement programs, however, are more effective and low-cost, since they are based on online portals backed by sophisticated software, combined with digital marketing efforts, such as email and online advertising. This automates and accelerates the process by which utilities help customers to realize energy savings.
What does modern customer engagement bring to the utility customer?
Engagement programs based on online portals have significant benefits that increase the ability to achieve results:
What does C3’s modern customer engagement solution bring to the utility?
- Timely, tailored information
Robust, modern software solutions aggregate multiple sources of data to create a tailored analysis for each customer. Information is current, actionable, and relevant.
- Simplicity – with just the right level of detail
- Residential customers require powerful, but simple information with almost zero barriers to entry. They want answers without having to provide any, or little, information up front.
- Small to medium business customers require accurate and actionable information that can be understood and acted upon by a non-energy expert.
- Large commercial and industrial customers require powerful tools managed by a utility account representative or qualified energy auditor to dive deeply into every aspect of their energy usage and spend in order to identify and quantify the ROI of the highest impact energy conservation measures they will implement.
- Anytime, anywhere availability
With an online, software-based solution, customers can see and understand their energy use at any time that they desire, from anywhere with an internet connection. Rather than having to wait for a call center or an in-person interaction, customers can get started, check on progress, or analyze results at any time.
While many customers intellectually understand the value of energy efficiency, some additional motivation is often helpful in providing the spark to action. An online engagement solution provides a platform for providing tailored offers, rewards, competitions, and community-building campaigns to motivate customers to achieve energy efficiency goals.
- Ease of deployment and integration
Historically, utilities have had to purchase or build different energy efficiency software solutions to accommodate the unique requirements of each customer segment: home, small/medium business, and commercial/industrial. Different solutions increase complexity and cost, since it requires managing multiple software vendors and performing multiple integrations with billing, interval meters, weather, rebates and incentives, and other utility data systems. C3’s modern solution leverages a common integration platform, so that utilities connect the solution to back-end systems only once.
- Lower overall costs
With a single integration required and one vendor with whom to interact, ongoing solution management costs are minimal. Also, as a SaaS solution, the IT maintenance requirements are low, since C3 maintains all hardware and software and manages system and software upgrades.
- Scale that fits needs today and tomorrow
C3's modern solutions are based on a software platform that can scale from thousands to hundreds of thousands of accounts. If a utility wishes to only engage with one customer segment today, such as residential customers, but wishes to expand to SMB and large C&I segments later, those solutions are easily and quickly deployed, without the need for significant deployment effort.
C3 is responding to a need from utilities for a unified customer engagement model – one in which all customers – residential, small/medium business, and commercial/industrial – benefit from tailored insights and recommendations to reduce energy use and save money. To read more about C3 for Utilities – click here