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Apogee Builds Solutions to Move Utilities from EE and DR to Electrification

Posted By Karen Morris, Thursday, September 13, 2018

Jim Albert CTO Interview from Apogee Interactive on Vimeo.

 Helping Utilities Turn Challenges into Opportunities

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta GA, September 13, 2018. The team at Apogee Interactive has identified several significant challenges facing utilities today. Apogee’s utility visionaries have combined their insight to the energy industry with client feedback to create new capabilities offered in their latest feature pack release set for September 25th.

Lead by Chief Software Architect, Joel Gilbert and Chief Technology Officer, Jim Albert, Apogee’s development team has focused on ways of effectively communicating the complicated topic of solar, net metering, new rate structures, and the impact of electric vehicles. Apogee is helping utilities move from energy efficiency and demand response towards customer engagement, operational efficiencies, and beneficial electrification.

For many years, outside of their whole-house cost and savings analyzer, Apogee has offered specialized tools for helping customers understand the cost impacts of solar, EVs, and various alternative electric rates.  But customers usually pay one bill and don’t think of these as separate issues.  This release wraps them all together and lets customers model whatever scenarios they are considering.

Gilbert explained, “Our solar module predicts the actual solar generation and add that back into the net metered results when analyzing the customers energy use.” Adding, “Whether they are looking at roof-top or community solar programs, customers can use our new release to get a realistic and un-biased estimate of solar production and cost impacts for their homes.”

Apogee has provided analysis for electric vehicles for many years, but this release is designed to help utilities promote electric vehicle adoption by showing realistic side-by-side savings predictions. The module will be included in the overall home energy analysis.

The big Feature Pack reveal is being presented in a series of webinars scheduled for September 25th and 27thWatch this short video with Jim Albert, to learn more.

About Apogee Interactive:

Apogee Interactive is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. Serving the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform is used by hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company, Consolidated Edison, Lakeland Electric, and Jackson EMC. For more information visit www.apogee.net  or on LinkedIn.

 Media Contact: Karen Morris, 678-684-6801 or kmorris@apogee.net

 

 

  

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  customer engagement  Electri  Energy Efficiency Experts of Tomorrow  solar 

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Apogee Announces Enhancements to Engagement Platform

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Apogee Addresses Utility Clients’ Needs in New Feature Pack

Atlanta, GA September 5, 2018, Apogee Interactive’s Chief Technology Officer, Jim Albert, announced today that his team is releasing new, cutting-edge features that enhance and expand Apogee’s current software offerings. This feature pack release will be available to existing and new clients on September 25, 2018.  New features help utilities address today’s most challenging topics, including communicating solar options, net metering, electric vehicles, new rate structures, and adding more personalized videos to the outbound messaging platform.

Mr. Albert explained, “Apogee knows the energy industry.  We listen intently to our clients’ needs.” He added, “Issues around community solar, electric vehicles, and communicating new rates have been top of mind this year, and the success of Personal Video Messaging has led to an explosive expansion of our video library.”

Apogee will share details of the of the 2018 feature pack in a series of webinars on September 25th and 27th.  

About Apogee Interactive:

Apogee Interactive is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. Serving the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s comprehensive digital engagement platform is used by hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company, Lakeland Electric, and Jackson EMC. For more information visit www.apogee.net  or on LinkedIn.

 

 Media Contact: Karen Morris, 678-684-6801 or kmorris@apogee.net

Tags:  Apogee Interactive  Customer Engagement  Customer Engagement Energy Efficiency  Electric Vehicles  Residential Programs  Solar 

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Blue Line Innovations announces the EnergyCloud skill for Amazon Alexa.

Posted By Steve Dodds, Friday, August 31, 2018

August 13th, 2018, Ottawa, Canada – Blue Line Innovations, a leader in innovative home energy management is pleased to announce the release of the EnergyCloud skill for Amazon Alexa.

Alexa is a cloud-based voice service from Amazon. Alexa is the brain behind Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices. Using Alexa is as simple as asking a question—just ask, and Alexa will respond instantly.

Making Energy Monitoring Easier – Using the EnergyCloud skill for Amazon Alexa enables users to easily and conveniently access their real-time electricity consumption status with simple phrases like “Alexa ask EnergyCloud how much electricity I’m using”.  Combined with the simple and cost-effective Do-It-Yourself EnergyCloud hardware, consumers can now get convenient, real-time access to their electricity usage information rather than wait for their electricity bill to arrive.

According to Blue Line’s President & CTO, Gerry O’Brien ….. “Our goal is to make energy monitoring as easy and convenient as possible and the key is to provide users with interfaces that are natural and that provide the important information they need quickly.  Our EnergyCloud skill for Amazon Alexa does just that.  Now, in just seconds, EnergyCloud users can keep informed about their electricity consumption and how much it is costing them.”

Alexa users can find the EnergyCloud skill in the Skills section of the Alexa app.

 

About Blue Line Innovations;

Founded in 2004, Blue Line is a leader in innovative home energy management providing the best user engagement driven by real-time energy consumption information. With over 350,000 home installations across 100+ Utilities in North America, Blue Line is an established and proven provider of industry leading technology for home energy management.

 

Contact:

Steve Dodds 

VP, Sales and Business Development  sdodds@bluelineinnovations.com

Mobile: (613) 583-4679

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Tags:  Energy Efficiency  Energy Management 

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Blue Line Innovations unveils the next generation of EnergyCloud.

Posted By Steve Dodds, Friday, August 31, 2018

 August 8th, 2018, Ottawa, Canada – Blue Line Innovations, a leader in innovative home energy management, has unveiled its innovative next generation EnergyCloud platform for the residential and light commercial markets. The patented solution provides anywhere, anytime, relevant, real time energy consumption information and provides whole home and appliance level reporting. The meter agnostic, universal, solution provides ultimate flexibility working on mechanical, digital and smart meters.

Easy to Install, Low Cost Solution - Unlike other products in the industry, Blue Line’s EnergyCloud solution is truly an easy, Do-It-Yourself installation and does not require an electrician. This cuts the total cost of ownership to less than half of other competitor’s products and provides a much faster return on investment (ROI).

Flexibility and Simplicity – The EnergyCloud Meter Sensor is meter agnostic and autosenses meter types while providing very granular data (15-second) and enables advanced applications such as non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM). There is no wiring required into the home’s electrical panel and the guided DIY installation is enabled by continuous health/status reporting. 

Web, Mobile, Voice Enabled and Secure – EnergyCloud provides a flexible user interface including “Just Ask Amazon Alexa” certification and secure, standards-based, API’s allowing integration with 3rd party services while providing over-the-air product updates designed for future proofing. 

Blue Line’s President and CTO, Gerry O’Brien comments……”Our number one objective is to provide users with the real time information they need to make informed energy usage decisions to help them save money.  Increasing the level and quality of user engagement makes this possible. We believe that making this information accessible in a manner that is convenient for the user is key to overall adoption and ultimately, success.”

 

About Blue Line Innovations;

Founded in 2004, Blue Line is a leader in innovative home energy management providing the best user engagement driven by real-time energy consumption information. With over 350,000 home installations across 100+ Utilities in North America, Blue Line is an established and proven provider of industry leading technology for home energy management.

 

Blue Line’s next generation of EnergyCloud is now available for immediate shipment. 

For more information, please visit www.bluelineinnovations.com.

 

Contact:

Steve Dodds 

VP, Sales and Business Development  sdodds@bluelineinnovations.com

Mobile: (613) 583-4679

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Tags:  Energy Efficiency  Energy Management 

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Email Marketing: Move Beyond Segmentation to Insight Driven Personalization

Posted By Karen Morris, Thursday, August 23, 2018

 

Good marketers know the importance of delivering the personalized experience customer expect. Personalized email campaigns begin with segmentation but in our data rich digital world we can now move one step further to one on one marketing also known as the segment of one.

Now having access to more customer data utilities can easily create personal, and relevant email campaigns. How relevant and personal can you get? Here are a few ways, threshold bill alerts, video bill explanations only sent to households with higher bills, demand response notifications, weather notifications, and more all including useful relevant tips.

The beauty of email marketing lies in the fact that they open the doors to a wide array of customer data begging to be analyzed, categorized, optimized. Thanks to these tools, we have access to detailed insights about our audience and can carefully tailor messages to drive open rates and customer engagement!

Audience Demographics

Without much effort, you can easily start segmenting based on location, home profile, income, age, and energy use patterns. In addition, gathering home profile data through your preference center or your online Energy Advisor ensures that your messages are even more exact. For instance, sending HVAC upgrade tips to someone in a multifamily home is not helpful. Someone eligible for your low-income program would rather see low-cost or no-cost tips. Having granular knowledge of your service territory allows you to deliver messages that customers appreciate. It all goes back to fostering a trusting relationship.

Do you know, that young families are more conscious of how much they’re spending on their utility bill? Or you might gather, through household income demographics, that higher-income customers are more engaged in pricing programs, like San Diego Gas & Electric discovered. These are the kinds of insights that will allow you to start building trust with your audience that goes beyond efficient billing.

Email Engagement

Measure the success of your email campaigns by analyzing open rates, unsubscribes, and click through rates to determine how much your audience is interested and willing to engage with your brand.

Looking at email analytics is also an effective way to see which kind of content your audience wants to see. Apogee finds that our utility clients sending emails with video bills not only receive click through rates that are more than 3 times their average baseline but are sustained proving continued customer engagement.

Energy Use Data

Apogee has used customer energy use data to identify customers that have recently experienced a bill hike, we then send this group personalized energy tips and bill explanations messages on how to avoid it happening again. We are seeing as much as 98% of customers wanting to see more of these personalized messages and an increase in utility brand perception.

Are you moving towards the segment of one?

It’s important here to remember that if you’re new to segmentation, always start simple. Apogee can help move you closer to the segment of one.

Have you already started segmenting your audience? What’s worked for you? Let us know!

 

About the Author: Ann Fracas, VP of Business Development

Prior to joining Apogee Interactive, Ann was an enterprise sales executive in the technology and consulting industries. Her career started at Georgia Power in IT and then moved to sales at Adobe, Foxit, and DayNine Consulting Services.

Ann focuses on a consultative ‘customer first’ approach driven by business needs, and value. She is a Georgia Tech graduate, having received her Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management with a concentration in Information Systems. She has a passion for developing strong long-term business relationships, and finding the right solutions to maximize a client’s investment.

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Tags:  Apogee  email  marketing 

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Congrats to New Officers of California Chapter

Posted By Meg Matt, Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Apogee Shares Wonders of Personalized Video Messaging

Posted By Karen Morris, Monday, June 18, 2018

Municipals Embrace New Digital Engagement Methods

 

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA – Jun. 19, 2018, Today at the American Public Power Association (APPA) National Conference in New Orleans attended by more than 1200 municipal utility professionals, Apogee Interactive, Inc. shared the results of four years’ experience sending millions of personalized video messages to utility customers.  Apogee is the newest addition to the Hometown Connections Partnership, and was invited to share what they do for hundreds of US utilities.  The firm was honored at a Hometown Connections Partnership appreciation breakfast on Tuesday morning.

According to Susan Gilbert, the firm’s CEO and co-founder, “Use of this type of messaging is exploding as utilities are finding customers love receiving them. Feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  One general manager of a North Carolina utility shared with us a voice mail recording from a customer raving about receiving one, saying, ‘We’re used to getting customer high bill complaints, but this is a first getting a high bill compliment!’”  The caller was referring to the video bill explanation she had received and wanted to express her gratitude for having it explained that the higher bill was due to it being 10 degrees colder and there being additional days in the billing period. 

According to Apogee’s experience and studies, other proven benefits of personalized video messaging include:

  • 15x higher email click through rates than industry standards
  • Proven reduced calls to the contact center
  • 58% improved perception of their utility
  • Double digit improvement in customer satisfaction
  • Increased program participation
  • Improved program targeting

Gilbert added, “Customers often don’t know they are served by their city and don’t know the advantages that offers them.”  That observation led to Apogee producing a Welcome Series of personalized videos.  “Upon establishing new service, customers receive a personalized video letting them know the benefits of being served by the city and that additional videos will be coming to help them understand their bills and available programs,” she continued.  Subsequent videos are triggered when billing or usage data signals there maybe a problem or an opportunity to participate in a program matching their usage profile.

The cost-effectiveness of this new communication method is a major factor in its success.  Apogee developed a technique for delivering personalized messages at costs a fraction of alternative messaging methods.

 

About Apogee Interactive:

Apogee Interactive is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. Serving the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform is used by hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company, Lakeland Electric, and Jackson EMC. For more information visit www.apogee.net  or on LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Karen Morris, info@apogee.net or 678-684-6801

Tags:  #PublicPower  Apogee Interactive  customer engagement  Energy Efficiency  Residential Programs 

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Nexant successfully completes USAID Technical Assistance Program in India

Posted By Katy McSurdy, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nexant successfully completes USAID Technical Assistance Program in India

Creates strong ecosystem for clean energy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 5, 2018— Nexant, a global provider of technology enabled solutions to the Utility and Energy industries, announced today that it has successfully completed the six-year bilateral Partnership to Advance Clean Energy – Deployment Technical Assistance (PACE-D TA) Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of State.

The PACE-D TA Program focused on deploying and scaling up energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner fossil technologies through enabling policy and regulatory frameworks, institutional strengthening, pilot projects, business models, and capacity building of key stakeholders.

“We’re thrilled to be making a difference, bringing clean energy to India, and other countries around the world. Nexant’s Government Services group is dedicated to helping developing countries with access to affordable electricity and establishing the building blocks to a sustainable future,” said John Gustafson, CEO of Nexant.

The PACE-D TA Program facilitated nearly 585 MW of renewable energy and leveraged nearly $780 million USD of investment for clean energy in India. The interventions such as interconnection frameworks and standardized bid documents have put in place simple and transparent processes that can be leveraged by stakeholders beyond the Program’s duration.

“The PACE-D TA Program was initially for five years but the work done under the Program was highly valued by India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Consequently, the Program was extended by one year to assist eight new states to scale up solar rooftops,” said Matthew Mendis, Senior Vice President, Government Services, Nexant.

One key outcome of the Program was standardized curriculum and training through a network of partner institutions. The Nexant team organized over 200 training workshops to build the capacity of key stakeholders on microfinance, smart grid, and solar rooftop. A skilled workforce will help India design, implement, and monitor its clean energy programs efficiently.

“Proof of concept is critical for emerging technologies. The Nexant team supported nearly 20 pilot projects demonstrate the technical and financial viability of clean energy technologies such as smart grid, solar rooftop, solar irrigation, net zero energy buildings and microfinance,” said Matthew Mendis, Senior Vice President, Government Services, Nexant.

Senior USAID and Government of India officials celebrated the achievements of the PACE-D TA Program at a special event in New Delhi on May 17, 2018.

With the closure of the PACE-D TA Program, Nexant has successfully completed its fifth USAID program in the Indian sub-continent, which included South Asia Regional Initiative (SARI) I and II from 2000-2005. We focused on energy development and encouraging the cooperation and trade in energy resources among countries in South Asia.

### Nexant provides technology enabled solutions to the Utility and Energy Industry focused on the next generation intelligent grid, distributed energy resources, and the digital customer experience. Operating from 20 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, the company's team of industry professionals has completed more than 5,000 engagements in over 70 countries. Its clients include major utilities, transmission and distribution system operators, chemical and petroleum majors, financial institutions, and Fortune 500 companies.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Josh Johnson at 801.904.9678 or jjohnson@nexant.com.

 

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Tags:  building codes  Clean Energy  DSM  Energy Efficiency  Nexant  renewable 

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Enhance the Experience Improve the Brand

Posted By Karen Morris, Monday, June 4, 2018

Xcel Energy is enhancing their customers’ experience and improving their brand perception all while reducing calls to the call center. It all started with their interest in the impacts of Personalized Video Messaging.  How would receiving a personalized, relevant, timely, and useful message affect a customer’s perception of the utility?  Impact the call center?  Influence digital customer engagement? Drive program participation?

How’d They Do That?

During a recent pilot, Apogee analyzed 500,000 Xcel customer’s billing histories to find the best candidates for various programs. By analyzing billing histories, Apogee identified customers most

suitable for HVAC retrofit programs and behavioral targets for refrigerator programs or programmable thermostats, enabling the messaging to be relevant to each customer.

The pilot was designed to test personalized outbound video messaging, specifically looking at customer’s perception of the utility, impact on click-through rates, ongoing digital engagement, program participation, and impacts to the call center. Treatment and control groups were established to measure how customers responded to the messaging.

Over the 4-month pilot, 120,000 emails were sent to test the reaction to several types of video messaging.

  1. Pre-heating season video,
  2. Personal video bill explanation,
  3. Personalized annual summary report video, and
  4. Email message with an online energy audit offer.

Results are In!

The pilot revealed that 89% of Xcel customers thought the videos were very or somewhat useful with 92% giving encouraging feedback. The video bill explanation went only to customers whose bills had increased by more than $20, and each quantified and explained the factors causing the bill to be higher (weather, days of service, rate change, behavior). Of the recipients reporting, 58% reported improved perception of the utilities brand. The personalized email inviting customers to fill out a home profile to receive a free online energy audit allowed Xcel to collect more home profiles and this data is now available for Xcel to use to further customize messages for future campaigns.

Much to our surprise, throughout the pilot, click-through rates (CTRs) increased on each distribution from Xcel’s average CTR baseline of 3% to 5% for the first, to 14% for the second, to 16% on the third distribution, a 5x increase from baseline. In addition, compared to the control group, customers in the treatment group showed fewer contact center calls.

In conclusion, greater, ongoing customer digital-engagement was proven using this method and at costs of only pennies a message. Xcel’s pilot goes to scale for all jurisdictions beginning on summer 2018 where 9 million messages will be sent in 6 different events.

learn more at www.apogee.net

 

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  customer engagement digital  Customer Engagement Residential Programs  digital engagement  Energy Efficiency 

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Navigant Research Report Shows Global Spending on Customer Engagement Through Demand Side Management (DSM) is Expected to Reach $1.1 Billion by 2027

Posted By Brett Feldman, Thursday, May 31, 2018

Navigant Research Report Shows Global Spending on Customer Engagement Through Demand Side Management (DSM) is Expected to Reach $1.1 Billion by 2027

To enhance competitiveness and meet customer expectations of new technologies, utilities and retail suppliers should invest in customer-centric DSM products

A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for customer engagement through DSM (CEDSM), providing market forecasts for spending segmented by region, through 2027.

As customer expectations grow for new technologies, so does the market for CEDSM products, making it easier for utilities and retail suppliers to engage with them. However, uncertainty in the long-term cost-effectiveness of these solutions remains a barrier to global adoption, in addition to region-specific competitiveness of a deregulated energy supply market. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, global spending on CEDSM is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2027.

“Because of the changes in consumer expectations, utilities and retail suppliers are seeking DSM software solutions that can lower the cost-to-serve and improve customer satisfaction and engagement,” says Brett Feldman, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.

According to Navigant, to enhance CEDSM competitiveness and customer acceptance, utilities and service providers should focus on combining budgets and revenue streams to cover costs, transition to newer business models while complementing existing DSM programs rather than replacing them, and offering accurate building energy use models to build customer trust.

This report, Utility Customer Engagement through DSM, examines the global CEDSM market, with a focus on market drivers and barriers, case studies, and forecasts for residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) CEDSM spending. The study examines the trends related to CEDSM to highlight regional activities and approaches to behavioral DSM and utility marketplaces. Global market forecasts for spending, broken out by segment and region, extend through 2027. The report also profiles key CEDSM solutions providers and provides recommendations for utilities, retail suppliers, and vendors that aim to enhance CEDSM effectiveness.

Contact: Stefanie Bradtner
+49.221.270.70.142
stefanie.bradtner@navigant.com

* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, Utility Customer Engagement through DSM, is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.

Tags:  Behavioral  customer engagement  customer engagement digital  Customer Engagement Energy Efficiency  Customer Engagement Residential Programs  Customer EngagementResidential Programs  customer satisfaction  digital engagement  DSM  Energy Efficiency  energy efficiency programs 

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