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NTC Celebrates 40 Years of Educational Theatre

Posted By Jenny Pfarr, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

This year, NTC (The National Theatre for Children) turns 40 years old, celebrating four decades of bringing educational in-school programs to K-12 schools throughout the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Established in 1978 by then-19-year-old University of Minnesota theatre student Ward Eames, NTC set out to both educate and entertain by using live in-school theatre to forward organizations’ reputations through community outreach campaigns.

 

Over the next 40 years, NTC continued to branch out, presenting on a growing library of subjects. The Minneapolis-based company has educated K-12 students on energy efficiency, electrical safety, natural gas and water conservation for major utilities such as Duke Energy, AEP (American Electric Power) and American Water; financial literacy for corporations like Bank of the West and Citibank as well as state organizations in Iowa and North Dakota; STEM learning through partnerships with Best Buy, LEGO and Arizona Public Service; and health and wellness, including bullying and smoking prevention programs for Dole and United Healthcare – to name just a few of NTC’s clients.

 

A lot has changed since the days of Jimmy Carter, Space Invaders and the first-ever mobile phone. NTC has kept up with the times, educating on important topics like climate change and cutting-edge STEM technologies. Highlights from NTC history include multiple Telly Awards and recognition from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and even performances at the White House.

 

By recognizing the power of creative educational methods to make a lasting impression on a wide variety of students – as well as parents and families who share in their newfound enthusiasm – NTC was ahead of its time, predating research about the value of an art-based multimedia approach to teaching. NTC’s ability to enhance the public reputation of major corporations also foreshadowed 21st-century business practices, which embrace the importance of corporate social responsibility as an essential part of any company’s marketing efforts.

 

Since its inception, NTC has performed for over 30 million students across the country, visiting thousands of schools each year. Today, the company gives thanks to its longtime partners, from corporations and nonprofits devoted to social engagement to the schools and educators that have welcomed its programs time and time again. NTC also looks forward to the next 40 years, where further innovations and exciting educational tools await. Whatever the future holds, NTC will embrace the opportunity to educate and entertain younger generations in new and ever-evolving ways.

 

For more information, explore NTC’s timeline.

 

About The National Theatre for Children

 

NTC is a premium provider of educational programming with operations in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. We work directly between schools and clients to promote beneficial behaviors and life skills to students in grades K-12 on a local, regional and national level.

 

Since 1978, we have formed connections and helped develop relationships between thousands of schools and corporations, nonprofits and governmental organizations. Our value is not just in the impact we create; our turnkey services also change the lives and trajectories of students, mobilize parents and entire families with beneficial messages, and cultivate community-wide goodwill for clients.

 

Our award-winning educational programs are provided free for schools and are customizable to accommodate specific messages and goals for clients. Through formats including live performance, in-class discussion, graphic novels, print curriculum, and digital games and activities, we present topics such as STEM, energy conservation, safety, financial literacy, water and environmental stewardship, and health and social responsibility in ways that engage and empower students. In doing so, we are helping our clients to be forces of change for students, parents and communities.

 

 

 

   

 

 


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Apogee Shares Xcel Energy’s Video Messaging Success

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Personalized Video Messaging in the Energy Industry

 

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA - May 23, 2010 Apogee Interactive’s CEO & Co-Founder, Susan Gilbert and co-presenter Suzanne McCloskey, Research Technology and Strategy Analyst, Consumers Energy, conducted a Video Messaging Master Class today at the Association of Energy Service Professionals (AESP) 2018 Spring Conference.  Susan highlighting recent pilots including one for Xcel Energy (XEL).

Apogee analyzed 500,000 XCEL customer billing histories to find the best candidates for various programs.  Treatment and control groups were established to measure how customers valued the messaging, and how the messaging affected customers’ perception of the utility. Results showed reduced calls to the call center and that 58% reported improved perception of their utility.

 “While many of our distributions achieve extraordinary click-through rates, some nearly 20 times the industry average, the biggest surprise was how customer interest increased as subsequent videos were sent,” said Susan Gilbert, Apogee CEO.  “Our second video received three times more viewers than the first, and the third was higher than the second,” she added.

“Up until now video messaging simply named the items on the bill and were considered cost-prohibitive at around a dollar per message.” Susan explained, “What is different now is the analysis explains impacts of weather, days of service, rate changes and behavior impacts, and most remarkably, all at pennies a message.”   

“What was viewed as too expensive, utilities are now embracing as the most affordable, high impact method of engaging customers,” she concluded.

During the Video Messaging Master Class attendees were given the what, how, and why of offering their customers personalized video messages. Ms. Gilbert explained the ease of secure billing data transfer, setting up treatment and control groups, creative content development, and the evaluation process.

According to WordStream 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. In addition, viewers retain 95% of a video message compared to 10% reading text. With their application of machine learning and predictive analytics, Apogee software architects predict this is only the beginning of data integration technology that will provide customers more meaningful engagement with their energy providers.

About Apogee Interactive:

Apogee Interactive is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. As a partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers digital proactive and personalized digital communication to 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 LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Karen Morris, info@apogee.net or 678-684-6800

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  Customer Engagement Residential Programs  Energy Analysis 

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Turning High Bill Complaints into High Bill Compliments

Posted By Karen Morris, Thursday, May 10, 2018
https://vimeo.com/261493758

Tri-County EMC Raises the Bar on Digital Engagement with Apogee’s Envoy Platform

Turning High Bill Complaints into High Bill Compliments

For Immediate Release

May 10, 2018 - Atlanta GA, - Today at National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (NRECA) Connect Conference in Salt Lake City, UT, Apogee Interactive’s Sr. Account Manager, Cindy Smallwood, and Tri-County EMC’s, Manager of Marketing and Member Services, Bob Kornegay, shared their case study highlighting the stunning success of Tri-County EMC’s outbound communications strategy using Apogee’s ENVOY digital engagement platform. NRECA’s annual Connect Conference draws more than 600 utility professionals from cooperatives across the US. The conference agenda focuses on best practices in marketing, communications, member services, and the latest energy innovations and technologies.

“I am not surprised Bob Kornegay is an early adopter of our personalized video bill solution. He is dedicated to raising the bar on member engagement and providing the best resources for his members,” said Cindy Smallwood, Apogee Interactive.

Mr. Kornegay began planning Tri-County EMC’s new engagement strategy in May of 2017. Today he is sending personalized video bill messages to his members with sustained open rates of 50% and click through rates of 25%. These numbers reflect a 10 times increase over energy industry standards.

Kornegay said, “When I receive a call from a member thanking me for sending a notice that their bill will be higher than normal, I know we are on the right track.” He added, “Cooperatives shouldn’t fear engaging with members through multiple communications channels, our members want to hear from us and when the message is relevant, proactive, and personal our member satisfaction rises.”

Listen to Tri-County EMC’s HIGH BILL COMPLIMENT!

Apogee’s outbound communications platform includes energy summary reports, personal video bill explanations, energy alerts, and emails. Apogee’s clients using these methods are achieving extraordinary results that include increased satisfaction scores and reduced calls to the call center across the board.

About Apogee Interactive:

Apogee Interactive is a woman-owned business and is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. As a partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers digital proactive and personalized digital communication to 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 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/99046/.

About Tri-County EMC:

Tri-County EMC is a non-profit rural electric utility cooperative. We were chartered on May 8th, 1940, by way of the Rural Electrification Act and have since been an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We provide safe, efficient electric energy to our members of Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Johnston, Jones, Sampson and Wilson counties. Tri-County EMC is a member-driven cooperative committed to providing reliable electric power at a reasonable cost, to offering superior service, and to taking an active role in supporting the communities it serves.

Contact: Karen Morris, Apogee Interactive, 678-684-6800 or info@apogee.net

 

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  corporate communications  customer engagement  Residential Programs 

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EMI CONSULTING NAMES WIL MARQUARDT DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND OPERATIONS

Posted By Lisa Perry, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Seattle, WA (April 17, 2018) – EMI Consulting is pleased to announce the appointment of Wil Marquardt as Director of Finance and Operations. He will be responsible for driving financial strategy, planning, and processes, as well as business operations as an integral part of the company’s growth strategy.

 

Prior to joining EMI Consulting, Wil held senior consulting positions at SumBridge, Strong-Bridge, and Two Degrees consulting firms, and he’s worked with companies as varied as Starbucks and T-Mobile. While the common thread in these engagements was primarily finance and operational management, Wil has also applied his skillset to the leadership of customer experience and technology initiatives. He also held tenure as Vice President at Washington Mutual, where he was charged with several business-imperative directives, including operational excellence and long-term forecasting.

 

“Wil’s deep and varied background creates the perfect blend of financial acumen and operational experience needed to help grow and sustain our firm,” explained EMI Consulting President Julie Rey. “His experience as a consultant also brings an understanding of the unique pressures of the space, which I believe is vital for this role.”  

 

Julie added, “Wil is also an approachable and well-respected person, who has a passion for the environment, which aligns well with our desire to cultivate a Utility of Future initiative.”

 

In fact, Wil chose the University of Washington for his MBA specifically for their concentration in environmental management. He explained, "I chose my MBA concentration because environmental sustainability is important to me, and I genuinely believed my career would eventually intersect.”

 

“EMI Consulting is in a really strong position – there is significant change stirring in the industry, great business opportunities, and this very committed and talented group of people I get to work alongside will help to realize the goals of a sustainable, clean energy future for utilities and their customers,” said Wil. “I am thrilled to use my background and experience to help drive important growth goals and set the company on course for long-term financial success.”

 

ABOUT EMI CONSULTING

EMI Consulting advises electric and gas utilities nationwide on business strategies related to new market opportunities, distributed and renewable energy, energy efficiency, and customer engagement. Founded in 1995, the company is recognized for industry leadership in three key areas: strategy and evaluation, data analytics and modeling, and customer experience research. Headquartered in Seattle, the company also employs staff in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Portland, and Los Angeles. More information is available at www.emiconsulting.com.  

 

Contact:

Wil Marquardt

(206) 621-1160

wmarquardt@emiconsulting.com

 

###

Tags:  Consultant  Consulting  Director  Energy Efficiency  Finance  New Hire 

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New energyOrbit Marketplace Platform Streamlines Energy Efficiency and Customer Engagement for Utility Commercial & Industrial Customers

Posted By Jason Fox, Monday, April 9, 2018

The platform serves as a centralized location for utility customers and service providers to more easily browse, and compare rebate and energy efficiency products and programs


San Francisco, CA, April 4, 2017 - Understanding the necessity of a streamlined online shopping experience for energy efficiency (EE) and rebate customers, demand-side management (DSM) software energyOrbit has launched the energyOrbit Marketplace portal for selecting and applying for products and incentives in one centralized platform. The energyOrbit Marketplace which is housed and powered on the Salesforce platform combines and simplifies the application process for all EE/DSM offers from utilities and program administrators into one single platform, making it accessible to any customer and service providers in any state. This removes a variety of barriers to customer participation, including taking the application process from paper to an online application portal and database backend, aiming to increase in EE/DSM program participation and program administrator productivity, namely, achieve energy savings goals at a lower cost per unit of energy saved.


“Our marketplace product is unique in the C&I space for those tasked with the often arduous job of applying for energy efficiency rebates and incentives,” said Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit. “By giving the public a shopping-like experience, DSM programs can maximize customer applications, thereby, helping utilities to fully utilize DSM budgets before the end of a program  cycle and helping utilities and states as a whole to reach energy efficiency targets faster with less overhead. The energyOrbit Marketplace was created to combat the issue of both ‘form fatigue’ and the sporadic and disjointed nature of current application programs.”


Additionally, the energyOrbit Marketplace enhances customer engagement opportunities through enhanced collaboration in the EE eco-system. Current methods often fail to offer  familiar e-commerce interfaces where customers can get conveniently participate in the EE economy and reap benefits. Presently, the burden is on customers to find out which programs they are eligible for resulting in a sluggish and inefficient process.


“Despite more states pushing for more energy efficiency agendas, inadequate participation levels leave allocated budgets unused, and customers continuing to use energy inefficiently. Coupled with paper-based applications and manually entered spreadsheets to track an EE/DSM program’s progress, and utilities are left with execution that is both costly and time consuming for everyone involved,” continued Merhav. “What customers want is the familiar ‘Amazon-style” shopping cart experience they get everywhere else on the web. They are accustomed to these intuitive and helpful interfaces in a variety of other industries, and the utility industry owes it to their customers to provide that same level of customer experience in the EE/DSM space. We are pleased to offer this solution which offers a brand new layer of visibility and functionality to the DSM space that’s never been seen before.”


Through the energyOrbit marketplace, any customer can search for any eligible programs and energy efficiency products, whether their project is new construction or a retrofit. They can also search for two fuel types at once, such as electricity and gas, without starting a new search or having to double enter their information. Customers also have the option to shop and view what is in their shopping cart without having to log in; this gives them the option to see what incentive programs they would like to apply for before they decide to register. Other key features include user-friendly search and browse functionality, listing all measures in a solitary list, a real-time tracker that showcases the number of measures and incentives collected and robust analytical features for convenient data mining.


“It only makes sense that utilities come together to enhance customer engagement through collaborative digital solutions in manners customers are already accustomed to,” continued Merhav. “Comprehensive online shopping portals for EE/DSM programs is an excellent place to start, where significant amounts of time can be saved for all parties involved. It behooves utilities to look at each other as partners instead of competitors and adopted collaborative marketplaces for their customers and service providers in the pursuit of operations efficiencies toward achieving a cleaner economy. Look no further to New England to see that collaboration between utilities and program administrators to better serve their customers is already taking place.”




About energyOrbit


Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, California, energyOrbit is the market leading solution for cloud energy efficiency and Demand-Side Management operations. energyOrbit is deployed with leading utilities and third-party implementers across North America, enabling customers to realize an average of 75 percent improved efficiency and operational savings in their DSM operations. energyOrbit empowers utilities to deploy DSM programs in hours, scale programs and portfolios efficiently, and to streamline utility customer relationships, partners, and internal communications seamlessly.


As of 2016, energyOrbit has helped utilities and third-party implementers collectively manage more than 13.245 TWh of electricity savings. Additionally, 5,617 MW of peak demand has been reduced by efficiency measures tracked by energyOrbit. More than $1.6 billion in incentive dollars managed and prepared for payment. For more information on energyOrbit, please visit www.energyorbit.com and follow up on Twitter (@energyOrbit) and on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/energyorbit-formerly-crmorbit-/).


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Big Data is no Substitute for Good Data

Posted By Karen Morris, Tuesday, April 3, 2018

 

It seems like everyone has now included the buzzwords of artificial intelligence, machine learning, business analytics, and energy insights … but they still have no idea what good data really looks like.

They run around bragging about what they think they can do with smart grid data using fancy talk about Hadoop and other big data engines.  But, as my professors always told me about energy modeling: garbage in – garbage out.

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Tags:  big data smart grid energy analysis apogee interac 

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Apogee Endorses ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities

Posted By Karen Morris, Monday, April 2, 2018

Apogee Endorses ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities

Empowering the Advancement of Women in Energy

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA - April 3, 2018, Apogee Interactive announced today their endorsement of ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities.  The event, organized by Conferences Connect and hosted at Southern Company Gas in Atlanta on April 16th and 17th, will include presentations by women in leadership positions from utilities like Georgia Power, Exelon, Eversource, NiSource, and many more. Apogee Interactive’s Ann Fracas, Director of Sales, will moderate and summarize the key issues of the program.

Susan Gilbert, CEO and Co-Founder of Apogee Interactive, a woman owned business that has served utilities exclusively for more than 25 years remembers, “When I began my career, women in the energy industry were rare. Women didn’t have the mentors, role models, coaches, or networks that were available to their male counterparts.” She continued, “So many strong women persevered and made a difference. This meeting is a chance for those pioneers to give back and encourage the women following them.”

Ashley Baptiste, CEO, Conferences Connect, the event producer explained, “When the topic of ‘Women in Utilities’ was raised, I thought ‘Is this really still an issue?’ After some quick research on current statistics, we realize that yes – this is an issue, and we need to bring utilities together to learn from each other.” Ashley continued, “This conference has a dual mission: 1) to help utilities learn how to attract, retain, mentor and advance women in their organizations and 2) to help utility professionals gain the skills and networking to advance their careers.”

Southern Company Gas, the conference host, has offered their meeting facility in Atlanta.  In addition, Laura Creekmur, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Southern Company Gas will be featured on the agenda.  

To learn more about this inspiring event empowering the advancement of women in the energy industry visit www.utilityevents.com.

About Apogee:

Apogee Interactive is a woman-owned business and is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. As a partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers digital proactive and personalized digital communication to hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company (NYSE: SO), ConEd (NYSE: ED), PSEG (NYSE: PEG), and Tucson Electric Power (NYSE: TEP). For more information visit www.apogee.net or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/99046/.

About Conferences Connect:

Conferences Connect is a full-service conference firm specializing in creating events that foster engagement. This woman-owned business targets domestic and international clients and develops events specifically for the energy industry. Content seekers meet content providers. Solution providers meet solution seekers. Learn more at www.utilityevents.com.

Through content focused events, attendees are encouraged to establish a network with each other – to connect – and establish lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

 

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

 

Tags:  Apogee Interactive Women in Energy 

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Apogee's Energy News

Posted By Karen Morris, Friday, March 23, 2018
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Franklin Energy Acquires PlanetEcosystems

Posted By Jamie Delk, Monday, March 19, 2018

Franklin Energy Acquires PlanetEcosystems

Acquisition to extend Franklin Energy’s customer engagement capabilities.

Franklin Energy, a leading national demand side management implementation firm, announced today that it has acquired San Francisco-based PlanetEcosystems, developer of an award-winning customer engagement platform.

“We are continuously looking for ways to innovate and opportunities to improve our utility-client service offerings,” said Paul Schueller, Franklin Energy’s founder and CEO. “In this rapidly changing and advancing industry, this acquisition allows us to look to the future. It will provide our utility client’s customers with a better experience, whether that’s through a personalized customer journey, account portals that dynamically adjust to behavior, or expanded marketplace features in our online stores.”

This acquisition allows the team to provide more value to utility clients by seamlessly connecting energy efficiency, demand response and other distributed energy resources programs through automated participation paths tailored to customers’ needs and desires. The result is portfolio-level programs implemented in a more customer-centric and engaging way.

“The joining of these companies allows for our clients to dramatically expand their service offerings to their customers – from marketplaces to home control and other automated wants and needs,” said Rory Jones, co-founder and president of PlanetEcosystems. “These offerings are particularly important as the utility of the future comes into focus, and our new SaaS offerings provide an easy, low cost and rapidly-deployed solution set.”

“Our expertise is in customer engagement and technology, while Franklin Energy is the expert in utility program implementation,” said Steve Malloy, co-founder and senior vice president of PlanetEcosystems. “Together we will simplify the experience for utility customers by leveraging technology to streamline and integrate program delivery. Together we can deliver a comprehensive, seamless customer journey that is easy for customers to participate in and promotes deeper program participation.”

About Franklin Energy 
With over two decades of both energy efficiency and demand response experience, Franklin Energy designs and implements grid optimization programs for utility, state and municipality clients nationwide and into Canada. The firm’s expertise pinpoints goal-focused solutions for its clients and their customers across residential, multifamily, small business and commercial/industrial markets. As home of Efficiency@Work, Franklin Energy integrates all customer interaction including online application processing and in-field data collection through its technology suite. Franklin Energy provides education based programs and kits under our Resource Action Programs brand.

Tags:  customer engagement  digital  energy efficiency  Franklin Energy  Franklin Energy Services  Franklin Energy Services LLC  planet ecosystems  planetecosystems  utilityenergy 

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Why Personalization Matters white paper

Posted By Ryan Gooch, Friday, March 9, 2018

 

The world is a really noisy place. It can be incredibly challenging to deliver messaging to your customers that gets their attention and gets results. Your best chance is to personalize your communication and engage customers at the individual level at every touch point. The right approach to personalization is good for both you AND your customer, helping you become a trusted purveyor of useful, relevant content. While email is one of the most impactful and cost-effective channels for personalizing your messaging to customers, the same level of personalization can be applied across all channels and initiatives. This is great news, because now more than ever, utilities need to connect with customers on a more meaningful level. Personalization is a strategic imperative.

 

Ryan Gooch, Director of Customer Success
Fivework
ryan@fiveworx.com

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  customer engagement  customer engagement digital  customer satisfaction  digital engagement  fiveworx  personalization  white paper 

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