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Oklahoma Electric Cooperative Strengthens Member Relationships With Apogee’s Bill Alerts

Posted By Karen Morris, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA  Today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative’s Manager of Marketing and Member Services, Autumn McMahon, and Apogee Interactive’s Account Manager, Stephanie Knight, presented OEC’s case study at Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperative’s Public Relations / Member Relations fall conference. This year’s conference focuses on how utilities can use big data to better inform and engage members.

Since the onset of mandatory TOU rates in 2013 and impending rate increases, Oklahoma Electric Cooperative realized it was crucial to help members better understand their bills. Ms. McMahon was instrumental in launching OEC’s member education campaign, knowing members needed relevant and proactive communications.

McMahon shared her strategy for building strong member relationships, reducing the need to make bill inquiry calls, and educating OEC members on ways to save energy. The pilot program she launched this year included mid-cycle bill alerts letting customers know in advance what their bills were forecasted to be while there is still time to influence them.  It also included links to a home energy audit that lets members profile their home and receive tips on saving money.  Beginning in January of 2018 with a soft launch sending 1,400 mid-cycle email alerts, the program has grown to more than 153,000 bill alerts containing links to the online audit the energy audit calculator and other energy education resources.

Results were remarkable!  Recipients reported these statistics:

  • 92% want to continue to receive the email alerts.
  • 94% rated alerts very or somewhat useful.
  • Email open rates were well above expected, averaging 42%.

“These messages are thoughtfully helpful during peak periods of usage & can help us prepare (plan to save ahead) for high peak periods if necessary! THANK YOU for considering our situations & ideas. It will help ALL of us!” OEC Member

“I love getting this information. Please don't stop.” OEC Member

During the program, the online energy audit was used to make 11,470 calculations increasing the number of home profiles. OEC is using the data collected in the home profile combined with AMI data to further personalize and target members for programs and rebate offers.

According to McMahon, “The best part of this program is my team doesn’t do the leg work.  We have a 30-minute call once a month with the Apogee team.” Putting the member in control of their energy use and taking away the surprise of a higher than normal bill is building stronger relationships with members and starting meaningful conversations.

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 proactive and personalized 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 OEC:

Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 44,000 members and 55,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles and 5,500 miles of line.

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  communicating rates  customer engagement  TOU 

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Nexant Sets Industry Milestone for Rebate Processing and Customer Service

Posted By Katy McSurdy, Friday, October 19, 2018

99% of rebate applications processed in less than one week, industry-leading 5-second average speed of answer

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, October 18, 2018—Nexant’s Rebate Processing and Customer Care Center set an industry milestone in 2018 by processing and fulfilling 99% of utility program rebate applications in less than one week, dramatically reducing the industry standard processing time of 6-8 weeks. Nexant is working closely with multiple utility clients to achieve same-day application processing for post-purchase customer programs including residential, low income, upstream, business, small business, retro-commissioning, and new construction.

Nexant’s Rebate Processing and Customer Care Center in Salt Lake City has developed smart processes using Nexant’s iEnergy software platform to enable efficient onboarding for new utility programs; rapid deployment of processing, call center, and check issuance services; and an environment of continuous improvement. As a result, Nexant is now providing an unprecedented level of service for 26 utility partners, and 77 customer facing programs.

“We recently began work with three new utility customers based on our industry-leading proficiency and the expertise of our Salt Lake City team,” said Brad Pierce, Vice President of Utility Services. Nexant has significantly increased staff for call center and customer care services to support new utility clients, and expects total growth to be over 40% by the end of the year.

“We are very excited to offer industry-leading performance in rebate management, application processing, and call center services to utility clients. Enhancing and strengthening engagement with customers on behalf of utilities is a strategic, long-term focus for Nexant. Utilities that employ our software platforms and the Rebate Processing and Customer Care Center in Salt Lake City benefit from rapid rebate payment timelines, nearly instantaneous access to live representatives, and improved customer satisfaction,” said John Gustafson, CEO of Nexant.

Nexant’s iEnergy software platform, rebate management, and customer care services range from concierge-level customer service to energy program outreach, feedback surveys, and application processing and assistance. Nexant maintains call services in excess of industry standards and provides a 5-second average speed of answer and less than 2% abandon rate across all customer service queues.

About Nexant

Nexant is a premier provider of 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 25 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. Nexant’s customers include over 120+ utilities, energy organizations, and transmission and distribution system operators. We work with 50+ iEnergy software customers and 300+ chemical and petroleum majors, financial institutions, and Fortune 500 companies. If you would like more information about this topic, please call Clair Sweeney at 801.639.5601 or email at csweeney@nexant.com. www.nexant.com

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Tags:  call center  customer experience  Energy Efficiency  press release 

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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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