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Hometown Connections Teams with Apogee Interactive To Promote Customer Engagement on the Web

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Hometown Connections Teams with Apogee Interactive

To Promote Customer Engagement on the Web

Personalized, Outbound Energy Messaging for Public Power Residential Customers

Delivers Higher Satisfaction and Measurable Results



LAKEWOOD, CO and ATLANTA, GA – July 27, 2017 – Hometown Connections, the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association, and  Apogee Interactive announced a partnership to provide online customer engagement and energy analysis tools to public power electric, gas, and water utilities. Apogee is the country’s leading provider of personalized, outbound messaging and analysis for residential customers.  Currently offering services to more than 600 utilities here and abroad, Apogee has an extraordinary 24-year track record of innovation, service, and customer loyalty.

Through Hometown Connections, American Public Power Association members gain access to products/services from industry leading vendors vetted and endorsed for public power, as well as consulting support in the areas of organization assessment, strategic planning, market research, and workforce solutions.

“Hometown Connections has long admired Apogee’s ability to transform utility data into attractive, online, easy-to-understand, personalized messaging for residential customers,” said Bill Smart, Senior Vice President, Business Development. “Apogee is a one-stop, best-in-class shop for an impressive array of customizable and measurable customer communications web-based platforms, including video messaging, interactive voice & text response, energy-use alerts, calculators & reports, and home energy audits. Through this new partnership, Apogee and Hometown Connections will help individual utilities, state associations, and joint action agencies offer public power customers personalized and relevant energy information to build trust while increasing satisfaction and engagement.”

“Apogee’s mission is delivering cutting-edge innovation to our utility clients, helping them cost-effectively engage and educate their customers,” said Susan Gilbert, Apogee CEO & Co-Founder.  “Educated customers make better energy decisions, which saves them money while positioning the utility as a trusted, credible information source,” she added. “We pride ourselves on exceptional customer loyalty and analytical excellence.”  Apogee’s analysis engine is RESNET accredited as the industry’s most accurate, capable of producing a HERS home rating.  “We are proud to be included as a Hometown Connections partner and look forward to expanding our services to more of the municipal marketplace.”

About Hometown Connections International, LLC

Hometown Connections is the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association, offering public power utilities guidance and access to quality products/services from a trusted entity with public power’s best interests in mind. Hometown Connections personnel provide consulting support in the areas of organization assessment, strategic planning, governance development, market research, and staffing. Hometown Connections provides discounted pricing on technology, services, and other solutions from industry-leading companies. The products and services offered through Hometown Connections include the full range of advanced grid solutions, as well as financial and organizational management tools and consulting. For more information, visit,,

About Apogee Interactive

Apogee Interactive is nation’s leading full service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. A partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers on-line and outbound proactive, personalized communication to consumers nationwide. The company’s digital reach extends through more than 600 utilities to 48% of US households and businesses, increasing utility customer satisfaction and slashing costs. Apogee’s SaaS platform enables more meaningful customer engagement, proven sustainable energy results, and improved program performance for utilities. For more information visit  or Linkedin


Media and Business Contacts

Hometown Connections:

Bill Smart



Apogee Interactive:

Karen Morris





Tags:  Apogee  Customer EngagementResidential Programs  Energy Efficiency 

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Smart Meter Data Presents New Opportunities for Utility Insight into Real-Time Program Performance

Posted By Brett Feldman, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A new report from Navigant Researchexamines whether North American utilities can leverage data from advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), or smart meters, to change the way energy efficiency program measurement and verification (M&V) and impact evaluation are conducted.

Many utilities remain unsure about the possibilities of analytic techniques and data granularity, and this uncertainty is compounded by the fact that new firms seem to emerge each year, claiming to provide increasingly deep insights into customers’ energy reduction potential by using little more than consumption data from the utility. However, if broadly available across all customer sectors, AMI data has the potential to enhance the traditional M&V model with respect to quantifying costs and benefits. According to a new report, AMI data presents new opportunities for utilities to gain insights into their programs’ performance in real-time, to make mid-course corrections, and to lower M&V costs by decreasing the frequency of in-depth evaluations.

“Using AMI data to estimate program impacts has the potential to lower evaluation costs by eliminating or reducing the need for field or survey-based verification,” says Brett Feldman, principal research analyst at Navigant Research. “In addition, results can be delivered more quickly than those found through traditional evaluation, as analysis can be performed as soon as data becomes available.”

This data also presents opportunities for existing M&V vendors and new players to provide value-added services to their utility clients. However, while AMI has the potential to change M&V as it is currently known, the transformation is expected to be more of an evolutionary change than a revolution, according to the report.

The report,Utility Strategies for Smart Meter Innovation: Energy Efficiency Measurement and Verification, examines what is realistic in regards to advanced M&V of energy efficiency program impacts using AMI data in the North American utility industry. The study also provides an analysis of the effects that advanced M&V of energy efficiency programs could have on the broader industry and what drivers could change the current and forecast evaluation paradigms. The discussion in this report is primarily applicable to AMI data used for M&V in North American energy efficiency program evaluation, but may apply more to other regions in the future as AMI proliferates. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

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Complexities of Home Energy Retrofits

Posted By Jeff Ihnen, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

As luck would have it, in recent memory, I’ve been to a couple t-shirt nights at MLB games. Yippy. This isn’t like the free shirts they give out at marathons, where you can take whatever size you need – you know, something that fits. No. Baseball franchises provide one crappy size, extra-large. It fits some of us, but the rest of us have a shirt that might as well go directly to the local Goodwill store.

Some deep energy retrofit programs are like the crappy extra-large t-shirt. Let us get started with homes, to which everyone can relate and understand. Trust me; large commercial buildings offer the same complexities, times ten. We will get to those later.

New Homes, 40-Year-Old Homes, 100-Year-Old Homes

Do ya think there might be some differences in how you, as a buyer, might outfit a new versus old home, whether it is energy efficiency or decorating?

New v 40-Year-Old Home

The 40-year-old home is a somewhat less efficient version of the new home. It may have 2x4 wood-framing construction rather than 2x6 construction. The average 40-year-old home is roughly 30% smaller than the average new home. The 40-year-old home will probably have vinyl or some other manufactured siding and gypsum board walls and ceiling, or if you’re lucky, some dark, light-soaking hideous faux-wood paneling. The 40-year-old home will have roughly the same electrical service capacity (amperage) as the new home. It probably has copper plumbing and grounded electrical distribution.

The 100-Year-Old Home

Moving into the era of the 100-year-old home presents an entirely different set of parameters to consider. Many of these homes were heated with coal or oil back in the day. There was no air conditioning, let alone central air conditioning. What did they do for hot water? Not sure – cook stove? They might have two ungrounded electrical receptacles in each large room. The interior wall finish is often lath and plaster, and it may have a nice decorative finish to it.

Ok, let’s deck this house out with the latest greatest energy efficiency. How about a ductless heat pump system? Oooh, I don’t know. A puny 1920 electrical service may already be loaded down with a 4 kW electric water heater and another 5 kW clothes dryer, and it doesn’t have the amperage capacity for adding central AC or a ductless heat pump system. Strike one. There are ways around this, like replacing the water heater or clothes dryer with natural gas editions, if natural gas is available, and it often is.

Let’s consider insulating the walls. This is not nearly as simple as sawing a two-inch hole on the interior wall or pulling back some vinyl siding and drilling from the outside. The interior walls may be made of tough cement plaster, and exterior may have decorative stucco. How are you going to get your blown-in-blanket insulation doohickey into the wall cavity without leaving ugly scars inside or outside?

Living Small

Americans’ homes have expanded in direct proportion to waste lines, and indirect proportion to family head counts, over the decades. With one momentary lapse of reason (1950), home size has ballooned steadily over the last 100 years, especially on a per-person basis as shown in the attached chart, courtesy of this site and The Wall Street Journal. The average space per person may not look to have increased that much, but dudes, we now have 4x the space per person compared to 100 years ago. Extra-large, anyone?

One other diversion I can’t resist – American’s drive more and more cars and build bigger and bigger garages. However, with many residences, the huge garages are full of crap while the fleet of behemoth vehicles sit outside anyway. Wow.

The moral of the living small story is it changes the calculus for the cost effectiveness of insulation. If you have a 1,000 square foot home, built in 1920, with decorative plaster, it may not be worth it to make a mess to insulate walls. Think!

Comprehensive Retrofits

If one considers retrofitting an existing home to be like picking among options for new construction, one will look like a fool very quickly.

As alluded to above, you have to think big picture.

  • Is the electrical service substantial enough to handle a large added electrical load or do you need to swap big existing loads for central air conditioning or heat pumps?
  • What about asbestos? Asbestos is a common substrate for many old hardwood floors. If you start chopping holes in floors for ductwork or anything else, zoom(!), go the costs!
  • Home size, room size, insulation levels?
  • Where is the condensing unit for the air conditioning going to go? Not in front. Not in the sun. Not there because I want to put a patio there at some point. Not there because it has to have clearance from the electric meter. Not there because it has to be at least seven feet from the neighbors’ lot line. Suddenly, the simple gets very complex.

See how it goes with the simplest of buildings – single family residential?

Commercial Buildings

Commercial buildings have many similar characteristics as homes for consideration – except for many other considerations. I will get into this next week.

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Tags:  commercial buildings  comprehensive retrofits  energy efficiency  home energy retrofits  Jeff Ihnen  Michaels Energy  new construction  retrofit programs  retrofits 

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Using energy efficiency as a tool for enhanced customer engagement

Posted By Jason Fox, Thursday, July 6, 2017

Originally posted at

Regardless of the politics in Washington, utilities are working toward modernising the US electric grid to minimise energy consumed and maximise the effectiveness of DERs

"This is being driven by economics and state policies, such as ten percent of US states (including California and New York) who are seeking to expand renewable energy mandates. In particular, California and Massachusetts are weighing a complete shift away from fossil fuels by 2050," writes guest contributor, Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit.

Merhav quotes Ajay Arora, Ameren's vice president of environmental services and generation resource planning, who said noting the Trump Administration’s recent efforts to rollback the Clean Power Plan, “Ameren [Missouri] was already focused on transitioning to cleaner energy.

“The most important thing to note is we are investing heavily in both energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Merhav continues on to say that while states are re-assuming leadership on energy in the vacuum of federal direction, utilities are taking the lead on grid modernisation. Bringing an electrical grid system that hasn’t fundamentally changed much in the last 100 years into the 21st century is a massive undertaking. It will take years of methodical planning and piloting, require technical ingenuity, rate reforms and other financial mechanisms to fully realise. Even if some utilities are insulated from implementing distributed energy resource (DER) models today (due to a lack of state mandates) the long term trend is towards cleaner energy, not away from it.

Distributed energy resource (DER) planning

Since utilities tend to plan on twenty-year horizons, their ability to identify issues with grid reliability and potential new demands for clean power early, is the only way they will have enough time to prepare for the implementation of future solutions. Utilities have several tools at their disposal for planning future DER rollouts, especially to replace traditional infrastructure investments. From Locational Net Benefit Analysis (LNBA) to Integration Capacity Analysis (ICA), they can identify both locations for future DER investments and estimate how much additional generation and storage might be needed in a given location. But what they cannot illustrate is which ratepayers, (either commercial, industrial or residential) would be predisposed to living near DER investments or installing DERs on their properties, should they have the opportunity. Luckily, there’s a third tool in the utility DER expansion toolbox.


Although frequently overlooked, this tool gives utilities pinpoint accuracy as to which of its customers are potential DER customers. Through the use of this tool customers find themselves motivated to do more to integrate renewables into the grid over time. Additionally, using this tool utilities can identify who these ratepayers are and where they are located in their service area. This often overlooked, yet compelling tool is a customer engagement platform that dynamically, and thoroughly replicates workflow automation for powering demand side management (DSM) programmes. Beyond opening up avenues for DER implementation, such systems have shown increase efficiency and operational savings in DSM operations by up to 75%.


On site energy efficiency audits, upgrades and the provisioning of EE rebates provide invaluable insights into customers predisposition for participating in future DERs.  Through comprehensive tracking and analysis of these customers within the utility’s DSM programmes, they can readily see exactly where in their territory environmentally or economically motivated customers are located. They can also understand quickly what level of engagement these customers have already taken in relation to energy efficiency and evaluate their potential willingness to someday expand their activities into DERs such as solar. Once these customers realise and enjoy the benefits of lower utility bills and energy savings, they are often motivated to do even more to optimise their energy use and reduce their carbon footprint. This is how energy efficiency becomes a gateway to the smoother, more efficient implementation of DERs like solar and energy storage.

Unified customer engagement platform

However, utilities who do not have comprehensive and automated methods for tracking and reporting on their energy efficiency and DSM operations struggle to identify EE customers who could be future DER customers. Automotive, customer engagement platforms offer utilities a cloud-connected, comprehensive and unified platform for DSM teams to drive and monitor initiatives and programmes across agencies. Through cloud-connected tracking, reporting and analysis, both from the office and in the field, utilities are able to peer through this customer window and establish relationships early in preparation for future DER rollouts. In addition, such clarity into their ratepayer actions can inform the development of new business models, new rate plans, and solidify a stronger customer service relationship with ratepayers. Through this “off-label” utilisation of , through DSM programmes utilities are gaining enhanced customer engagement to reinvent their business models in face of inevitable changes in the 21st century of energy.

“We envision a future where new customer-sited technologies coexist with the centralised generation and delivery systems. By embracing technology and leveraging it to improve operations and develop new businesses, our industry can effectively respond to changing consumer expectations, improve reliability, transition to clean energy, and lay the groundwork for a truly modern, integrated grid, all while continuing to focus on our customers,“ Joseph Nigro CEO, constellation and executive vice president, Exelon told Price Waterhouse Cooper in a report.

Future energy paradigm

Throughout the nation today, a populous and generational shift is building to integrate more renewables into our energy mix. On the ground, activist citizens are organizing to resist the construction of new fossil fuel generation capacity in their communities. Simultaneously, states are stepping into the leadership vacuum left by the Federal government on energy policy and doubling down on energy efficiency and renewable mandates. Meanwhile, utilities continue to implement new technologies such as DERs that upgrade our aging electrical grid that increasingly  shows signs of distress, through outages and power quality problems.

All of these factors and more are pushing the transition to a more modernised grid infrastructure that will carry us through the next 100 years. Forward-thinking utilities are leveraging cloud-connected, and automated operational management platforms to plan for DER rollouts by building and nurturing relationships with their most energy educated customers today, in preparation for the coming uptake of renewable energy that is widely expected. Those utilities that  are well prepared will establish themselves to thrive in the world of 21st Century energy through the cost-effective use of tools they have at their disposal today.  


About the author

Udi Merhav is the CEO of energyOrbit, the market leading cloud solution for demand-side management operations for utilities and third-party implementers in North America since 2007. A seasoned technology executive and entrepreneur, Udi has spent 21 years designing and implementing e-commerce and information technology solutions for high growth sectors.


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C+C and Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Capture Silver at Annual Bell Ringer Awards in Boston

Posted By Cynthia Jolicoeur, Friday, June 9, 2017

Publicity Club of New England Honors Public Relations Excellence at Sold-Out Gala

BOSTON – June 8, 2017C+C East took top honors in Community/Consumer Affairs at the Publicity Club of New England’s 49th annual Bell Ringer Awards for its Warm Up! campaign on behalf of  Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.  The campaign was designed to build awareness of the company’s energy efficiency services, while delivering additional benefit Columbia Gas communities.  Through a cause marketing partnership with non-profit group Operation Warm, the campaign spurred customers to sign up for a free home energy assessment by donating one brand new, American-made coat to a local child in need for each assessment requested during the month of October.  At its completion, Columbia Gas employees partnered with local firefighters and Operation Warm at local community action programs, allowing kids to choose and personalize their brand new coat and stay warm during our cold winters.  The campaign compilation video is available for viewing here:

Now in its 49th year, the Annual Bell Ringers Awards, honor superior work completed by PR and communications professionals across New England.  “The Bell Ringer Awards are a testament to the talent, creativity, and vision of communications professionals across New England,” said Cheryl Gale, president of The Publicity Club of New England. “The work submitted for this year’s competition not only displayed innovative thinking, it also delivered meaningful, game-changing results on behalf of hundreds of clients. What makes these honors all the more impressive is that they are bestowed by peers within our community who have judged the work to be worthy of these awards. We congratulate all of our winners, including C+C East.”

C+C East, in Boston, is the newest operation of C+C Social Marketing & PR – a mission-driven marketing agency working exclusively with clients who support the public good through initiatives such as energy and water conservation, renewable energy, healthcare, waste management, public transportation and green building.  General Manager Cindy Jolicoeur said “It’s such an honor for our work to be recognized in this way, and it is all the more meaningful that this was the very first campaign delivered out of our Boston office, with a charter client, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.”

Headquartered in Seattle, C+C includes a team of talented communications professionals on both coasts, delivering award-winning, results-driven work on behalf of private sector corporations, local and federal governments, and nonprofit organizations including Alaska Airlines, Ameresco, American Red Cross, Charter Homes, Connecticut Green Bank, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, Eversource, Google, Green Sports Alliance, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR and WaterSense programs, Vulcan, Inc., Waste Management, Goodwill and Master Builders Association.  Agency capabilities span a wide variety of marketing disciplines, including advertising, public relations, earned, paid and social media strategy & content creation, event coordination, graphic design and outreach campaigns. Learn more at  



Tags:  Awards  Corporate Communications  Energy Efficiency 

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Posterity Group recognized by local business community

Posted By Brett Kerrigan, Monday, June 5, 2017

Posterity Group is a Canadian consultancy focused on energy efficiency and demand side management, and we are thrilled to have been named one of Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Companies of 2017!

In addition to being one of the fastest growing local companies, our principal Chris Pulfer was recently named as a 2017 Forty Under 40 recipient by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.  The Forty Under 40 award has become a symbol of leadership, innovation, business acumen and community involvement in Ottawa.  Chris has demonstrated all of the above leading Posterity Group, and through his tireless work as a mentor to foreign-trained engineers for the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO).

Thanks are owed to the many clients and industry colleagues north and south of the border who have helped Posterity Group along the way, too numerous to list here.  We look forward to what the future will bring!


Best Regards,

The Posterity Group team

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Tags:  Excellence Awards  leaders  self promotion  small business 

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Dr. Benn Messer of Research Into Action part of team that won the 2017 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award

Posted By Sara Titus, Thursday, May 25, 2017

Member of Local Research Firm on Team That Wins Prestigious National Research Award


Portland, OR (May 25, 2017) — This past weekend the American Association for Public Opinion Research presented the 2017 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award at its 72nd Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana to a team led by Dr. Don A. Dillman of Washington State University. The team included Dr. Benn Messer of Portland, OR-based firm Research Into Action, as well as researchers from Texas Christian University, University of Utah, University of Nebraska, and Nielsen.


The Warren J. Mitofsky Award recognizes individuals, groups, and institutions who have produced seminal work in public opinion and survey research over the past decade. Current and past recipients have developed pioneering theories, ideas, applications, methodologies, and technologies that have shaped and advance these fields. Past recipients include Nate Silver, Founding Director and Editor in Chief of, Willem Saris of Pompeu Fabra University, Daniel Oberski of Tilburg University, and others.


AAPOR recognized Dr. Dillman’s team for their work developing a web-based data collection method that helps today’s researchers overcome the challenges imposed by emerging technologies and changing communication preferences. Their methodology is now being used by the U.S. Census Bureau and in many countries to conduct major surveys relevant to public policy decisions.


“Emerging technology has completely changed the way people communicate,” said Research Into Action President Dr. Jane Peters. “The work of Dr. Dillman, Benn, and the rest of their team has been essential to helping researchers like us continue to collect meaningful data and insights in the new digital economy.”


Tags:  AAPOR  award  Dillman  research 

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First Launch of Apogee Interactive’s Technology in Canada

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Canadian Utility to Launch Apogee Interactive’s Energy Calculators for Residential and Commercial Customers

First Launch of Apogee Interactive’s Technology in Canada


ATLANTA (May 18, 2017) –  A Canadian utility will soon launch Apogee Interactive’s Energy Advisor for its residential customers and Apogee’s Commercial Energy Calculator for business customers, proven industry-leading technologies designed to help customers lower their energy bills and leverage the utility’s energy efficiency products and services.

The partnership marks a milestone for Apogee, as it is Apogee’s first partnership with a Canadian utility provider. The Canadian utility plans to use the online tools to engage customers, providing them with more information on their usage and helping them understand how energy efficiency practices and behaviors can lower their power bills.

The Energy Advisor and Commercial Energy Calculator will help customers learn what drives their electric consumption and the factors that impact costs and fluctuations in their bill. Business customers who use the Commercial Energy Calculator will also be directed to efficient products and services offered by the utility to help them lower energy costs and improve their business’ bottom line.   

Features of the Energy Advisor include:

·         A responsive user interface

·         Energy saving recommendations and links to programs

·         Utility branding

·         Usage analytics

·         Energy libraries designed to further educate consumers who are engaged online.

The Commercial Energy Calculator incorporates the Energy Advisor features and can also assist account managers and commercial auditors. It offers a wide array of tools designed to better serve business customers of varying sizes. 

“We are honored to be chosen by a Canadian utility to help them improve their customer experience,” said Susan Gilbert, President and CEO of Apogee Interactive. “Our Energy Advisor is a proven solution for utilities seeking to provide their customers with a hands-on, personalized experience.”

About Apogee Interactive

Apogee Interactive is the nation’s leading provider of customer engagement technology for utilities. Partnering with utilities since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers proactive, personalized communication to residential and commercial customers nationwide. Apogee’s proven SaaS platform enables more meaningful customer engagement, proven sustainable energy results, reduced operating costs, and improved program performance for utilities. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter at @apoweb and on Linkedin.

 Apogee Contact: Karen Morris – 678-684-6801 –

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Tags:  Apogee  customer engagement digital  energy  marketing 

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Managing Pre-Paid Customers | 5 Lessons Utilities Can Learn from Telecom

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Managing Pre-Paid Customers | 5 Lessons Utilities Can Learn from Telecom


Jim Malcom, Executive VP, CFO Apogee Interactive, Inc.


On a recent webinar that drew more than 100 registrants, it became clear that energy companies are struggling with pre-paid service offerings just as the telecommunications industry did many years ago. Spending more than half of my career focused on finance in the telecom industry and now focused on the energy industry, there are many lessons to be learned from telecom about managing pre-paid customers.


My career in telecom began with a family owned payphone service when selling pre-paid long distance cards was a way to increase revenue and leverage location relationships. Moving on to senior management for Ernst & Young, managing telecommunications, I observed major telecom carriers experimenting with pre-pay offerings. Finally, I joined PowerTel as Treasurer and then LecStar as CFO; both companies had significant pre-paid customer bases. Over the course of a decade, I watched the telecom companies evolve as they tackled the challenges of pre-paid services.


Here’s what utilities can learn from Telecom


Rule #1 Payment Network


Utilities must make it easy for customers to locate authorized payment centers and offer payment options, cash being the most crucial. Pre-paid customers are frequently underbanked and make multiple cash transactions during a billing period. Keys to success include:


·         Have a robust network of authorized payment centers.

·         Avoid unauthorized payment centers where hidden fees apply.

·         Accept payment options, cash, check, credit cards.


Rule #2 Reduce Call Volume

Pre-paid customers check their account balance many times during a month, possibly daily. This drives up call volume so, with a customer service call averaging $5.00, utilities should consider ways to avoid calls. Some smart choices are:  


·         Leverage a caller ID system that prompts the IVR to play the current balance.

·         Designate and train CSRs to handle pre-paid customer calls.

·         Cost effective text alert solutions are available through Apogee that push account information.

·         Offer a pre-paid customer portal that includes balance information.

·         Apogee offers an energy forecasting application that can be incorporated into a portal clearly displaying the cost of energy in relation to the 5-day weather forecast.


Rule #3 Discovery of Unwritten Rules

Pre-paid customers will discover the unwritten rules; working rules to their advantage to the extent of using them as a budgeting tool by making minimum payments to reach the cut off thresholds.

Does your utility have rules about?

·         Shutting down a customer after a certain time of day or late on a Friday?

·         During bad weather?


Rule #4 No Demand Elasticity

Demand elasticity is a macro-economic principal. For instance, when gas is cheap, consumers drive more and purchase less fuel-efficient vehicles resulting in increased spending for fuel. The opposite is true when gas prices increase.

Powertel tried to entice customers to increase their monthly wireless spend. They concluded that prepaid customers would only spend a set amount regardless of the price per minute. Therefore, there is no demand elasticity for prepaid services.

If a utility has a prepaid EE program, customers are not likely to change their spending pattern regardless of the price of a kWh.  

Rule #5 Lower Monthly Spend

PowerTel, found prepaid customers spent approximately 10 to 15% less than post-paid customers.



  • They are more budget conscious and have limited funds to spend on any service.
  • They make purchasing decisions every time they replenish their prepaid account.

Based on a February 2016 study by DEFG (Distributed Energy Financial Group), prepaid electric customers exhibit similar spending patterns to the Powertel findings.

In conclusion, though pre-paid customers are a challenge and costly to manage, understanding their profile and adjusting business practices to accommodate them will improve your success. From the telecom pioneers we know, customers are more likely to be cash basis payers making frequent, small payments. They are likely to have their electric service temporarily disconnected, working unwritten rules to their advantage. They are hyperaware of their energy spend and are not likely to increase their energy use.


About the Author

Jim Malcom, Chief Financial Officer and EVP of APOGEE Interactive, Inc., brings more than 25 years in corporate finance and accounting to Apogee, which began with the firms KPMG and Ernst & Young in Atlanta. He has held senior posts as chief financial officer, corporate controller, vice president and treasurer for such area companies as Heidelberg USA, LecStar Telecom and Powertel.

Jim is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor's and master's degree in business administration, a certified public accountant, and a chartered global management accountant.


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Tags:  apogee Interactive  customer engagement  energy bills  low income  Pre-paid programs  Residential Programs 

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energyOrbit Works with Missouri River Energy Services to Track and Monitor Energy Efficiency

Posted By Jason Fox, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Missouri River Energy Services leverages energyOrbit's cloud-based platform to automate, standardize and streamline tracking and reporting of energy efficiency programs managed by 60 member municipal utilities

In an effort to automate, streamline and scale their regional energy efficiency programs among 60 member municipal utilities, Missouri River Energy Services (MRES), a G&T (generation and transmission) utility, has tapped Demand Side Management (DSM) platform energyOrbit to implement a unified method for reporting energy efficiency activities. MRES and its members can utilize the energyOrbit cloud DSM operations platform to streamline the tracking and reporting for programs that fall under the MRES Bright Energy Solutions portfolio, including rebates that are offered for members and their customers who install energy-efficient equipment.

MRES is a not-for-profit joint-action agency that provides wholesale electricity and a wide range of energy services, including Bright Energy Solutions, to its 60 members in the states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Bright Energy Solutions is a unique portfolio of energy-efficiency cash-incentive programs that will help residential and business customers reduce their electric energy costs and operate more efficiently. The program is offered to residential and business customers of participating municipal utilities who are members of MRES.

By engaging with energyOrbit, organizations similar to MRES have realized improved efficiency and DSM operational savings by up to 75 percent.

"With the new energyOrbit platform, our members can independently attain all of their own tracking and reporting needs," said MRES Energy Services Manager Shannon Murfield. "It also offers MRES more opportunities for customer engagement."

By leveraging the energyOrbit platform, MRES can utilize data and analytics to make informed decisions and more effectively manage their projects. Similarly, MRES can now organize data from its members to more efficiently use and report their energy efficiency data. The platform allows seamless access for multiple parties or outside sources to submit their information electronically, all in one place.

Setup and configuration of the energyOrbit platform can be accomplished quickly and easily suits smaller programs. It also can be scaled up to service large program growth and expansion. Additionally, the system is quick to implement and can be initiated to suit smaller programs, while at the same time scaled up to service large program growth and partner expansion. The cloud-based platform vastly reduces the burden on IT teams and empowers DSM program managers with the proper tools and information to carry on their objectives.

"One of our core missions is to ensure our clients are able to move away from non- collaborative, static business solutions and realize significant productivity gains by switching to collaborative, online solution," says Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit. "Missouri River Energy Services and their Bright Energy Solutions program are working to help businesses and residents conveniently attain energy savings. However, that can become difficult if the majority of your time is spent formatting and organizing data and spreadsheets. We are certain that by adopting the energyOrbit solution, MRES will be able to more effectively run its DSM operations as well as have more touchpoints to engage and provide value to its members."

About energyOrbit

Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, California, energyOrbit is the market leading solution for cloud Demand-Side Management operations. energyOrbit is deployed with leading utilities and third-party implementers across North America, enabling customers to realize an average of up to 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 2015, the energyOrbit platform has helped utilities and third-party implementers collectively reduce over 5,585 GWh of energy demand which is equivalent to 97 percent of San Francisco's annual electricity use. For more information on energyOrbit please visit and follow up on Twitter (@energyOrbit) and on LinkedIn (

Media Contact:
Technica Communications for energyOrbit
Lisa Ann Pinkerton



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