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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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Terry Fry Appointed to Lead Cadmus’ Energy Services

Posted By Kathleen Humphrey, Monday, May 8, 2017

Energy industry veteran will serve as senior vice president for leading consulting firm’s energy services

WALTHAM, Mass., April 19, 2017—The Cadmus Group, Inc. (Cadmus) announced today that it has appointed Terry Fry senior vice president of energy services. Fry will lead the firm’s strategic development and delivery of technical services in support of energy utilities; regulatory bodies; federal, state, and local governments; and businesses across North America.

“Terry is an exceptional business leader and strategist and is widely respected across the industry as a thought leader,” said President and CEO Ian Kline. “He brings a fresh and insightful perspective and deep industry knowledge to Cadmus. Just as importantly, he complements our existing team extraordinarily well. I am delighted that Terry has joined our leadership team as we continue to expand and enhance our technical capabilities and expertise.”

Fry has been an active proponent of efficient energy production and use for more than 30 years. He has led and participated in numerous assignments on end-use energy efficiency, market development, institutional assessment, regulatory development and efficient power production in countries around the world, as well as for investor-owned utilities in North America. He serves as board chair of the California Energy Efficiency Industry Council and is a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee.

“Cadmus’ reputation in the energy space is formidable, and the skills, expertise, and ingenuity demonstrated by Cadmus consultants are ideally suited to help our clients in this critical junction for the industry,” said Fry. “I’m looking forward to being a part of the Cadmus team.”

Hossein Haeri, Cadmus’ previous senior vice president of energy services, will remain with Cadmus, providing senior leadership in support of clients, technical delivery, business development, and training.

Cadmus leverages in-depth understanding of the energy market, evaluation protocols, and analytical methods to help clients stay ahead of rapidly evolving technologies and regulatory policies. Our core areas of expertise include energy policy, energy efficiency, demand response, renewables and distributed generation, potential studies, resource planning, finance, greenhouse gas emissions, smart grid technology, and sustainability. To learn more, please visit

About The Cadmus Group, Inc.

Cadmus provides professional consulting services that help clients achieve their goals and create social and economic value today and for future generations. By applying exceptional technical expertise and a highly collaborative approach, we deliver customized solutions that address complex challenges facing the realms of natural and built environments, energy, public health, climate, homeland security, and international development. Cadmus’ more than 500 consultants serve government, commercial, and nongovernmental organizations in the United States and abroad. Learn more at

Tags:  Cadmus  New Professionals  Smart Grid News 

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Case Study: Driving Member Satisfaction and Lowering Costs

Posted By Karen Morris, Thursday, April 27, 2017

Just published this week, Driving Member Satisfaction and Lowering Costs with Personal Video Messaging - The study features Apogee's personalized bill analysis videos provided by Old Dominion Electric Cooperative to 5 member cooperatives. The results are outstanding. Read the attached or learn more at

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Apogee Interactive  customer Engagement  digital engagement  Energy Efficiency 

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Frischmann, Laursen, O'Neill Become Newest Owners at Michaels Energy

Posted By Brittany Simonson, Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Michaels Energy is excited to announce it has expanded company ownership to include three key employees - Mike Frischmann, Kristin Laursen, and Eric O'Neill. These new owners join current shareholders, Jeff Ihnen, Scott Siefkes, Bryce Dvorak and Ryan Kroll.

The new owners are part of the next generation of company leaders in the Michaels Energy ownership transition process. Frischmann, Laursen, and O'Neill have each been with the company for nearly a decade or more, and have demonstrated indispensable skills and commitment to driving Michaels Energy toward profitability and growth.

"I am excited to continue working with Michaels’ excellent clients and staff as we move into a new era of ownership," said Scott Siefkes, Chief Operating Officer at Michaels Energy. "I am confident that the new group of owners will continue the hard work and dedication that has been demonstrated by our current and former owners."

The owner/employee model allows Michaels to pursue the type of work its employees are passionate about while staying relevant and forward-thinking in an ever-changing industry.

"This is our third generation of owners. The efficiency landscape has been drastically different each time," said Jeff Ihnen, Michaels' Chief Executive Officer. "First, we saw a rapidly growing local (state) efficiency environment. The second generation launched as utility deregulation rolled out and efficiency had scaled way back. Since then, efficiency grew large and it has stabilized [to an eerie calm]. We see upheaval on the horizon and we are excited to see opportunities present themselves as well matched for our capabilities."

To learn more about Michaels Energy or their new generation of leaders, visit

Tags:  company leaders  Energy Efficiency  Eric O'Neill  Kristin Laursen  leaders  Michaels  Michaels Energy  Mike Frischmann 

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Customer Co-Pays: Driving Faster Adoption of New Technologies Without Breaking the Bank

Posted By Jamie Delk, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

CFLs and programmable thermostats have had success. Both have increased in market share and continue to gain momentum. Newer, and higher priced, measures like LEDs and smart thermostats show significant savings potential but need a co-pay to support initial rollouts.

Click here to read the full blog post and download the eBook. 

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Tags:  copay  co-pay  customer satisfaction  energy  Energy Efficiency  energy efficiency programs  franklin energ  Franklin Energy  Franklin Energy Services  Franklin Energy Services LLC  results  technology 

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5 Types of Operational & Behavioral Energy Efficiency Programs Every Utility Should Know About

Posted By Mark Gentry, Wednesday, April 5, 2017

As the market for commercial energy efficiency programs matures, utilities across North America are investing in deeper and more comprehensive methods of maximizing energy savings for their business customers. Operational and behavioral based savings — which account for 30-50 percent of the total savings potential in commercial buildings — represent one of the most significant growth areas.

But engaging commercial customers requires a sophisticated understanding of their diverse needs. Large customers use 100x more energy than small businesses, and both groups span dozens of verticals and business segments. Bringing the right set of operational and behavioral solutions to these customers requires programs that are built for the needs of each segment – and more importantly, drives the action required to accomplish their savings objectives.

Even among industry leaders, you’ll find a wide range of differing information about the definition and function of various behavioral and operational programs. The below infographic identifies the most frequently seen offerings in the market today, their respective level of maturity and complexity, and the customer segments each program is best suited for.

Whether it’s optimizing building controls or steering business practice changes, operational and behavioral-based energy efficiency programs targeting the C&I sector require a diverse suite of services reflecting the unique characteristics and needs of each customer group. Energy analytics can support customer segmentation and engagement strategies across all these programs, enabling utilities to scale customer savings and participation across hundreds of thousands of businesses. By combining these approaches with integrated demand-side management solutions, energy providers are poised to accelerate energy efficiency adoption at a high volume, while holistically improving each customer’s energy use.


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Tags:  behavioral  commercial and industrial  commercial programs  operational programs 

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The Secret of the Promise Maker

Posted By Jamie Delk, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Shhh. Don’t tell anyone, but I have the easiest job in the world. I am a Promise Maker. In leading business development efforts over the past decade, the recipe is fairly simple: meet potential clients, listen to their challenges, understand their priorities, and assure them we can solve their problems and help them realize their goals. The proposals and finalist presentations we deliver to potential clients are just that: promises made.

To continue reading the full blog post, click here.  

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Tags:  energy  Energy Efficiency  energy efficiency implementer  Expert  Franklin Energy  Franklin Energy Group  Franklin Energy Services  Franklin Energy Services LLC  Goals  Integrity  Promises 

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Movin’ On Up(stream): Utility Water Heater Programs

Posted By Mark Gentry, Thursday, March 23, 2017

Electric water heaters represent a significant untapped energy savings opportunity for utility retail programs. Driving higher market penetration of efficient water heaters is particularly important as other sources of savings in the residential sector sunset. However, consumers virtually never proactively seek an energy-efficient water heater. Roughly 90 percent of water heater purchases are related to external circumstances (e.g., emergency replacement, remodeling, new home), and 72 percent of consumers shop at just one store before making a purchase.

Since most residential customers are not actively searching for high-efficiency water heaters, they are not prepared to buy one when it fails. Those that do purchase incentive-eligible equipment often have high rebate breakage rates, forgoing the extra steps of submitting rebate forms after their equipment is installed.

With low market penetration and underperforming water heater rebates, how can utilities convert these panicked product buying cycles into long-lasting program savings that improve customer satisfaction?

An upstream model overcomes some of the challenges and realities of downstream and midstream retail approaches by shifting the incentive from the customer to the manufacturer, while still putting some money back in the customer’s pocket. New upstream program designs emphasize strong manufacturer relationships and easy transfer of data, so utilities can still gain insights into their customers’ actions and adoption of products.

In close collaboration with retailers, upstream programs incent manufacturers to influence both the prices and market availability of efficient water heaters. This drives more high-efficiency equipment into the market while making them more price-competitive with non-efficient alternatives. In a typical scenario, an efficient water heater could save a household of four about $3,500 over the lifetime of the equipment compared to a standard electric heater, with an average payback period of only two years. So customers can invest in energy efficiency today and enjoy the savings tomorrow.

With the right program design, utilities can persuade customers to purchase cost-effective, efficient water heaters and secure savings, enabling rapid market transformation across the supply chain.

Upstream Retail Water Heater Programs

Laying the groundwork with water heaters today will have benefits beyond energy efficiency tomorrow. Water heaters are no longer just a collection of metal containers and pipes. Many are becoming increasingly ‘smart’ and connected, which opens additional opportunities for utilities to have a continuous dialogue with their customers, such as engaging them in demand response programs and educating them on energy saving opportunities. This type of connectivity and increased customer adoption can also proactively alert customers of issues and diagnose them ahead of failure, breaking the cycle of emergency replacements (one example can be found here).

What do you think of upstream water heater retail programs and how they are being leveraged by utilities? If you have any questions or thoughts we’d love to hear from you – reach out to us today.

Read more:

1 How to Increase the Market Penetration of HPWH
2 Save Money and More with ENERGY STAR® Certified Heat Pump Water Heaters

Tags:  Residential Programs 

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