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In this week’s UtilityXpert Roundup, Entergy’s VP declares that grid changes are needed, and only IoT and advanced data analytics can help us along. Elsewhere, EE programs are improving all across the nation, green power is in demand, and Dominion keeps one of their major projects going. As usual, it’s been a busy week in the utility world.
Delivering electricity to 2.9 million customers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, Entergy is implementing advanced data analytics and internet-of-things technology across all its divisions. This article features a sit down with Entergy VP, Raiford Smith.
Utility programs are a valuable and growing resource to the affordable housing community. According to ACEEE’s 2018 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, utilities across the U.S. dedicated $7.9 billion to energy efficiency programs in 2017 alone. Likewise, utility investments designated for affordable multifamily programs have grown significantly over the past five years, and the gap between affordable multifamily’s share of the residential market and their share of utility residential investment is beginning to close in many states.
Dominion's deal with Eversource and United Illuminating puts an end to speculation over Connecticut's sole nuclear plant, which the company had said would close if it did not secure a contract by today, March 15.
The 10 year deal will cover 9 million MWh of output annually, more than half of the plant's annual output of about 16.5 million MWh. Connecticut regulators selected the rest of Millstone's output as part of a clean energy solicitation last year.
A new high efficiency, ultra-low emissions commercial water heating and space cooling unit, which begins field demonstrations at two Southern California restaurants this week, could dish out energy savings, lower operating costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for foodservice and hospitality facility operators.
That’s according to Stone Mountain Technologies, Inc. (SMTI), maker of the new technology, which uses a thermally driven heat pump fuelled by natural gas or propane to capture ambient energy, achieving a heating efficiency of 140% or greater. It is projected to reduce energy use by 30 to 50% compared to standard natural gas water heaters. The highly-efficient heat pump also provides space cooling simultaneously, which reduces the need for air conditioning and can help lessen electricity use.
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.netor onLinkedIn.
Navigant Research Report Shows Global Spending on Customer Engagement Through Demand Side Management (DSM) is Expected to Reach $1.1 Billion by 2027
To enhance competitiveness and meet customer expectations of new technologies, utilities and retail suppliers should invest in customer-centric DSM products
A new report from Navigant Research examines the global market for customer engagement through DSM (CEDSM), providing market forecasts for spending segmented by region, through 2027.
As customer expectations grow for new technologies, so does the market for CEDSM products, making it easier for utilities and retail suppliers to engage with them. However, uncertainty in the long-term cost-effectiveness of these solutions remains a barrier to global adoption, in addition to region-specific competitiveness of a deregulated energy supply market. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, global spending on CEDSM is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2027.
“Because of the changes in consumer expectations, utilities and retail suppliers are seeking DSM software solutions that can lower the cost-to-serve and improve customer satisfaction and engagement,” says Brett Feldman, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.
According to Navigant, to enhance CEDSM competitiveness and customer acceptance, utilities and service providers should focus on combining budgets and revenue streams to cover costs, transition to newer business models while complementing existing DSM programs rather than replacing them, and offering accurate building energy use models to build customer trust.
This report, Utility Customer Engagement through DSM, examines the global CEDSM market, with a focus on market drivers and barriers, case studies, and forecasts for residential and commercial and industrial (C&I) CEDSM spending. The study examines the trends related to CEDSM to highlight regional activities and approaches to behavioral DSM and utility marketplaces. Global market forecasts for spending, broken out by segment and region, extend through 2027. The report also profiles key CEDSM solutions providers and provides recommendations for utilities, retail suppliers, and vendors that aim to enhance CEDSM effectiveness.
* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, Utility Customer Engagement through DSM, is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.
Atlanta, GA (October 17, 2017) Today in Sacramento, Jim Malcom, Apogee Executive Vice President, shared the firm’s new customer engagement solution for low income utility customers at the 8th annual Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference.This growing segment is increasingly difficult and costly for utilities to engage and serve. They tend to be expensive to serve due to the number of times they call, the number of truck rolls associated with service interruptions, and their inability to pay their bills.As a result, they also tend to be a drag on the customer service scores.
“These customers are not hard to identify, they are hard to engage and influence using traditional methods,” said Malcom.“Apogee’s service reduces costs and increases customer satisfaction by making these customers aware of how they use energy, how they can control their energy bills, as well as making them aware of the payment options best aligned with how they are paid.”
Apogee’s groundbreaking behavioral solution, EPIC (Engagement Platform for Information and Communication), uses simple, timely, personalized, automated communication methods widely proven effective with the general population and customized to this segment’s special needs.
EPIC is targeted to mobile phone users and employs multiple channels including email, SMS/text, and social media.The program approach is perfectly suited to the low-income trade allies and community agents including churches, non-profits, and community action agencies. This multi-channel strategy extends the reach and fills the gaps of traditional communication approaches.
According to Susan Gilbert, Apogee CEO, “Lower income customers spend a disproportionately large percentage of their paychecks on energy and create most of the billing and payment inquiries. Apogee customized our time-tested tools to proactively engage and assist these customers, demonstrating their energy provider cares while giving customers a sense of choice and control in their lives.”
Customers learn to manage their energy use, improve the comfort of their homes, and lower their bills, while utilities benefit through increased customer satisfaction and reduced costs to serve.
Contact email@example.com for complete details of the presentation and how EPIC is enabling utilities to connect with and better serve their low-income customers.
Apogee Interactive, Inc.
Apogee Interactive is one of the nation’s leading providers of customer engagement software services for the energy industry. Partnering with utilities since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers proactive, personalized communication to consumers 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 www.apogee.net and follow on Linkedin and Twitter at @apoweb.
Utilities have struggled for years to engage their customers, and in no segment, have they struggled more than low-income. Low-income consumers have historically been difficult to serve, and managing the challenges of delinquency and bad debt have further bogged down these relationships. Today, even though the stock market is hitting record highs, unemployment is on the decline, and poverty rates are falling, this problem might seem like an issue that utilities can take a break from focusing on. That isn’t the case.
The rebounding economy has not improved conditions for millions of low-income families in America who are still living in perpetual financial insecurity. Helping these families manage their energy spend so they can keep the lights on and ensure that their children stay warm in the winter should be a priority for every utility. With proposed federal budget cuts on the horizon this situation could decline even further.
ACEEE reports that low-income households are spending an average of 7.2 percent of their income on utility bills, that is more than triple the spend of median households. Utilities now have a unique opportunity to ease this energy burden and help these families get ahead.
How can utilities help and still be profitable?
In researching a solution to the low-income burden on both families and utility Apogee discovered that it is common for this customer segment to contact the utility several times every month repeatedly. These customers are well known to the utility, they may not be hard to reach but they are hard-to-serve.
The benefits of a successful low income strategy include substantial rewards. For every 10,000 low income customers, if you reduce one call per month for ten percent (10%) of these customers, the annual savings to the utility is between $60,000 and $90,000. For larger utilities, for every 100,000 low income customers, the savings are $600,000 to $900,000 annually. These savings do not consider other hard costs such as reductions in collection efforts, bad debt, and avoided disconnect and reconnect services, nor the benefit of improved cash-flow, improved customer satisfaction and increased customer engagement.
What’s the secret?
Deliver a message that is relevant, personal, and prompt. Remember the basics of customer satisfaction. Give customers control, care, and choice.
Just in time energy and payment alerts delivered by email or text that allows time to adjust behavior before the high bill arrives.
Energy saving recommendations that put customers in control of their energy use. Suggesting actionable low cost or no cost opportunities to save energy.
Program awareness offering opportunities to participate and benefit.
Deliver your message with dignity when there is still time to make a difference in the bill.
Reach out through social organizations.
Offer multi-lingual communications and address cultural differences.
Communicate multiple payment options like budget billing, authorized payment centers or pre-pay options.
Allow customers to choose their preferred method of communication.
Use a mobile friendly preference management system
Apogee is dedicated to helping utilities build trust and bring value to low income communities while easing the burden to serve this growing segment. Apogee’s new Energy Platform for Information & Communication, or EPIC, offers a way to tackle the challenges associated with engaging hard-to-serve customers proactively, through ongoing engagement. EPIC gives actionable guidance for renters, low-income or multifamily dwellers.
Jim Malcom, Chief Financial Officer and EVP of APOGEE Interactive, Inc.
Mr. Malcom, has been Apogee's advocate for low income initiatives for the past 2 years. He 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.