Exclusive AESP Reports on "Trends In Energy and Demand Management" now available
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Posted by: Adeline Lui
Utility-driven energy management programs are growing, although participation rates are still somewhat low, according to findings from Trends In Energy and Demand Management, a new, wide-ranging energy industry survey conducted by the Association for Energy Services Professionals in partnership with Essense Partners.
The first two of four parts of the report, focusing on energy management programs, and energy jobs, were released on October 18 and October 31. The additional research components distributed energy resources (DER) and the Internet of Things, will all be released later this year.
Research for the report is based primarily on two surveys that were conducted among more than 2,700 consumers and 164 professionals who work in utility programs.
The study found that only 31 percent of the consumers surveyed had participated in a utility-run energy management program.
However, over the last two years, 32 percent of energy efficiency professionals reported that program participation rates had grown from three to 10 percent, and 21 percent reported that participation rates had grown by more than 10 percent.
Those trends are expected to continue over the next two years.
In the survey, program sizes ranged from 140 participants to 50,000, with an average of 11,000. Participation rates ranged from one percent to 80 percent, with an average of 17 percent.
The survey found a disparity between the utility perspective of what is important to consumers, and what consumers say is important to them. Only 18 percent of those polled on the utility side said that energy efficiency was "very important" to consumers, but 58 percent of the consumers said that energy efficiency was "very important."
Utilities are working to redesign programs by increasing and improving communications with customers, making it easier to participate online, improving incentives, and reaching out more through social media.
"Programs are growing," said Suzanne Jones, Chief Operating Officer of AESP, "But utilities will have to do more to demonstrate the value proposition for consumers, communicate better and provide clear evidence, through digital interfaces, that the programs are effective and save them money and energy."
Among the top factors generating growth in programs, according to consumers:
•Improved value and incentives (61%)
•Improved communications between consumers and utilities (46%)
•Improved digital interfaces, tools and energy data (36%)
•Redesign with consumer friendliness in mind (29%)
One surprising trend is that older consumers are more likely to participate in programs. "Younger people may be purchasing homes later, but the industry need to reach out and to communicate better with millennials," Jones said.
To view the available reports, AESP members can log into the AESP Resource Library and find the documents under Publications> 2017 Publications> Utility Guide.