Energy prices have been spiking over the past few months. Natural gas is 32% more expensive than it was a year ago, according to the US Energy Information Agency. In some parts of the country, natural gas prices are even higher – up by 45% in the Midwest. The cost of electricity, meanwhile, is up ~6% nationwide, with costs even higher in the South – up by ~8%. Utilities, as the main distributors of power, can help their customers through these difficult times by helping them manage (and ultimately, reduce) their energy use. In this article, we’ll explore just how utilities can help their customers manage their energy use and the benefits of doing so.
The Benefits of Helping Customers Manage Their Energy Use
There are many benefits to helping customers manage their energy use, not just for the customer, but for the utility as well.
Benefits for Customers:
1. Enabling energy management in commercial buildings
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Once customers have a solid handle on their energy use, they can take steps to manage it, which leads to…
2. Increased energy efficiency
Knowing their energy use allows customers to determine areas where it can be reduced, such as installing new LED lights, better insulation, energy efficient appliances and HVAC systems, and more, which leads to…
3. Improved basis for measurement and verification of efficiency programs
Having quality data on their energy use can help customers determine if their measurement and verification measures are working, which leads to…
4. Energy savings and increased sustainability
Last but not least, the end result of knowing their energy use is that customers will be able to reduce that energy use, save money, and achieve sustainability goals like net zero.
Benefits for Utilities:
1. Enhanced ability to target programs and services
Utilities that help their customers manage and centralize their energy usage data will then have a wealth of data with which to determine new programs and services targeted to specific subgroups, which leads to…
2. Improved customer relations and satisfaction
In addition, customers that have buildings or facilities operating across multiple utility service areas face inconsistent and incompatible energy usage data. As a result, these customers will also face costs and management difficulties, especially if they have hundreds or thousands of facilities. Utilities that place that can help their customers accurately manage their energy usage and centralize it all in one place increase customer satisfaction.
The Problem: Decentralized Data
So, what’s the issue? Can’t customers already manage their energy use based on their utility bills? Answer: Yes, but it will be a tedious and complicated process with much room for error, especially if, as noted above, a customer has multiple facilities or buildings in different utility service areas. The different utility bills will have to manually be uploaded into one place, e.g., an Excel spreadsheet.
The Solution: A Customer Engagement Platform
A strong customer engagement platform solves the problem of data decentralization by providing a utility with:
- The ability to collect all energy data on a national & global basis and share with their customers
- Actionable insights, not just more energy data
- Visibility across customer portfolios to determine how much energy is being used
- A single source of truth for all energy and sustainability data
To learn more about the benefits of a customer engagement platform, download our whitepaper, “What to Look for in a Customer Engagement Platform.”
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National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency (2008). Utility Best Practices Guidance for Providing Business Customers with Energy Use and Cost Data. ICF International.