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Consumer engagement is one of the biggest challenges facing utilities today. Identifying the messaging, programs and incentives that will get consumers on the energy-saving bandwagon and engaged in the benefits of a smart grid, smart meters, demand response, home energy monitoring and other energy efficiency initiatives is the challenge of utility consumer engagement. Fortunately there is extensive consumer engagement research available, from the use of behavioral science to customer segmentation marketing and best practices. This section provides news and resources on challenges and successes in consumer engagement for utilities.

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Four ways utilities can fight back against Google

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid strategy, utility business model, Google, electric utilities
There has been plenty of compelling evidence of Google’s intent to take over the electric grid. So Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck’s four recommendations on how utilities can transform themselves and successfully meet that challenge are very timely.

Smart meter progress: What Britain is doing better than the U.S.

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart meters, customer engagement, UK smart meters, smart meter rollouts, electric utilities
UK electricity providers are doing something many U.S. utilities wish they had done: educate their customers about the benefits of smart meters before the rollout starts… not afterward. Read the story for a quick look at how the UK is handling customer engagement, and why.

How Seattle City Light spent big bucks to make itself look stupid

smart grid, smart grid technology, smart grid strategy, social media, consumer engagement, electric utilities
Smart Grid News has published stories on utilities that have won high marks for how well they use social media to engage customers. So it seems only fair to share a story about one utility that illustrates how to do it wrong. Click for details.

When bad rates happen to good utilities (like SDG&E)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, electricity rates, rate structures, energy efficiency, customer engagement, electric utilities
Something’s wrong with California’s electricity rate structure, SDG&E’s Jim Avery says. The two-tiered rate plan gives low rates to customers who use less power and higher rates to those who use a lot. Unfortunately, he says, that concept is out of date… and encourages customers to do what it never intended.

What customers really want to hear (it could mean succeed or fail for utilities)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, consumer engagement, customer engagement strategies, electric utilities
As utilities struggle to engage customers and keep them happy, the cost issue looms large. Yes, power prices should be low, and customers should be able to control how and when they use electricity to keep their costs down. But there’s another part of the equation that matters more if utilities want to compete successfully in today’s new business environment: Choice.

7 ways to solve your low-income utility customer problem

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, consumer engagement, low-income consumers, electric utilities
Low-income customers typically spend a high percentage of their income on energy, and utilities have been wrestling with how to come up with programs and protections to help them for years. Fortunately, a new report from the Distributed Energy Financial Group says there are ways to solve the problem, and smart grids can help.

Smart meters trapped between benefits and dangers, claims Forbes

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, metering, smart meters, smart meter backlash, smart meter protests, electric utilities
It’s clear by now the smart meter debate over data privacy and other issues isn’t going away anytime soon. But now, through coverage from several news publications, smart meters are in the national spotlight. Click to read what some of those publications are saying.

The consumer-centric approach that can reverse the utility death spiral (New York is on this path)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, consumer engagement, utility business model, utility death spiral, Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative
The utility “death spiral” predicted by energy and financial analysts does not have to come anytime soon if at all, says the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s Patty Durand. She explains New York’s initiative to revamp the role of utilities and develop a consumer-centric approach to energy markets that could bring a new era of “retail power.”

Low Income Consumer Decision Making

This research project report was commissioned by DEFG’s Low Income Energy Issues Forum, a large and diverse group, comprised of consumer advocates, program administrators, regulatory commissioners and representatives from energy utilities, retail energy providers, non-profit agencies, and vendors. The goal of the LIEIF is to propose innovative and integrated policies and approaches that help close the widening gap between what vulnerable energy consumers can pay and their current utility bills.

Utility CEO to regulators: We can't keep living from rate case to rate case!

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, policy and regulation, utility regulation, customer care, electric utilities
ComEd President and CEO Anne Prammaggiore doesn’t mince words when it comes to sharing her thoughts on why utilities are stuck in the 20th century. Click for her views on why regulations established at that time often don’t allow utilities to provide customers the services they want today.

The 4 phases of customer engagement (many utilities are stuck at #1)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagemet, smart grid strategy, customer communications, electric utilities
As utility professionals know, getting customer engagement right has been a major challenge, particularly at a time when customer expectations and demands are changing so quickly. Read the story for some helpful insights on how to communicate effectively with them.

Utilities: Your coming CoLo SoMoLo world and how to adapt (it's important!)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagement, smart grid trends, electric utilities
Consumers have changed… a lot. And they expect the companies they buy products and services from to adapt and change too. Most companies are responding to what the ‘new’ ultra-connected consumer wants, but many electric utilities have been slow to react. Click to read why it’s important that they do.

The cost of a smart grid? In Illinois, it's $3 per customer per month

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid investments, Commonwealth Edison, ComEd, electric utilities, policy and regulation
ComEd has filed a proposal for a rate increase to recover initial investments in its ambitious grid modernization effort. If your utility is considering rate adjustments, it would be well worth the time to read how ComEd presents its program and communicates its benefits.

The top 3 U.S. utilities for Twitter and mobile apps. (Would you have guessed Memphis?)

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, customer engagement, customer communications, social media, electric utilities
A new report ranks utilities according to their ability to use social media and create compelling mobile applications. It also underscores the need for utilities to get up to speed with social media if they hope to communicate effectively with their customers.

Want to know where we are headed? Study National Grid's pilot

smart grid, modern grid, smart grid technology, smart grid pilot projects, Worcester MA, National Grid, metering, customer engagement, customer education, energy efficiency
National Grid’s smart grid pilot project in Worcester, Massachusetts has been a constantly evolving series of lessons to be learned and a microcosm of the current state-of-the-art. The next phase of the project will be no less so. It’s not just about technology; it’s also focused heavily on consumer engagement and education, time-based pricing and other areas.

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