Opower ups the ante in home energy management
By Jesse Berst
As we've documented extensively, customer engagement is increasingly important to every utility. And the arsenal of engagement tools available to them is gaining capability, as demonstrated by the Monday release of Opower 4, a suite of tools from Washington, DC-based Opower.
Opower began by focusing on paper reports and customized recommendations ("you are using 37% more energy that similarly sized homes in your neighborhood"). It became the leader in that category and has hit scale -- it now claims to be working with 75 utilities and reaching 15 million homes.
But reports and recommendations are just part of the home energy story. Now Opower is expanding further. The company draws customer engagement as a circle with four areas (see illustration below):
- Help them care (reports, portals, recommendations, games)
- Help them understand (alerts, customer service recommendations)
- Help them take action (coupons, rebates, offers)
- Help them take control (smart thermostats and other devices)
Opower draws the customer engagement space as a circle with four quadrants.
Opower Introduces Opower 4
Utility Customer Engagement Platform Leverages Big Data to Drive Large Scale Energy Efficiency and Increase Customer Satisfaction
- Opower announces the availability of Opower 4, a customer engagement platform for the utility industry that uses big data and behavioral analytics to drive measurable business outcomes including Smart Grid and rate acceptance, customer satisfaction and energy efficiency.
- New platform is based on the input from more than 75 full-scale utility program deployments and offers channels that reach every consumer demographic.
- Opowerâ€™s utility deployments are proven at scale and have delivered more than $175 million in savings for utility customers and 1.6 terawatt hours of energy.
ARLINGTON, VA â€“ November 19, 2012 â€“ Opower, the leading customer engagement solutions provider for the utility industry, today announced the release of Opower 4, a customer engagement platform that uses behavioral science and big data analytics to promote consumer participation in a variety of utility programs that support energy efficiency, smart grid and new rate adoption and customer satisfaction. Opower 4 is the most significant product release for the company in more than a year.
â€œIn order to address a number of strategic challenges, including rising supply costs and smart grid acceptance, utilities need to revolutionize their customer-facing infrastructure and deepen their relationship with their customers,â€ said Opower President and Founder Alex Laskey. â€œThe Opower platform is the only proven solution for the utility industry that drives greater customer collaboration and engagement, while meeting other important business objectives such as increasing energy efficiency.â€
"National Grid is committed to helping our customers take control of their energy consumption through a variety of energy efficiency programs and partners," said Marcy Reed, president, National Grid, MA. â€œSince we started working with Opower two years ago, we have continually expanded our partnership to bring new features and services to our customers that will help further reduce their energy use while realizing significant dollar savings. The Opower platform is a proven tool that does just that."
Opower manages energy data from over 50 million households across 75 utility deployments and then analyses that data, and combines it with other third party sources â€“ including weather data, county assessor data, and other pieces of information â€“ to provide homeowners with efficiency tips and insights. In June, Opower announced that it had partnered with Clouderaâ€™s Hadoop software and support.
â€œCloudera is uniquely able to empower data-driven enterprises like Opower to ask bigger questions of their large and complex data sets, dramatically improving the economics and performance of Big Data management," said Charles Zedlewski, Vice President of Product at Cloudera. "We're proud that the global leader in utility customer engagement chose Cloudera as their platform for Big Data to help drive the bottom line."
About Opower 4
Opower 4 is the only global enterprise-class customer engagement platform designed specifically for the utility industry. The Opower 4 SaaS platform is powered by a patent-pending behavior and energy analytics engine that continues to be refined as more than 15 million energy consumers interact with it at least on monthly basis. An annual R&D investment of more than $25M ensures that the Opower platform is on the leading edge of customer engagement capabilities as well as data privacy, security, compliance and big data analytics standards.
Opower 4 is organized into four proven, mutually reinforcing areas of customer interaction: Behavioral Engagement, Energy Information Services, Retail & Marketing Services, and Home Control. To date, the Opower platform has delivered 1.6 TWhs in verified energy savings to utility partners seeking to achieve cost-effective energy efficiency goals and has recorded up to 100% lifts in customer participation in utility-marketed programs.
The new platform includes:
- Big Data.The Opower platform analyzes data from over 50 million households to provide customers with personalized tips and information.
- Energy Alerts.Weekly AMI emails and unusual usage alerts show customers their energy use at a more granular level to drive greater energy savings.
- Home Energy Control.Opower has partnered with Honeywell to create a one-of-a-kind behavioral thermostat solution that bridges the engagement gap between customers and their thermostats.
- Upgraded Web Portal.The upgraded web portal includes a home energy usage disaggregation (with AMI data) that provides customers with insight into what is driving the largest energy consumption in the home.
- Social Energy.Opowerâ€™s social energy app, a partnership with Facebook and NRDC, currently has 17 utility partners and more than 20 million households with access.
Several leading utilities, including National Grid and EnergyAustralia, will deploy the new platform. Utility customers will have access to a variety of communications channels, including home energy reports, web portals, emails, text messages, a mobile app, in home devices, and the social energy app to better understand their energy consumption and learn ways to save.
"EnergyAustralia is committed to helping Australians save energy and money through innovative solutions," said EnergyAustraliaâ€™s Group Executive Manager, Retail, Adrian Merrick. â€œWe chose to partner with Opower to provide our energy customers with an engagement platform that uses leading technology and behavioral science to drive large-scale energy savings."
â€œAccenture has been working with utility companies for more than 30 years to help them serve and understand their customers better through increased customer engagement,â€ said Greg Guthridge, managing director, Accenture Retail and Business Services for Utilities. â€œOur experience tells us that software solutions with innovative capabilities that can provide utilities deeper insight into consumption -- including energy efficiency preferences and options, could help support their customer strategy and drive measurable business outcomes.â€
Working with 75 utility partners and serving more than 15 million consumers across six countries, Opower is the worldâ€™s leading provider of customer engagement solutions for the utility industry. By providing the tools, information and incentives consumers need to make smarter decisions about their energy use, Opowerâ€™s engagement platform and solution suite enables utilities to involve their customers in programs that support, energy efficiency goals, smart grid and new rate structures, brand loyalty and lowering the cost of service. Proven to drive behavioral change at scale, Opower has helped its utility partners achieve more than 1.6 TWHs in energy savings, and drives significant increases in customer program participation and overall customer satisfaction. Founded in 2007 and privately held, Opower is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in San Francisco and London. For more information, please visit www.opower.com and follow us on Twitter at @Opower