How to Build a Strong, Engaged Trade Ally Network

Posted by Liz McKinley | September 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

Trade allies can have a profound impact on a utility. Not only do they help you improve your cost effectiveness and customer service, but depending on how well they perform, they can make or break your brand. 

That’s why it’s important to give serious thought to structuring or refining your trade ally network. E Source, which has been conducting trade utility ally network research for almost a decade, has developed five key factors for evaluating your own trade allies.

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7 Tips for Overcoming Participation Barriers in Small Business Energy-Efficiency Programs

Posted by Fred Dreher | August 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

For most gas and utility companies, small businesses make up the vast majority of accounts within the commercial and industrial  customer base. It makes sense, then, to target energy-efficiency programs to your retail, grocery, restaurant, office and other smaller, nonresidential customers.

But as the new ACEEE report “Big Opportunities for Small Business: Successful Practices of Utility Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs” points out, that can be easier said than done.

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A Handful of States Lead the Way in Utility Data Access

Posted by Stephen Collins | August 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

In the past two years, there’s been a growing interest in the amount and scope of energy-usage data that public utilities provide to their customers and third parties.

ACEEE’s 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard report notes that when data is shared with customers, it can help them evaluate the effectiveness of energy-efficiency programs. And when third parties are privy to their customers’ data, they can analyze the cost effectiveness of energy-efficiency initiatives, which encourages investment by reducing risk.  

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Portland General Electric Debuts New Energy-Efficiency Plan

Posted by Susan Osbeck | July 19, 2017 | 1 Comment

Portland General Electric Company (PGE) has released a 2016 Integrated Resource Plan that is designed to improve its energy efficiency, increase its use of renewable resources, and boost its customer-side demand response.

Not only is this new strategy expected to make more of an impact on renewable energy than new solar initiatives will, but the plan also calls for increasing wind resources, relying more on natural gas, and ceasing a coal-plant operation in order to meet the 2016 Oregon Clean Electricity Plan’s requirement of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Currently, PGE estimates that 15 percent of the energy it provides comes from renewable resources.

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Summer Demand-Response Programs Can be Effective for Small Businesses

Posted by Greg Wassel, CEM | July 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

A study of 78 small offices, restaurants and retail outlets in Sacramento, California, showed an overwhelmingly positive response to an integrated energy-efficiency/demand-response program for hot summer days.

The Summer Solutions study was conducted by the Demand Response Research Center and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) in the summer of 2008. It was designed to provide a better understanding of demand-response and communicating-thermostat issues for small businesses with minimal energy usage (less than 20 kilowatts per day).

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How-To Improve EE & DR Program Marketing With Segmentation

Posted by Danielle Marquis | June 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

You're trying to build awareness for a new energy efficiency or demand response program, while developing a marketing funnel that will convert that awareness to program enrollments and completed projects over time. You have approximately three bajillion eligible customers, a marketing budget of nearly $7 and a request to reduce your program's overall cost per enrollment. Sound familiar?

I'm exaggerating of course, but sometimes that's how it feels to be a utility program marketer. What can we do to make our lives a little easier, improve our results and achieve our goals (while cutting costs)? Market segmentation. It's a drum I like to beat loudly, because I whole-heartedly believe that by combining data, analytics and good marketing we can be more successful. 

Let's start with the basics: 

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Alignment of Comfort & Energy Savings in Utility Program Design

Posted by Amin Esmaeili, PhD, PMP | June 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you’ve ever had the experience that the building you work in is too warm in winter and/or too cool in summer, you are not alone. Americans often find themselves in an office, store or restaurant that’s either frigid or sweltering, when the weather outside is the opposite.

According to an article in Utility Dive, a new study from researchers at the Rochester Institute of Technology found “commercial buildings are spending $600 million more than necessary every year to heat and cool spaces, while wasting significant energy doing so.” The research showed that only 11 percent of commercial buildings met the ASHRAE thermal comfort standard, meaning that inappropriate indoor temps left workers dissatisfied—and wasted energy to boot.

Even if this seems like a pretty insignificant issue, it does add up. Somewhat surprisingly, the study found “that 42 percent of workers report being dissatisfied with the temperature in their offices, with 14 percent being very dissatisfied.”

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Analytics to Drive Demand-Side Management Program Results

Posted by Sandy Hu | May 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

A sea of change is upon us in the world of analytics. Business intelligence (BI) software is undergoing a vast transformation, from rigid, slow and overly technical to user-friendly, intuitive and responsive. Similar to the way quantitative analysts revolutionized the financial industry in the 1990s, the new analytics are changing the way companies do business—one key function at a time. Those taking the lead in analytic organizations are integrating data into the decision-making process and turning it into real time, pragmatic insights.

For demand-side management (DSM) programs, we need to make better, faster decisions using high-quality data and cutting-edge analytics. Here are three big technology trends that will take DSM programs to a whole new level.

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Increasing Email Engagement in EE & DR Programs

Posted by Allison Sparrow | May 3, 2017 | 0 Comments

Email marketing moves the energy efficiency (EE) and demand response (DR) conversation to the personal space of the inbox. It’s a potent, cost-effective tool for generating program enrollments, with an ROI that tops out at 4,300 percent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Despite these impressive stats, a lot of marketing emails get quickly deleted into oblivion. To make your content count, you need to ensure the emails you send are perceived as a value exchange for your customers, giving them information in exchange for their time.

The top goal for marketers is to increase their email engagement rates and improve email personalization. Email segmentation, such as only sending lead generation emails to those identified as most likely to participate in the program, or sending one set of emails to those who have already enrolled in a program but not completed a project, and another to those who haven't yet enrolled, is at the crux of better open and click rates. Narrowing the focus makes your email campaign more relevant. And in the email marketing world, relevance equals engagement. 

But segmentation alone won’t cut it—segmentation needs to be sophisticated, and it must create a user experience that feels personal. When email is customized to customers’ needs, it leads to brand loyalty and conversion rates. Consumers want companies to track their purchasing history, communication preferences and the type of information they are most interested in.

According to Marketo, three of the qualities that define engaging email are trustworthiness, relevance and striking the right tone. Here’s why each attribute matters.

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GoodCents in the News: What You Can Do To Lower Your Electric Bill

Posted by Danielle Marquis | April 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

The local ABC affiliate in Indianapolis recently covered a home energy audit completed by GoodCents, as part of our free home energy assessment program with IPL, in response to customer questions about how to lower electric bills.

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