In effort to recognize companies and organizations who serve as role models within SGCC and the industry in the development and implementation of a consumer education programs, SGCC honored the top Utility, Technology Vendor and Non-Profit Organization at our 2017 Consumer Symposium: Beyond the Grid – Connecting Tomorrow’s Consumers on January 30, 2017.
As pathfinders within with their communities, these organizations are leading the way in the development and implementation of consumer education programs. The criterion by which the winners were selected is based on five behaviors and how they make smart grid CLEAR to consumers:
- Consumers first: Demonstrated true consumer centric approach in the development and implementation of consumer education and awareness programs
- Leadership: Exhibited initiative in the area of consumer education and is recognized as a consumer advocate and thought leader in the industry
- Excellence: Demonstrated innovation and imagination in the creation of consumer facing initiatives and programs
- Authenticity: Has demonstrated a high level of integrity in engaging with consumers and other key stakeholders in the industry
- Results: Has been able to demonstrate, in a quantifiable way, a direct impact on consumer awareness and behavior
|Peak Partners, Fort Collins Utilities
Fort Collins, Colorado, is a community focused on the environment, and Fort Collins Utilities makes every effort to provide programs that meet the needs of its customers. Those include Peak Partners, an integrated demand response and energy efficiency program, and Efficiency Works, which provides residential customers significantly discounted energy and water audits, efficiency adviser services and installation of energy- and water-saving products to help them reduce costs and increase the comfort of their homes.
|Illinois Citizens Utility Board
CUB, Illinois’ leading nonprofit consumer advocacy group, was created in 1984 by the Illinois General Assembly to fight for the rights of residential and small-business utility customers. The watchdog group has helped save Illinois consumers more than $20 billion over the years by helping to block utility rate hikes and secure refunds. CUB also advocates for bigger and better energy efficiency programs in Illinois, and provides people with one-on-one guidance to avoid overcharges and rip-offs on their electric, natural gas and telecom bills. CUB has an extensive consumer outreach operation. It holds more than 400 events a year, including presentations and utility bill clinics, to distribute information showing consumers how to save money on their utility bills.
|Connected Savings platform, Whisker Labs, a wholly owned subsidiary of Earth Networks
Connected Savings is a home energy management system that engages and teaches the consumer about their energy usage. Combining energy usage and proprietary weather data, Whisker Labs creates a thermodynamic model of each home so they know how the home will respond to changing weather variables. A customized Energy ScoreCard is then created teaching consumers about their energy usage, comparing them to similar homes in their neighborhood, and giving helpful tips for home improvements and other suggestions to reduce energy usage. A forecast for energy use for the upcoming month is also included. Read more.
Previous Award Winners
|SmartCurrents Program and DTE Insight Mobile Application, DTE Energy
DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. DTE Energy was selected to receive a CLEAR Award for their consumer-centric approach in the development of their many energy efficiency education and awareness projects. DTE became the first utility to offer the free DTE Insight app that links a smartphone to the advanced electric meter to help customers see how they use energy and find ways to reduce usage and save. When a customer adds the DTE Energy Bridge device, they see energy use in real-time and find more ways to cut energy waste and save.
|Smart Customer Mobile Solutions & Mobile Application, Smart Utility Systems
Empowering energy providers to make informed decisions, Smart Utility Systems works closely with electric utilities to develop products that deliver a high value while maintaining a customer centric approach. Smart Utility Systems’ Smart Customer Mobile Solutions are helping energy providers across the country educate customers about available programs and services while helping track customer behavior throughout a program’s lifecycle.
|Smart Grid Education, Elevate Energy
Elevate Energy’s mission is smarter energy use for all. Elevate Energy works to bring the environmental and economic benefits of energy efficiency, the smart grid, and renewables to all communities, particularly those struggling to make ends meet. Recognizing that it can be difficult for households to modify their energy use, Elevate Energy works at the community level to equip consumers with the information, tools, and support required to change behavior and enroll in energy efficiency or smart grid programs.
|Peak Energy Savings Credit & Energy Wise Rewards, Pepco Holdings Inc
Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region and has developed more than a dozen energy management programs to help customers save energy. PHI’s Energy Wise Rewards program allows Maryland customers to take more control of their energy use, save money, and take a step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. By combining customer education for its AMI-enabled dynamic pricing program, Peak Energy Savings Credit, and the Energy Wise Rewards program, the company positioned its offerings as “Two Ways to Save”. These programs allow customers to select one way or both ways to reduce energy use. Materials educate customers on the many ways to save energy, increasing awareness of both programs. By offering various programs that help customers save energy and reduce costs, PHI has been able to personalize its energy management programs to meet the specific needs of a diverse customer base.
|Points and Rewards, Opower
Opower’s Points and Rewards product capitalizes on 400 years worth of consumer behavior data and global best practices to allow customers to earn points for saving energy and participating in utility programs. Points and Rewards is truly a customer-centric approach and has successfully driven a number of outcomes including customer satisfaction, digital engagement, and program participation. From motivating customers to sign up for electronic billing to driving participation in energy efficiency programs, Points and Rewards helps utilities accomplish key smart grid objectives.
|Consumer Education & Awareness Campaigns, The Greenlining Institute
Greenlining envisions a nation where race is never a barrier to economic opportunity and communities of color thrive. They work with policymakers, utilities, and community leaders to ensure that energy education and awareness reach all communities, including those who speak languages other than English, are culturally isolated, or otherwise hard to reach. They conduct trainings and educate communities on clean energy and affordability issues and recently launched UpLift California, a way to show the benefits of clean energy happening in communities right now.
|Energy InSightsm, CenterPoint Energy
Energy InSight is CenterPoint Energy’s set of smart energy technologies designed to empower consumers with insight into their energy use. A comprehensive consumer education program has raised awareness, created understanding, built support and fostered engagement of, for, and with smart energy technology. A multitude of communication tactics have been carefully tailored to address various, even competing, audience segments, from mass media advertising, to community events and presentations, online chats, newsletters, brochures, videos, how-to demos, FAQs, web tools, energy-saving tips, and over 2,000 employees trained as Energy InSight ambassadors in their community. Campaigns such as the In-Home Display pilot and Biggest Energy Saver contest have created consumer evangelists, and 75% of surveyed consumers hold a favorable view of CenterPoint Energy’s program.
|Power Over Energy, Silver Spring Networks
Power Over Energy is a social media energy literacy campaign created by a coalition of business, government and environmental non-profit groups to increase awareness about our global energy challenges and to help consumers understand how to make smarter decisions when it comes to their electricity consumption. Consumer understanding about the impact of our current energy consumption is extremely low. We believe that the more people understand, the more they will want to improve their efficiency, increase reliance on renewable energy, and support the modernization of our aging infrastructure. The focal point of the campaign is the Power Over Energy Facebook presence, which includes a provocative ad campaign as well as daily posts and commentary about energy news, and efficiency tips. We are also engaging people in the conversation through Twitter and we have launched a series of 10 videos on YouTube. The Power Over Energy website invites visitors to explore engaging facts and take interactive quizzes about electricity generation, consumption, transmission, impact, and efficiency. In the first year, the campaign has reached 55.4 million consumers across social channels, generated 120,000 Facebook Likes, 152,000 YouTube views, and nurtured a Facebook Engagement Rate of 7.17% (from Oct.-Dec 2013), far exceeding the average comparable Facebook Engagement Rate of 0.50%.
|Advanced Meters – Control Where Your Money is Going, Public Citizen
More than 97 percent of Texas’s competitive electricity market is using the new Advanced Meter Network, a communication technology that both encourages conservation and allows consumers to participate in the state’s electrical industry for the first time. Under the system, consumers can participate in programs to sell their un-used power back to the market during periods when electricity prices are high. Or, they can get paid by their provider to help stabilize the electrical grid during times of emergency or shortage. With the new communication network, which is built into electrical meters, ratepayers can communicate with their meters very nearly in real-time to control their usage and reduce their bills. They also will be able to get an accurate indication of their upcoming bill, allowing them to conserve energy – and save money – before they’ve already used it. We’re now getting the advanced technology that we have had in our cell phones for years in our electrical equipment.
Comverge delivers a comprehensive suite of intelligent energy management solutions that enable utilities, grid operators, and commercial and industrial organizations to optimize their energy usage in order to reduce costs, meet regulatory requirements, and support sustainability initiatives. With 30 years of experience helping customers implement innovative Demand-Side Management programs, Comverge has deployed more than five and a half million energy management devices, recruited over one million residential customers into mass market demand response programs, had 75 million utility customer interactions and served thousands of commercial & industrial customers.
|Southern California Edison
SCE began installing smart meters in 2009, and followed that by introducing smart-meter enabled programs and services in 2010. Today, close to 5 million customers now have access to a suite of new tools enabled by the Edison SmartConnect program and customers are adopting these services in record numbers. By providing customers with the tools needed to reduce their electricity usage, SCE is targeting a reduction in peak load of 1,000 Megawatts and reduced GHG (greenhouse gases) of 365,000 tons per year, which equates to removing about 79,000 vehicles from the road. As a result of the Edison SmartConnect, SCE has already seen reduced residential energy consumption, improved customer experience and increased operational efficiency.