Even with smart meters, most utilities only provide customers with usage insights once per month or a day later. But that’s starting to change.

 

Customers increasingly expect more from their utility companies. Competitive threats are coming from every angle of the energy value stream, and other industries — from banking to retail — are raising the bar for customer expectations when it comes to convenience and choice. 

As our nation’s utilities prepare for increasing adoption of EVs, on-site solar and other distributed energy resources, while also responding to extreme weather events and natural disasters, leading utility companies are learning that customer engagement and education play an important role in continuing to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy. 

Forward-thinking utility program managers recognize the value in partnering with their customers, especially as customers’ desire for control over their energy bills and home comfort grows. To better ensure grid reliability, utilities need to engage customers in strategic demand management — and one of the best ways to do so is by leveraging wireless real-time energy management (WREM). WREM solutions enable program managers to gain real-time insight behind the meter, which helps them notify customers when to take action at the moments that matter most to meaningfully impact the grid and reduce customer bills. 

Explaining Wireless Real-Time Energy Management

WREM leverages existing broadband networks to access revenue-grade electric, gas and water meter data, supplying utilities with the grid-edge intelligence necessary to both manage peak demand and deliver personalized, tangible and actionable insights to customers in real time.

Plus, WREM is incredibly scalable, regardless of the installed meter base. Whether bridging the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) deployment bridge or enhancing existing AMI-driven insights, WREM allows utilities to enhance energy audits, energy kits, new construction programs and more. 

Utility Customer Engagement When it Matters Most

Even though customer-owned distributed energy resources and energy-efficiency technologies are now more affordable and increasingly reliable, customer bills remain the main point of contact between customers and their utility companies. And when research shows “keeping my utility bills low” is the top benefit for the vast majority of U.S. energy consumers, engagement has to extend beyond a transactional relationship. 

While utilities recognize the growing need to educate and inform their customers using personalized information to increase customer satisfaction, entirely too many utilities lack the tools to provide such information when it’s convenient for customers. Plus, most customers only care to engage with their utility when it comes to the cost of their energy and the comfort of their home.

To increase customer satisfaction and trust, utilities must deliver personalized information and utilize easy-to-understand data to convince them of the need to engage in demand management programs and the potential savings for doing so. Leveraging WREM to improve customer engagement enables utility program managers to customize insights based on geography, major appliances and usage profiles, empowering customers to take control of their cost savings, comfort and impact on the environment.

Plus, an increasing number of customers want to take control of their bills, comfort and conveniences via smart home appliances. The rich data WREM solutions provide to utilities enables program managers to better control when energy is used by offering dynamic time-of-use rates that allow customers to have their smart devices shift large energy-consumption activities until outside of peak periods.

Equipped with real-time energy and voltage data, program managers can deliver high bill and anomaly detection alerts for in-the-moment engagement, notify their customers of relevant insights when it matters most and increase customer satisfaction through program participation and individual control. Without a doubt, encouraging customers to engage in energy-efficient behaviors and programs will drive improved grid reliability and make maintaining a stable grid as easy as possible. 

For more information about how easy-to-implement wireless real-time energy management can improve utility customer engagement, manage demand and optimize the grid, download our white paper, Building Real-Time Grid Intelligence.