Big data, big utility customer engagement opportunity

By admin on February 10, 2012

With smart grid rollout spreading across the country, the amount of data being generated by smart meters is growing dramatically. A recent article on Intelligent Utility asserts that individual meter reads alone will leap from 12 per year to 35,040. While this explosion of information represents a unique challenge for utilities, it also presents an exciting opportunity to leverage the data for improved customer engagement programs, turning big data into big results.

Standardized data formats such as those set by the Green Button initiative are already being adopted by many utilities. In addition, third party service providers are available to translate this data into a meaningful experience for customers, driving results in programs such as energy efficiency and demand response.

The article described the types of programs that utilities are exploring as good candidates for leveraging the power of smart meter data. “A lot of questions that we’re getting are around our residential and commercial demand response programs,” explained OGE Energy Corp.’s Brian Eakin, load forecast analyst in strategy and business planning. “A lot of that is in alignment with our 2020 plan, and being able to get some insight into potentially which types of customers would be good to have participate in the program, how would we market to those customers, and getting an idea of what’s the value proposition, not only to the customer, but to the utility,” he added.

Leveraging utility smart meter data, third party service providers such as Simple Energy can create a compelling customer engagement experience, making energy use information easy for customers to understand by translating it into an online game that is social, fun and simple. By presenting energy use data as a score that can be compared socially on networks where people are already spending time, like Facebook, Simple Energy not only makes energy easy to understand, but also enjoyable. Beyond just communicating the information, the platform actually motivates people to take actions that impact their energy consumption by encouraging them to compete with their friends to earn points and prizes for saving energy.

As Green Button data becomes more widely available to customers across the country, it is exciting to think about the applications that will be available to help people better understand and manage their own energy use. Simple Energy makes the information social, fun and simple by translating it into points that can be easily compared with your friends and neighbors online, motivating people to improve their scores and compete to save energy. Studies have shown that this type of social engagement works well to motivate customers.

Using the big data that is now available from smart meters, utilities have a big opportunity to engage their customers effectively in meaningful programs for energy efficiency and demand response. Contact Simple Energy to learn more about turning big data into big results.