2016 Year in Review

Despite the newfound uncertainty in the clean energy space, 2016 was a year of incredible highs. On a personal note, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our second child. And all of us at Simple Energy celebrated the newfound success of our Marketplace platform.  

It was by far the best year we’ve had as a company: we dramatically grew the number of utilities we serveparticularly with our Marketplace product. And, our utility partners see Marketplace as strategic to their long-term goals: Anne Pramaggiore, the CEO of ComEd, said it best:

“In the near term, the [ComEd Marketplace] will enhance the customer experience by simply and effectively providing our customers with new ways to manage their home energy-use. Over time, the Marketplace will evolve as a cornerstone of our utility where our customers can transact with us and other parties for a wide range of energy-related products and services.”

The Simple Energy Marketplace became the industry’s leading online transactional platform last year. Simple Energy partnered with some of this nation’s largest utilities and holding companies to become the premier multi-jurisdictional utility store in the U.S. I don’t think numbers always tell the entire story. But in this case, they reveal quite a lot:

  • There were nearly 50,000 energy-saving transactions on Marketplace.
  • Gross merchandise volume on our utility-branded Marketplaces was almost $8.5 million.
  • We now work with leading utilities like Exelon Utilities (including the previously cited ComEd), Southern Company (including Georgia Power), Xcel Energy, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Consumers Energy, Orange & Rockland Utilities, and National Grid.
  • In partnership with utilities across the US and Canada, Simple Energy’s energy-wise solutions now reach nearly 25 million homes.


But the larger story is what’s to come for Simple Energy. The future utility business model will need to engage its customers like never before by utilizing customer data as well as agile and dynamic Software as a Service platforms. To ensure Simple Energy has the right leadership in place for these trends, we decided the time was right to add a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and a new Board member.

Simple Energy’s new CTO, Jennifer Kinney, previously worked as Vice President of Engineering at MapQuest and as Technology Lead, Commercialization & Technology Transfer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, among other positions. Jen has already transformed our technology roadmap in her short time here.

Our other important addition is Wayne Greenberg, who will serve on the Simple Energy Board of Directors. Wayne is currently CEO at E Source, the only North American best-practice research, consulting, and technology solutions firm focused exclusively on the customer side of the utility industry. He has long been at the forefront of integrating utility customer data into successful business plans.

No one said the path to a clean energy future would be easy. But I believe that taking ownership of that future is more important than ever, and I’m proud that Simple Energy is one of the companies creating the vision. We’re excited about the journey.

One last note on our mission as a company: The changes of the past year have also changed how we view ourselvesand we’ve made a small but meaningful change to our mission statement. Our mission has been, “Motivate customers to save energy.” We’re now expanding it in three ways: First, in addition to motivate we also enable our end customers. Second, beyond just saving energy our customers are taking energy wise actions. And, finally, we can’t do any of this without our utility partners.

As such, our new mission statement is now: We motivate and enable people to take energy wise actions while helping utilities be a part of the clean energy ecosystem.

These might seem like a minor change; but, it’s reflective of how we go about our work.

Cheers to a great 2017,



Xcel Energy launches online store to Minnesota customers

We are excited for our Utility partner Xcel Energy! After seeing great success with their online store, XcelEnergyStore.com, for their Colorado residential customers, Xcel Energy has made the store available to its Minnesota customers to save energy and money.

The online store offers Minnesota residents a $50 instant rebate and free shipping on smart thermostats from Nest Labs, Honeywell, and ecobee. As the most wanted connected home device, smart thermostats are sweeping past being a trend and becoming a must have in the home. With less than seven percent of people accessing available utility rebates, stores like the Xcel Energy Store make it easy and simple to receive rebate savings on top-of-the-line products instantly.

Xcel Energy is just one of many Utilities across the country building online stores to offer customers innovative ways to save. In a recent survey, we found that less than 5 percent know they can purchase smart thermostats from their Utility company. That finding motivates us to get the word about about this great offer!

Iberdrola USA Partners with Simple Energy to Implement E-Commerce Energy in New York


20150421_inthenewsBoulder, CO — July 21, 2015 – Simple Energy, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing to educate and empower consumers on energy consumption, and Iberdrola USA, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, S.A., an energy service and delivery company, recently announced a proposed partnership as part of New York State’s new energy plan to help utilities achieve Reforming Energy Vision (REV) goals. Iberdrola USA’s New York utility, RG&E will incorporate Simple Energy’s Marketplace platform for customers to purchase curated distributed energy resource (DER) products with targeted and broad-based instant incentives.

Marketplace is a utility branded e-commerce platform that connects utilities and consumers by offering energy-saving products and services with instant rebates. The product will allow Iberdrola to deliver a utility-driven customer engagement platform to increase market animation, customer DER utilization, and community engagement and interaction, while creating new revenue streams and enhanced efficiency for existing utility programs.

“Engagement – combined with behavioral science and personalization – is transforming the utility business model in historic ways, allowing people to re-think how they see and use energy,” says Yoav Lurie, CEO and Co-Founder of Simple Energy. “Marketplace is a perfect solution to provide consumers targeted energy-efficient household products, and helps save energy along the way. We are excited to be a part of this defining time in the industry.”

Iberdrola’s goal is to engage customers to make smart, informed purchasing decisions by delivering targeted energy-saving products and services in a curated experience that builds on IUSA’s best-in-class customer satisfaction and quality touch points with its customers.

New York is leading the way for business model innovation across the energy industry. With the increasing deployment of renewable energy resources, combined with aging infrastructure, extreme weather, and security needs, the state’s utilities are transforming the way electric energy is produced, managed and consumed. REV aims to reform the state’s energy industry and regulatory practices, leading changes that promote distributed energy management through efficiency, demand response, and increased renewable resource use, and greater use of energy management products. In turn, these will empower customers with a choice in how they manage and consume energy.

“The REV initiative is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our relationship with customers as their trusted energy advisor,” says Mark Lynch, President and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “We are a leader in the evolution of the utility industry, and offering our customers on-demand services through a Simple Energy’s Marketplace product is an example of the new role and new services we are proposing for our pipes and wires companies.”

Iberdrola USA is the U.S. subsidiary of global energy leader Iberdrola, S.A. The Iberdrola USA companies employ about 5,000 people with operations in 24 states from New England to the West Coast, providing electricity generation, transmission and distribution, natural gas storage and distribution, and energy services. From more information, please visit our website: www.iberdrolausa.com. Follow Iberdrola USA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IberdrolaUSA.

Simple Energy’s Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) digital marketing platform uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people save energy and how utilities engage their customers. Located in Boulder, Colorado, with offices in London, Simple Energy is currently partnering with top tier utility customers across North America. Simple Energy is making energy efficiency fun, social, and rewarding. For more information visit www.SimpleEnergy.com and follow https://twitter.com/SimpleEnergy on Twitter.

Jason Michael
Barokas Public Relations for Simple Energy

John Carroll

Simple Energy Launches E-Commerce Platform to Bridge Gap Between Utilities & Consumers

marketplace_simpleenergyBoulder, Colo. – Feb. 24, 2015Simple Energy, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people think about energy, today announced the launch of ‘Marketplace,’ an e-commerce platform that connects utilities and consumers by offering energy-saving household products and services with instant rebates at the point of sale. The platform, which is white-labeled by participating utilities, delivers individualized energy-saving tips and recommendations via personalized emails, empowering consumers to reduce energy consumption and make informed purchasing decisions.

The launch comes on the heels of a 2013 Accenture report that shows 58% of customers want their utility to provide recommendations on energy-saving goods, such as home appliances, while energy audit data from The Nielsen Company shows that less than 7% of customers are accessing utility rebates available to them.

“We created Simple Energy Marketplace to fill a void that has existed for too long between utility and customer. The launch of this platform will help customers save both energy and money while simultaneously empowering them to make smarter decisions about their energy consumption,” Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder at Simple Energy. “Every person’s energy usage is unique, and how their utility communicates with them should reflect that. This is why Marketplace is so important for utilities. It allows them to convert a user’s energy usage data into personalized messaging that educates consumers on their energy consumption while simultaneously providing recommendations on energy-efficient products and tips that are specific to their energy wants and needs.”

Simple Energy Marketplace offers utilities a branded online marketplace to provide customers with a curated selection of rebate-eligible products, ENERGY STAR™ products and other energy and water conservation products and services that are personalized based on a user’s meter and account data. Point-of-sale energy rebates provide consumers with instantaneous savings on energy-efficient purchases while giving utilities increased participation in rebate programs and additional value-added services to enhance customer satisfaction.

The platform also enables utilities to deliver personalized communication to its customer base via existing marketing and billing channels, providing energy-saving recommendations to encourage consumers to make informed purchasing and energy-reducing decisions. In addition, Simple Energy Marketplace is customizable and scalable to utilities’ unique needs and energy efficiency requirements.

Simple Energy is launching Marketplace with two major North American utilities, including a program with San Diego Gas & Electric, adding to the utility’s existing Manage-Act-Save customer engagement platform. The programs will be available to more than 2.5 million households across the Midwest and West Coast.

“Simple Energy was founded to help motivate people to save money, to change the energy conversation from price to savings,” said Justin Segall, President and Founder at Simple Energy. “Marketplace helps expand our mission to unite utilities and consumers to work together to reduce energy consumption and shift the way consumers view utility providers – from commodity to partner.”

Simple Energy Marketplace allows utilities to operate as the singular energy resource for consumers, from the awareness to the purchase of their household devices through energy delivery, through consumption and billing. The platform also offers side-by-side price comparisons of recommended energy devices such as thermostats, high efficiency washing machines and dryers from leading retailers, consumer reviews, as well as their respective rebate offerings, giving customers total autonomy to research, purchase, and utilize the product that is best for them.

To learn more about Marketplace and participating utilities, visit www.SimpleEnergy.com/Marketplace.

Simple Energy’s software as a service (“SaaS”) digital marketing platform uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people save energy and how utilities engage their customers. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Simple Energy is currently partnering with top tier utility customers across North America. Simple Energy is making energy efficiency fun, social, and rewarding. For more information visit www.SimpleEnergy.com and follow on Twitter.

Media Contact
Jason Michael
Barokas Public Relations for Simple Energy

Simple Energy’s 2015 Predictions

Across the utility industry, utilities are beginning to view customers as an essential business asset. As consumers educate themselves on the growing selection of energy options available to them – and as alternative energy solutions become more affordable – the utility industry has begun focusing on customer services to build greater consumer engagement and loyalty.

This isn’t an overnight solution, however. The poles and wires approach many utilities take today follows the same methods used 100 years ago. Current utility infrastructures are in need of an update to be more responsive to customers.

While utilities worldwide are working to further engage with their customers, 2015 will prove that utilities need to adopt a consumer focused delivery model in order to achieve this new type of customer-focused success. In order to sustain, utilities will need to redefine the energy experience for customers.

Prediction one: Utilities will expand digital offerings due to customer demand.

Due to increased differentiation in the market, utilities are going to have to keep up with non-traditional competitors, such as Nest, SolarCity and NRG energy. Customers are already used to a high level of digital service and user experience from other service providers (airlines, banks, credit cards, Amazon) and utilities are increasingly going to be held to the same standards. The New Energy Consumer, a 2014 Accenture report, noted that 65% of customers experienced challenges while using their utilities digital channels. There is room for great improvement and positive business impact by improving and expanding utility digital offerings.

Prediction two: Utilities will transition from paper mailings to delivering personalized, frequent digital messages. By straying from standard paper bills, utilities will reduce costs and create a more personalized, interactive experience with customers through digital and online communication. Utilities will still deliver traditional paper reports, but they will be used primarily to drive customers online to build engagement with the utility and raise awareness of the online tools. These tools include alerting customers of their energy consumption, educating them on how, why and what they consumed, how they can consume less and offering easy-to-understand communication to help it all make sense.

Prediction three: Utilities will increase the range of experiences for customers, straying from the one-size-fits-all model. Customers want personalized information, not generic alerts and communications. Utilities will begin offering this through data they already possess, converting consumer energy usage data into personalized energy-saving recommendations and tips that will help customers understand how energy-savings translate into money savings, based on their home.

Prediction four: Utilities will begin to offer additional products and services, positioning themselves as the energy resource hub for consumers.

“Instead of just recommending energy-efficient appliances, utilities will begin offering customer-specific smart thermostats, furnaces and other personalized energy products and providing e-commerce solutions to become the sole energy source for their customers.”

The battle over customer satisfaction will soon be mission critical to the success of utilities. In order to own the energy experience, utilities will assume further involvement, through increasing consumer awareness and enabling the purchase of energy-saving products, such as household appliances.

In order to keep up with this dynamic market, utilities need to look at home automation (Internet of Things), smart thermostats such as Nest, and new tech entrants as an opportunity to pioneer within the market.

Energy Efficiency Standards are demanding a higher accountability from products, making a mutually beneficial relationship between utility and consumer a reality. Utilities must begin building mutually-beneficial partnerships within their customer base and the industry to successfully become this sole, trusted energy resource for customers.

3 Takeaways From European Utility Week 2014

Last week, six members of the Simple Energy team hopped on a plane – destination Amsterdam – for European Utility Week. The conference was three days full of presentations and meetings with 80+ utility companies from around the globe. We chatted about the industry and its future, while dabbling a bit in some Dutch beer. Our own Justin Segall took the stage and spoke on how utilities are applying behavioral science and consumer loyalty strategies to maximize customer engagement and reduce churn. The turnout was fantastic and the audience was incredibly engaged. It was a great opportunity for us to deliver the Simple Energy mission to motivate people to save energy.

The entire Simple Energy team had an incredible time being immersed in the industry we’re all so passionate about. Here are the three things from European Utility Week that stuck with us the most:

1. Customer Engagement is Getting Attention Across Europe. Throughout the show, we kept running into attendees who were talking about customer engagement more than we’ve heard at past conferences. There was an increased mindshare on how to gain new customers, how to engage them, and how to maintain them.

2. Customers Want Rapport, Not Reports. Many of the utilities we spoke with at the conference are starting to reevaluate traditional data display. It’s not clear that data itself is driving value for customers. Many expressed to us that they would like to see data used to drive customer actions in a sustained way, instead of just awareness through reports.

3. No One Has Mastered Loyalty Programs or Web Shops. Standalone loyalty programs and referral web shops have all provided mixed results to date. Many of the utilities we spoke with see the potential value for both customers and utilities in these types of offerings, but have not yet been able to deploy these programs in a way that has a significant impact on customer retention or increased margin per customer.

Check out more about European Utility Week 2014 here, and let us know what you think of the above takeaways in the comments section below.

Simple Energy Named in 2014 Global Cleantech 100’s Ones to Watch List

4) 2014 Global Cleantech 100's Ones to Watch E-Badge png -EMBARGOEDSimple Energy Named in 2014 Global Cleantech 100’s Ones to Watch List
List Recognizes Notable Private Companies in Clean Technology

Boulder, CO – (November 7, 2014)- Simple Energy, the rapidly growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company that uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people think about energy, announced it was named in the 2014 Global Cleantech 100’s Ones to Watch list. The list is produced by Cleantech Group, whose mission is to connect corporates to sustainable innovation through the i3 market intelligence platform, expert consulting services, and global events.

The inaugural Ones to Watch list seeks to highlight a group of upcoming companies that are catching the eye of leading players in the market. They are companies who did not quite have enough market support to make the 2014 Global Cleantech 100 list itself, and who have never been on a previous Global Cleantech 100 list, but who clearly carry pockets of strong support among key corporations, investors, and Cleantech Group analysts within the Cleantech Group’s Expert Panel. The Expert Panel consists of an influential group of 84 panelists who help determine the annual Global Cleantech 100 list. The diversity of panellists results in a list of companies that command an expansive base of respect and support from many important players within the global cleantech innovation ecosystem.

“The Global Cleantech 100 represents firms at the forefront of innovation for good, and we are honored and humbled to be recognized among those companies for our work in customer engagement,” said Yoav Lurie, Founder and CEO of Simple Energy. “Simple Energy exists to motivate people to save energy, and we’re fortunate to partner with some of the most forward-thinking utilities in the industry. Our product transforms energy consumption data into personalized digital experiences that inspire users to take action, and helps utility companies realize the potential of smart grid investments while building mutually valuable relationships with their customers.”

This year, a record number of nominations for the annual Global Cleantech 100 list were received: 5,995 distinct companies from 60 countries. These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 327 companies. Short-listed nominees were reviewed by Cleantech Group’s Expert Panel, resulting in both the Ones to Watch and Global Cleanteh 100 lists. To qualify for either list, companies must be independent, for-profit, and in the cleantech industry.

“We are excited to release a second list under the Global Cleantech 100 program, to recognise 60 other rising stars that, from the process we ran, we can see are catching the attention of some important players in the market,” said Richard Youngman, Cleantech Group’s Managing Director, Europe & Asia and creator of the Global Cleantech 100 program. “We look forward to following their progress, and hopefully seeing some of them graduate to future editions of the Global Cleantech 100.”

The complete list of the Global Cleantech 100’s Ones to Watch can be found at http://www.cleantech.com/indexes/global-cleantech-100/global-cleantech-100-ones-to-watch-3/

For more information on Simple Energy’s leadership within the cleantech space, access i3 by visiting i3connect.com—Cleantech Group’s leading market intelligence platform—and search for Simple Energy, or visit www.simpleenergy.com.

About Simple Energy
Simple Energy’s software as a service (“SaaS”) digital marketing platform uses behavioral science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people save energy and how utilities engage their customers. Located in Boulder, Colorado, Simple Energy is currently partnering with top tier utility customers across North America. Simple Energy is making energy efficiency fun, social, and rewarding. For more information visit www.SimpleEnergy.com and follow https://twitter.com/SimpleEnergy on Twitter.

About Cleantech Group
Founded in 2002, Cleantech Group’s mission is to accelerate sustainable innovation. Core to this mission is i3, an online platform that connects corporates with innovation, at scale, by allowing them to find, vet, and connect with start-ups—efficiently building an innovation pipeline. In conjunction with i3, we offer premium Advisory Services for corporates in need of expertise designing and executing strategies for sustainable innovation, and managing the pipeline created in i3. The i3 platform comes to life at our global Events, which convene corporates and start-ups, along with other players shaping the future of sustainable innovation.Cleantech Group is headquartered in San Francisco, and has offices in London and New York.For more information, visit: www.cleantech.com

Yvette Shirinian
Cleantech Group
Tel: +1 (415) 233-9712
Email: yvette.shirinian@cleantech.com

Lizzy Harris
Barokas Public Relations for Simple Energy

Horizon Utilities customers can now earn AIR MILES for conserving energy


Hamilton/St.Catharines, Ontario (24 October 2014) - Horizon Utilities Corporation, in partnership with Simple Energy, will deliver an online conservation and demand management pilot program that rewards residential customers with AIR MILES® reward miles for reducing their household energy use.

The online program is called Take Charge · Save Energy · Earn Rewards and runs for a year beginning October 24th. Funded by the Ontario Power Authority’s (OPA) Conservation Fund, this program aims to demonstrate how a virtual engagement platform can assist customers to manage their own electricity costs and support Horizon Utilities’ Conservation and Demand Management targets.

“Horizon Utilities places energy conservation and sustainable development at the heart of all we do. We are pleased to be working with OPA and Simple Energy on this innovative pilot program that combines behavioural science and technology as a way to engage our customers around energy conservation and to provide them with tools to assist with the management of their own electricity costs ” said Max Cananzi, President and CEO, Horizon Utilities.

The customers who are enrolled in the Take Charge · Save Energy · Earn Rewards program will receive a personalized weekly email on Energy Insight. Energy Insight reports will help customers make sense of their household energy consumption and provide customized insights based on smart meter data and usage comparisons to similar households. The program will enable engagement through a personalized customer dashboard using Simple Energy software. Participants will be able to track their household energy usage, view community leaderboard rankings, earn rewards and log the completion of energy saving tips online. AIR MILES reward miles will be posted to Collectors’ accounts for weeks that their household energy consumption is lower than past weeks with similar temperatures. AIR MILES reward miles will also be awarded when participants complete energy-saving tips and record performing other actions on their customer dashboard.

"Simple Energy transforms energy usage data into compelling messaging and engaging experiences that inspire people to take action. Horizon Utilities' customers can now earn AIR MILES reward miles for saving energy!" said Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder of Simple Energy.

About Horizon Utilities Corporation

Horizon Utilities Corporation is proud to be Canada’s first Sustainable Electricity CompanyTM, a designation of the Canadian Electricity Association. The company, which provides electricity and related utility services to 240,000 customers in Hamilton and St. Catharines, is one of the largest municipally owned electricity distribution companies in Ontario. In addition to triple bottom line reporting on its own operations, the company leverages its assets and resources to contribute to the sustainability of its communities. This includes conservation and demand management program implementation through energy mapping and a customer connection policy that follows smart growth principles. Horizon Utilities’ employees are committed to delivering a safe and reliable supply of electricity, providing

unparalleled customer value, and helping to create a culture of energy conservation in Ontario. The company has been named a Top 10 Employer in Hamilton-Niagara three years running. Learn more at horizonutilities.com or follow @HorizonLink.

Horizon Utilities’ Take Charge • Save Energy • Earn Rewards – September, 2014

About Simple Energy

Simple Energy’s software as a service (“SaaS”) digital marketing platform uses behavioural science, big data analytics, and digital marketing techniques to change how people save energy and how utilities engage their customers. Located in Boulder, Colorado, Simple Energy is currently partnering with top tier utility customers across North America. Simple Energy is making energy efficiency social, fun, and simple. For more information visit www.SimpleEnergy.com.

About the OPA

The Ontario Power Authority is responsible for ensuring a reliable, sustainable supply of electricity for Ontario. Its key areas of focus are planning the power system for the long term, leading and coordinating conservation initiatives across the province, and ensuring development of needed generation resources. The Conservation Fund supports new and innovative electricity conservation initiatives, to help Ontario’s residents, businesses and institutions cost-effectively reduce their demand for electricity.

About the AIR MILES Reward Program

Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program with more than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to earn reward miles simply by doing their everyday shopping at more than 240 leading brand-name Sponsors, representing thousands of retail and service locations across Canada and leading global brands online. The AIR MILES Reward Program also allows Collectors to indulge in more than 1,200 leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and a range of accredited, environmentally friendly lifestyle rewards. With AIR MILES Cash, Collectors can also have the flexibility to instantly redeem their AIR MILES reward miles in-store towards many every day and high value purchases like gas, grocery, drug store items and home improvement purchases at participating Sponsors.

Gamification for Utilities: Captivating Customers with Energy Information

Whenever I plan a trip to an energy conference, such as tomorrow’s Emerging Technologies Summit, I end up entering  my frequent flier information as part of the booking. And when that happens, I’m reminded of how airline miles programs have become a huge part of booking travel. Some people spend hours every week playing the miles and points game to maximize their rewards balances – and nearly every frequent traveler participates in at least one airline points program. It does make traveling a bit more fun and rewarding.

The same concept applies to energy. Think about it. Which of these options sounds more appealing? Option A: Reducing your energy usage to conserve energy; or option B:  Reducing your energy usage to conserve energy and being entered to win an iPad Mini, as well as receiving reward points that can be accumulated and redeemed for gift cards. Option B is a no brainer. This concept is known as gamification – the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems, and it’s something every company can leverage in their customer engagement strategies.

Take this study as an example: The University of Washington designed a game that burn wound victims play while they go through painful treatments, and clinical trials showed that game play sharply reduced patients’ pain levels and anxiety, and that it was more effective than morphine. That’s right – just playing a well-designed game was engaging enough that it reduced pain more than morphine.

Another example: Stanford University’s virtual reality lab, VHIL, set up a virtual reality game where research patients were given a chainsaw to cut down trees. After participants experienced cutting down a virtual tree, they used 20% less paper products compared to participants who simply read a print description of deforestation. The interactive, virtual experience drove internalized, sustained behavior change. These examples show how incredibly absorbing and engaging games can be.

So how are we at Simple Energy using gamification? As part of our platform, we analyze customers’ energy consumption, account, and publicly available data and transform that data into points, rankings, and rewards. The data morphs from numbers and graphs that appeal to one already-engaged segment of the population to a compelling experience that attracts and engages many segments. One in which customers are empowered to change their behavior, track their progress and receive rewards. And the best part – it is not only fun, it produces real impact.

Our results: a less than 0.1% unsubscribe rate from our weekly emails, 30-40% of customers opening the emails every week, 65% of customers reporting learning helpful energy-saving tips, and energy efficiency results 2-3 times higher than other programs.   One example: customers who signed up for demand response alerts with rewards messaging reduced energy use during peak periods by an average of 10x compared to default messaging.

As these studies show, there is an incredible amount of power in play. Companies are constantly looking for ways to increase their customers’ engagement, motivate their customers to take action, and engage a broad range of people – and it’s critical to include gamification as part of an engagement strategy.

I’ll be speaking more on gamification for utilities at the Emerging Technologies Summit in San Francisco tomorrow, October 21st at 12pm. Hope to see you there!

If you’d like to learn more about gamification and how it can impact energy usage, there’s much more information here.

Dinosaurs, corporations, and the changing utility business model.

dino (1)

How to explain gaps in a fossil record? The theory of punctuated equilibrium – first proffered by paleontologists Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould in 1972 in response to a puzzling absence of transitory dinosaur fossils – suggests that evolution does not occur gradually over long periods of time (phyletic gradualism). Rather, punctuated equilibrium holds that species exhibit long periods of little or no change (stasis), followed by rapid, dramatic evolutionary change in response to environmental stressors.

Whether you buy the biology or not, there are strong historical paradigms that make the case for punctuated equilibrium as an industry and business reality – think the longstanding dominance and subsequent painful bankruptcy of Kodak in the digital age or the rapid decline of Akron’s tire makers (Firestone, Uniroyal, and B.F. Goodrich) in the face of new radial technology. What ought to be troubling for observers is that none of the aforementioned firms responded to changes in their business environments by doing nothing. Rather, their response was (understandably) a recommitment to those commercial practices which had made them successful in the past, and it was precisely that response that killed them. The very formulas which had enabled their fortune in prior years blinded them to the need for transformative change.

As a counter example, consider the telephone industry – in response to the introduction of new technology (cell phones) which posed a significant risk to their business, traditional providers pivoted to launch and grow their cellular business while shrinking their landline investments.

No mental gymnastics required to guess where this is headed. Utilities in the US and abroad are facing a new business environment: increasingly liberalized markets, new technology entrants, and dismal customer relationships (according to a recent Accenture study, less than one quarter of consumers trust their utilities).

Like the tire makers and Kodak, their response to date has been to repeat the strategies of years past: cut operational costs, use regulatory dollars on short-sighted programs, and extend their contracts with the same vendors that have produced consistent (albeit low) results. Given the industry’s appetite for risk, it’s not surprising that utilities look to precedent (their own, or their peers’) rather than innovate.

Environmental stressors abound: Barclays’ downgrade of electric utility bonds, falling demand, and the rise of distributed generation all underscore the problem with sticking to tried and true strategies. The commercial outlook for traditional investor-owned utilities is dim, but not apocalyptic. On the contrary – large-scale change in the utility business environment provides the opportunity to build more customer-centric (and ultimately more profitable) utility companies. Forward-leaning utilities – the ones that will survive in the brave new world – will look to fundamentally transform their relationships with their most important commercial asset: their customers.
Ready to transform your customer relationships? So are we. Get in touch at Solutions@SimpleEnergy.com

By Lilly Skolnik