According to a new article in T&D World, renewables, smart homes, AI and IoT will have a massive impact on how energy and utility companies address the market in 2018.

In the case of smart homes, smart meters enable customers to monitor and calculate their energy consumption and make changes to conserve and reduce costs. As the proliferation of this technology continues, consumers will be in a stronger position to demand more flexibility in service. HomeServe is cited as an example of companies that provide flexibility.

“One example of companies leveraging this demand for increased flexibility is HomeServe, a one-stop digital service company providing emergency and energy services to the home. Through its monthly digital subscription model, the company supplies services to over 7.8 million homes in the UK and over 3 million homes in the US—including energy services, boilers and meters through third-party suppliers. HomeServe itself owns no energy assets, but with its strong customer service and simple payment models generating powerful loyalty and revenue, service providers like HomeServe could soon become energy providers as customer-centric energy provision booms.”

In addition to desire for increased flexibility, there are other trends that are leading utilities to consider offering home protection programs to customers.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Have $0 Set Aside for Unexpected Emergencies

As part of its latest State of the Home Survey, HomeServe, a leading provider of repair service plans, discovered potentially worrisome trends about consumer saving and spending habits. The twice annual survey, now in its fourth edition, reports on the financial impact of home repairs and energy use facing Americans. The survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe from March 6-8, 2017, among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 (31 percent) Americans don’t have at least $500 set aside to cover an unexpected emergency expense
  • Americans believe car repairs (52 percent), medical emergencies (49 percent) or home repair emergencies (42 percent) could cause an unexpected expense for them in the next 12 months
  • If they had an extra $1,000, the top 3 things Americans would put the funds toward are paying down credit card debt or loans (24 percent), building personal savings (19 percent) or taking a vacation or trip (16 percent)

Aging Americans wish to remain independent and in their own homes

According to U.S. Census data, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is expected to rise 35 percent from 2010 to 2020, and a growing trend for this population is “aging in place.” A comprehensive study on this subject by AARP explains, “this means to grow old in the home where one raised children or in another non-institutional setting in the community. During a lifetime, people develop connections to place and form relationships with neighbors, doctors, hairdressers and shopkeepers. They become intimately familiar with the route to downtown, the rhythm of summer concerts at the band shell park, the best places to get a coveted burger and personalized greeting. These associations, of value to both the individual and the community, cannot be quickly or easily replicated in a new environment. In essence, they can play a pivotal role in successful aging.”

Home warranties address several important aspect of safely aging in place:

Proactive attention to a problem – a person with a plan is more apt to call for service on a small problem before the issue becomes worse, and potentially dangerous. Once on-site contractors can check other systems to ensure there are no additional issues and if any are discovered they can be fixed immediately.

Expeditious response – while it may take days for a contractor from the phone book to arrive, a home protection plan company has a defined and short response time

Careful screening/vetting – home protection plans provide consumers access to fully-vetted, licensed and insured local contractors.  This dramatically reduces the risk related to allowing a stranger into one’s home, particularly for elderly people living alone.

A partnership with HomeServe brings your customers emergency home repair plans that deliver best-in-class service from rigorously vetted local contractors. Learn more about how a partnership can benefit utilities and their customers at www.homeserveutility.com.