Originally posted on CenterPoint Energy’s website.
Houston – Aug. 24, 2018 – CenterPoint Energy today announced it has added seven new Home Services protection plans to its current natural gas pipe and air conditioning offerings. These optional plans are available to eligible CenterPoint Energy natural gas customers in Texas.
The company has partnered with HomeServe USA Corp. (HomeServe), a provider of emergency home repair programs nationwide, to offer its Texas natural gas customers the option of purchasing protections plans from HomeServe for several household systems, including cooling systems, customer-owned natural gas lines, electric wiring, exterior water and sewer lines, water heaters, heating system and air conditioner tune ups.
“Thousands of natural gas customers in Texas have responded positively to the program by enrolling in the cooling systems and natural gas pipes protection plans,” said Gregg Knight, senior vice president and Chief Customer Officer of CenterPoint Energy. “We’re expanding our services to customers by adding seven new protection plans to the current offerings.”
These optional service plans are designed to help protect homeowners from the inconvenience and unexpected expenses associated with normal wear and tear repairs to these critical household systems. The new seven protection plans include covered repairs due to damage from normal wear and tear, subject to various maximum benefit amounts:
- Exterior Electric Repair for $5.49 per month – Includes weatherhead, insulator, riser, meter base and service entrance conductor repairs.
- Interior Electric for $6.99 per month – Includes inside electric lines damaged, such as amp panels, wiring failures and faulty GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets, and more.
- Water Service Line for $5.99 per month – Covers leaking or blocked water service lines from the home’s outer wall to the property boundary.
- Sewer/Septic Line for $9.99 per month – Covers leaking or blocked sewer or septic service lines from the home’s outer wall to the property boundary.
- Water Heater for $9.99 for one or $18.99 for two – Covers repairs or replacement of a tank-based electric, natural gas or propane water heater.
- Heating System for $13.99 per month – Covers one natural gas/propane or electric heating system.
- Cooling System Tune-Up for $8.99 per month – Includes one 18-point tune-up for your cooling system. Up to four plans may be purchased to cover four cooling systems.
“CenterPoint Energy prides itself on being a trusted energy advisor, so we are pleased to work with HomeServe to provide our customers access to these new valuable services,” added Knight. “These new service plans are a natural extension and will provide homeowners with a low-cost, peace-of mind option for unexpected repairs to covered systems.”
The cost of the plans will be added to customers’ monthly natural gas bill. Customers can get more information and enroll via My Account Online or by contacting the CenterPoint Energy Houston call center at 1-800-752-8036.
Existing Protection Plans: Natural Gas Pipe and Air Conditioning
- Natural Gas Pipe Protection for $5.49 per month – Many homeowners are unaware they are responsible for the repair of any damage to the natural gas service lines from the meter to their appliances.
- Air Conditioner Protection for $8.49 per month – Allows homeowners to have a trusted team of local contractors to quickly and expertly restore comfort in case of a cooling system breakdown.
Our partner, HomeServe, offers emergency home repair programs nationwide, has a customer service line open 24/7, and has a 99 percent customer satisfaction rating* from customers surveyed after receiving service. More information about the plans can be found at CenterPointEnergy.com/HomeServices.
*Data based on customer polls conducted between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, 48 hours or more after service was performed.
State after state is deregulating electricity, forcing utilities to offer lower prices to be competitive with retail providers. Homes boasting more energy efficiency and a growing interest in green technology flattens load growth, and many energy utilities have sought new revenue through value-added services.
Utilities that are recognizable, trusted brands with broad consumer relationships are in a unique position to offer services that will improve customer satisfaction and retention. Studies show customers want choice, so offering services customers can choose to participate in increases their satisfaction, and J.D. Power has found increased customer satisfaction means improved ROE.
Innovative Energy Sources
The proliferation of electric-hungry devices and smart home technology has increased demand for energy, but emerging technologies make it easier and cheaper than ever for homeowners to incorporate green energy. Solar panel prices have dropped more than 70 percent since 2009, and saw an increase in global implementation by 50 percent in 2016.
Device-addicted Millennials, who spend 90 hours a month using smartphone apps – also have the greatest interest in smart homes. Eighty-six percent are willing to pay up to 20 percent more in mortgage or rental payments for smart home technology, such as smart thermostats, according to a Wakefield Research study. Millennials have also passed Baby Boomers as the largest component of the U.S. workforce, and are interested in green energy. Fifty-six percent indicated a desire to incorporate solar panels, according to an Accenture consumer survey.
The stage has been set for partnerships between utilities and affinity partners in offering new services to customers, between technological advances and grid modernization. Value-added services can fall under three main categories: energy services, home services and information services. Energy services can include items as simple as surge protection, lighting, weatherproofing or as complex as energy storage and electric vehicle charging.
Energy services goes hand-in-hand with information services, such as home energy management systems, energy reports and real-time usage information through analysis of smart meter data. Customers can manage consumption and costs through real-time data. Fifty percent of Millennials will pay more for real-time information and 61 percent want an app that remotely monitors their energy usage and controls home elements.
Home services is a developing market that includes home inspection, landscaping, emergency home repair plans and bundled services, such as home security systems. Utilities can use collected data to anticipate customer needs and move into that space before startups.
Home Repair Plans Popular Value-Added Services
Customers who received an emergency home repair plan through their utility rated their provider higher than those who didn’t have policies. This was an increase of 40 percent for gas providers and 36 percent for electric providers, according to a HomeServe USA survey. In addition, 59 percent of those who don’t currently have policies would have an improved opinion of their utility provider if they did offer a repair plan, while more than half said it would be appropriate for their utility to offer one. More than 80 percent said a utility should inform customers what repairs won’t be covered by the utility.
Utility companies have a leg up on services in all of these areas through their connections to customers’ homes and the huge amount of data collected regularly. Investing in value-added services can increase operating margins and reduce attrition.
HomeServe USA partners with utility providers to offer home warranties, complementing other energy services offerings and providing reliable and convenient repair services for home electric, gas, water and sewer lines. To find out how HomeServe can expand your home services offerings, contact us.
As utilities seek new ways to more deeply engage customers, they are looking at branded online marketplaces for energy services. With a significant number of millennials now making energy decisions, this strategy is one that will resonate with more and more energy consumers in the coming years. A new Utility Dive article discusses some early results from PG&E’s online marketplace.
A partnership with HomeServe enables utilities to offer their customers valuable repair plans for electric service line, water heaters and other home systems. HomeServe can provide protection to utility customers who aren’t prepared for an emergency repair and increase customer satisfaction at the same time – at no cost to partner utilities.