Utilities are moving away from a one-way distribution model and their traditional role as energy providers. Instead, they are focusing on customer centric solutions, such as offering digital and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) services and real-time energy efficiency insights. This transformation has given rise to new, advanced technologies and entirely customer-centric business models.

Here are four articles that you should read about centering on customers and offering new services:

Power Technology: Innovation and Customer Focus Are Key if Utilities Are to Retain Clients

As more start-ups enter the energy space and new technologies change how services are delivered and what customers expect, utilities have the unique assets and opportunities to offer a personal, customer-centric experience. The industry is growing into one that envisions and implements innovative technology that solves customers’ problems.

“Utility companies are now developing products that are geared more towards what customers want and need. They are now focusing on customer feedback and surveys and are generating customer-friendly products. Utilities are now developing smart platforms that are driven by real-time customers’ experience data. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based home energy management, payment/transaction management and other product-based services are offered in addition to electricity.”

EE Online: A Vision of the Customer-Centric Grid by Bradley Williams

Customers are asking for more – and asking for it now as the relationship between customers and their energy providers changes. Interest in smart devices, energy management systems and distributed energy resources continues to increase, and utilities need to have the right technology and assets in addition to a long-term plan to address these growing markets. 

“The evolution of the customer experience means customers now want from their utility providers the same instant access to the most up-to-date information on the platform of their choice that they receive from other service providers. Additionally, the customer has historically been a more passive consumer of the product provided by the utility, whether that is electricity, natural gas, or water. But with the immense growth of grid-connected, customer-owned distributed energy resources and technologies, in particular, this is no longer the case with electric utilities. Active customer participation is putting the customer at the center of the grid equation like never before, and a fundamentally different approach to the electricity distribution grid is needed to accommodate this change.

Green Tech Media: Bundled Energy Is (Finally) Ready for Prime Time in the U.S.

Customers are looking for more than a provider-rate payer experience. They’re looking for bundled products and services, including as-a-service subscription models. Companies outside the utility sphere have noticed customers’ hunger for energy efficiency, and they’re disrupting the market. However, they don’t have the data utilities have to analyze and optimize those bundles.   

“For example, Narod points to Bell Canada offering commercial customers emerging internet-of-things solutions that help manage energy consumption and costs. The potential benefits of these more expansive bundles of products and services are especially obvious for overextended small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners.

“‘What this really does is unlock the SMB sector, because you have owners of a restaurant franchise, and all they care about is serving more meals at their five locations,’ said Narod. ‘If I’m that person, I know I have to buy electricity and security, but I don’t have time to research a building controls program. It opens the door for an offer from someone they already do business with and trust.’”

Rocky Mountain Institute: Customer-Centric Energy Transformation: How One Vermont Utility Is Leading the Charge by Mike Henchen

The energy industry is in the middle of a sea change from the traditional cost-of-service model to fast, flexible and smart – both in analytics and in devices. This article looks at suites of innovative products that address customers’ interest in energy efficiency, green technology and resiliency and help them take control of their usage, offered by Green Mountain Power.

“At first glance, Vermont and GMP may appear unique, with ambitious energy transformation and clean energy goals and a unique culture. But in fact, the challenges of declining energy sales, disruptive DER technologies, and clean energy goals face many states and utilities across the country. Utilities beyond Vermont can test and adopt elements of GMP’s customer-centric strategy for driving the electricity system transformation. Utilities facing declining load forecasts may find value in creating new electrification offerings to accelerate fuel switching and support lower carbon options for space heating, water heating, and mobility.”

Utilities are poised to turn these services into new, largely unregulated revenue streams as the industry demands more customer centric solutions. There are big changes coming to the industry, but, with them, equally large opportunities.

Utilities are looking for opportunities to connect more deeply with customers. HomeServe helps to improve customer engagement for our utility partners through the integration of complementary home protection programs with utility initiatives such as energy efficiency and safety, offering customers greater access and choice. Partnership allows the utility to leverage HomeServe’s marketing and communications expertise to educate their customers through a variety of channels. For more information, contact us.