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Utilities Need to Change the Conversation about Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency: it’s great for our monthly budgets, it’s great for the energy grid, and it’s a great way to help the environment. So why aren’t homeowners spending the time and money to make basic energy improvements in their homes? Energy efficiency is challenging to sell to customers who want something that’s more visual or tangible. Unfortunately, consumers don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on energy efficiency. The truth is, homeowners are more likely to buy a new granite counter top than update to LED lighting.

According to Utility Dive, it may be time to rethink how we talk about energy efficiency. With a KSV study showing that 86% of homeowners believe that the world is better off because of energy efficiency, people don’t need to be sold on the idea or lectured about energy efficiency. Instead of lectures, consumers needs to be guided on the steps they can make to become more energy-efficient.

How and when a utility interacts with consumers is critical to motivate consumers to change their habits. The average consumer spends an estimated nine minutes a year talking with their utility. Instead of growing this time, utilities are looking to expand personalization and engagement. In a recent pilot program between Bidgely and Pacific Gas & Electric, new efficiency and engagement platforms returned an almost 8% energy savings and high customer satisfaction. The pilot program included real-time alerts and high-bill or consumption warnings that motivated consumers to reduce power consumption. Essentially, it’s time for utilities to modernize their efforts in order to talk to consumers in a new way.

Customers, especially younger homeowners, are looking for control as well as higher levels of information and engagement with the services they consume. This has already been done by the financial industry and the cell phone industry, but it’s not common for utilities. When utilities change the way they interact with their customers, energy efficiency can become a higher priority.

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