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 October 27, 2015 - 12:00 AM EDT
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Cogent Reports: Robust Demand for Utility Energy Consumption Management Programs

DTE Energy, PPL Electric Utilities, SRP and three others named top energy consumption product providers

Energy consumption management programs are in high demand according to a study by Cogent Reports™, a division of Market Strategies International. Capturing this demand, however, is proving to be challenging for most of the nation’s utilities. The few utilities that have achieved high levels of awareness and usage are not only meeting customer needs, they are benefitting from associated lifts in customer satisfaction trust. These and other findings are included in The New Energy Consumption Management Market™ report.

When asked about their level of interest across eight consumption management programs, the majority of utility customers (83% on average) express interest in at least one program. Interest is highest for appliance rebates (61%) and time-of-use incentives (59%) and about 1 in 2 customers expressing interest in digital tools.

Very few utilities, meanwhile, have managed to capture this demand. With the exception of mail-based energy usage analysis, which itself struggles to reach 20%, most programs are currently utilized by less than 10% of consumers nationwide. Low usage levels can be tied to the fact that most consumers have heard of only one type of program, and one in three (37%) are unaware of any programs offered by their local utility.

“While clearly the goal should be to increase program usage, merely increasing interest provides significant benefits to utilities,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. “Utilities that successfully educate customers about the features and benefits of consumption management programs get a boost in customer satisfaction and trust levels.”

Further hampering utilities’ ability to maximize adoption of consumption management programs is the fact that most customers lack a sense of urgency. While upwards of 50% of customers are interested in programs once made aware, very few say they are likely to adopt programs in the next six months.

“We have found that utilities that approach energy consumption management programs with traditional product management discipline have the greatest immediate demand and product usage experience for these programs,” Oberle continued. “This includes planning, budgeting and managing a targeted marketing effort like any retail company would.”

The study not only explores awareness and usage of—as well as interest in—consumption management programs, but further assesses customers’ perceptions of their local utility on its efforts to educate, motivate and deliver on programs. A small number of utilities in each region of the country have managed to achieve high awareness and usage levels as well as accolades from their customers on three of the eleven metrics, including clearly explaining the programs they offer, having programs that are easy to enroll in, and making information on programs easily accessible.

    Clearly explains     Makes it easy to enroll     Makes information on
programs offered in or start programs programs easily
East     PPL Electric Utilities     PPL Electric Utilities     PPL Electric Utilities
West     Salt River Project*

Southwest Gas*

    Southwest Gas*

Salt River Project*

    Salt River Project*
Midwest     DTE Energy

Columbus Gas of Ohio

    DTE Energy

Columbus Gas of Ohio

    Columbus Gas of Ohio
South     CPS Energy*     CPS Energy*     CPS Energy

* National Leader

About The New Energy Consumption Management Market

Cogent Reports, a division of Market Strategies, interviewed a national sample of 25,812 consumers aged 20+ between January 1 and June 30, 2015. Respondents were recruited from opt-in online panels of US. Strict quotas based on US census data were used to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Due to its opt-in nature, this online panel (like most others) does not yield a random probability sample of the target population. As such, it is not possible to compute a margin of error or to statistically quantify the accuracy of projections. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of all survey questions upon request.

The report is designed to help utilities understand and improve adoption of energy consumption and smart energy technology among residential customers. The report explores awareness and usage of—as well as interest in—a variety of programs nationally, by region and across individual utilities. Most importantly, the report quantifies the impact consumption management programs have on four critical metrics, including customer engagement, operational satisfaction, product experience and brand trust. Topics and programs covered include Smart Meters, energy efficiency rebates, energy audits, rooftop solar incentives, energy tools, home network devices, and communication to manage energy use.

Market Strategies International
Anne Fallon Denz, 617.715.7611

Source: Business Wire (October 27, 2015 - 12:00 AM EDT)

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