Insights from our Editorial Team
Systems integration still a work in progress
Utilities sold regulators and public on interval meters and its underlying systems partly as a means to improve outage management. But systems integration and data mashups to get there may be delaying such benefits. An Accenture executive describes current work in this area.
What if engagement = revenue?
Customer service is considered a cost center and innovations in that area look to efficiencies, traditionally. But what if new metrics for satisfaction actually created value for the utility through customer involvement in revenue-related behavior? A paper explores the possibilities.
Industry group: monetize the balancing function
There's a natural tension between the innovations created by vendors and the constraints that bind their customers. Today we hand the floor to one element of the energy storage community: the Coalition to Advance Renewable Energy Through Bulk Storage or CAREBS.
AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference serves up Texas-sized portion of information
In Fort Worth, Texas, this week, electric and gas utility customer service executives from across the country shared experiences and learned new approaches to engaging customers. Intelligent Utility magazine editor-in-chief Kate Rowland joined them, and reports back.
One advocate argues that economics will drive it
As more distributed resources connect to the grid, the more the grid itself will become a secondary feature, with generation and transmission serving as a backup system, argues one advocate of distributed generation. Economics and the American devotion to self-sufficiency will drive this trend, one that utilities can lead or trail. Some are, some aren't.
Business models are basic; will alternatives overtake them?
If business models precede technology roadmaps, then utilities should be aware of the alternatives being pursued by groups dedicated to a paradigm of decentralized power. In the latter case, falling costs create a rising tide that can float utilities' boats or sink them.
Customers maintain interest in offers, if offered
An annual, global Accenture study paints a portrait of electricity customers worldwide, with American consumers in context. Guess what? They're open to offers, if utilities make them offers. The study identifies opportunities, if utilities can seize the day.
Customers also consider alternatives, third parties
Utilities are moving quickly to secure a relationship with their customers before those customers develop a keen interest in alternatives to centralized power, perhaps aided by third parties. Utilities can lead change or fight it. In fact, they're doing both.
Effort to cut costs, raise satisfaction, seeks payoff
A team of customer service representatives at Ameren Missouri is gradually transitioning from traditional roles to new "energy advisors" who can engage, educate and satisfy customers with questions that go beyond billing, outages and other traditional CSR duties. A lot utilities are talking about it; Ameren Missouri is doing it. Read on.
Ensuring quality and depth of the utility customer's experience
There's a new ROE in the electric utility field. We all know about "return on equity." Next week, at the 2012 AGA/EEI Customer Service Conference & Exposition in Fort Worth, Texas, speaker Roy Barnes, of Blue Space Consulting, will talk about a different, customer-focused ROE -- "return on experience."