Are Your Customers Aware of Your Energy Efficiency Programs?

Maintaining customer satisfaction and driving program participation are at the top of mind for every utility. In today’s busy and digital world, it’s becoming even more challenging to reach utility customers online, particularly seniors and low-income households. Only 3% of customers are “very” aware of their utility’s energy efficiency programs and utilities generally only interact digitally with less than a third of all of their customers. What’s more daunting is that utilities only have email addresses for less than half of their customers.

If program participation increases satisfaction, and online approach doesn’t capture customers, how do utilities engage their customers?

EnergySavvy’s Engage drives awareness and customer satisfaction, picking up where online engagement leads off. Our Direct Mail Assessment garners a 10x higher response rate than average direct mail and an 11% higher customer satisfaction rate.

Read the infographic to find out more!

PSEG Long Island and Arizona Public Service Use Analytics to Drive Faster Insights

One of the most promising areas of customer analytics is in distributed energy resources. Increasingly utilities are asking themselves how they can use data-driven customer intelligence to increase customer value and better manage costs. APS Program Optimization Scorecard
Some of the common questions include:

  • How do we get faster insights to accurately understand energy efficiency savings?
  • How do we combine project, rebate, and usage data to manage our trade ally networks?
  • How do we boost top performers and manage risk?
  • How do we use data to save money and provide a better customer experience while managing quality assurance procedures?
  • Can we tap into the competitiveness of our trade allies and drive higher quality work through scorecards?
  • How can we minimize regulatory lag and demonstrate progress?

While most of the industry is beginning to take advantage of these opportunities, today EnergySavvy is pleased to share two new case studies of utilities making tremendous strides in solving these very questions. Both Arizona Public Service and PSEG Long Island have deployed EnergySavvy’s Quantify analytics product. Each has different goals but both make use of its powerful analytics that create rapid insights where previously feedback took months or years. It’s an honor to work with APS and PSEG Long Island to advance the industry.

PSEG LI M&V 2.0 Dashboard
For those who are in the early stages of their M&V 2.0 or program optimization strategies, you might want to check out DTE Energy’s paper presented at the recent ACEEE conference. They describe the vendor landscape in this field and we’re honored that they’re also a Quantify client.

Read the APS case study and PSEG Long Island case study.

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Two Must-See Events on M&V 2.0 at ACEEE Summer Study

ACEEE

By: Tim Guiterman, Director of Quantify Solutions

All summer long, I’ve been jealous of my kids as they go to various summer camps, full of fun activities, sunshine, enrichment and the potential make new friendships and connections. Well, now it’s time for the adults to join in the fun! Next week marks the start of a week-long summer camp for energy efficiency geeks, better known as the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study, a bi-annual conference held on the beautiful Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA.

This year’s conference is especially important as it follows on the heels of two groundbreaking white papers on the role of new technologies in the field of evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V), better known as EM&V 2.0 (or M&V 2.0). One of the reports was by ACEEE and the other by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) EM&V Forum.

At next week’s conference, there are two sessions that are directly relevant to the industry trend around EM&V 2.0. The first is a presentation by DTE Energy on Monday at 10:30AM, as part of Panel 2 (Residential Buildings). DTE Energy will be discussing their M&V 2.0 pilot with EnergySavvy, focusing on how continuous monitoring of energy and demand savings can enhance their evaluation efforts and add value to their portfolio.

The second is being led by Ellen Franconi from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) on Tuesday afternoon from 2-4PM, and I’ll be one of several co-hosts for this “informal session.” We are all part of an active working group aiming to help the EE industry understand the benefits of M&V 2.0 and why it is important to utilities, evaluators, regulators, implementers and related stakeholders.

So if you’re also packing your trunk and heading off to camp next week, please mark these two events on your calendar and let’s be sure to connect. If you’re not attending Summer Study, stay tuned for a summary of the discussions by subscribing to our blog!

5 Surprisingly Wonderful Regulatory Developments, Explained in 60 Seconds

So far 2016 has been a banner year for important actions at public utility commissions. Several significant policy decisions and activities are paving the way for the innovation at electric and gas utilities and moving demand-side operations into the 21st century. Hats off to everyone working on these exciting efforts – these are great steps forward!

Illinois and New York

MAPThe  New York Commission ordered that utilities can capitalize software as a service subscription fees, making clear that regulators support a level playing field for software, whether on premise or in the Cloud. This order follows the lead of the Illinois Commission which is also writing new rules to account for utility purchases of cloud software.

New York

A new utility commission order for New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision instructs utilities that credit they receive for energy savings above targets must be measured by Evaluation, Measurement and Verification (EM&V) 2.0 tools. This class of real-time measurement software will provide the proof utilities need to claim greater savings than their goals.

California

The California Public Utility Commission approved a groundbreaking new pay-for-performance program for residential energy efficiency. The approval allows for EM&V 2.0 software to measure the savings. The software must use rigorous methods that incorporate relevant comparison groups to accurately measure savings.

Virginia

A report by Synapse Energy Economics filed with the Virginia commission recommends Virginia utilities to jointly develop EM&V 2.0 pilot projects for the residential and commercial sector to assess a number of benefits to EM&V, market assessment, program delivery, process evaluation, and program planning.

Dev Notes: Our Tech Stack

When conducting an interview for the EnergySavvy engineering team, the question we hear most frequently is “Where’s your bathroom?” But the second-most-frequent question has got to be “What’s your stack?” We experiment with new tools, but we also keep a shared set of favorites—standbys that we’re familiar with. Below we’ve assembled a snapshot of the tools devs reach for most often to power EnergySavvy’s solutions.

Back-end

  • Python: All of our back-end software and services are written in Python. We’re currently making the transition from Python 2 to 3.

  • Flask: For building microservices, our preferred microframework is Flask. You could almost say it follows a “batteries not included” philosophy, which makes it particularly well-suited for simple services.

  • Django: For everything else, there’s Django. It follows more of a “batteries, and most everything else, included” philosophy.

  • Voluptuous: When not using Django’s built-in form validation, we use Voluptuous to validate data coming into Python as JSON, YAML, etc.

  • Tox: Whether running tests in dev or continuous integration, we want to create test environments in a reproducible manner. That’s where Tox comes in.

  • Mock: We write a lot of automated tests at EnergySavvy. That sometimes requires mocking things out. Fortunately the Python standard library provides Mock for just such a purpose.

  • SQLAlchemy Core: For cases where we need to talk to a relational database but aren’t using Django’s ORM, there’s SQLAlchemy.

  • PostgreSQL: We use Postgres for traditional relational persistence needs.

  • ElasticSearch: As a secondary data store for searching and filtering, ElasticSearch works great.

Front-end

  • Babel: We transpile our ES2015 JavaScript, the language formerly known as ES6.

  • React: All the cool kids are using React. We use it because it lets us very expressively create modern web UI in declarative, reusable ways.

  • Redux: We often need a little state management when doing React.

  • Jasmine: Some companies use Mocha. We find that Jasmine’s assertions are less magical.

  • webpack: At build time, we bundle up our JavaScript with webpack.

  • Sass: Billed as “CSS with superpowers”.

  • lodash: When needed. ES2015 provides a lot of nice functionality, which means that often, You Might Not Need lodash™.

Infrastructure and Tooling

  • Mercurial: Some say Mercurial is the Betamax of the distributed version control world. To that, we say: abort: push creates new remote heads! We actually like Mercurial’s command-line UI and branching model versus other options like git.

  • Review Board: You get very good at code reviews at EnergySavvy. Because there are a lot of them.

  • JIRA: Tickets, epics, sprints. General agile stuff.

  • Bamboo: This is where we do continuous integration and build deployable artifacts of our software for continuous delivery.

  • Ansible: We employ Ansible for both provisioning and deployment.

  • Ubuntu: Our servers run Ubuntu. Many of our devs run it locally as well, although many prefer Macs.

Hopefully that gives you a better picture of the stack we use at EnergySavvy. Note that our set of technologies does change and evolve over time. We try to keep our minds open to new components, evaluating each contender in light of our current needs. And we try to avoid adopting something just because it’s new or shiny. In fact, we have an informal process for evaluating and adopting new parts of our stack – a post for another time!