The 3 most common utility customer personalities and ways to empower them

Technology

(This piece was originally published in NET2GRID's blog by Mirka Karra, NET2GRID's Brand Journalist)

Although in the past, it used to be that consumers were focusing on reliability when choosing their energy providers, today, priorities have shifted with awareness and engagement being amongst the most important driving factors. Comfort, honesty, sustainability and digitalization are of paramount importance when a consumer chooses its energy provider.

However, as end-users personalities and drivers vary, energy providers increasingly realize the need to diversify their offerings, catering to the specific needs of each customer group. By offering tailor-made services to their clients, utilities increase their loyal customers and grow.

Below we analyze the three most common utility customer personalities and ways to empower them.

The Interested-if-Triggered

The greatest proportion of utility end-users belong to the so-called ‘’sleeping base’’. These are mainly, cost-driven consumers that although partially aware of their energy usage, have not been motivated yet enough to capitalize on it. These are the consumers who are more prone to shift to a new energy provider if triggered, as they do not have strong ties with the existing ones. As comfort and flexibility are of great importance to them, they are reluctant to make big changes. Having family as a priority and a low-to-middle income to manage, a key driver for them might be a positive change that can be undertaken to save money and the planet for future generations.

The starting point has to be a simple, engaging solution that will enable them to get control of their electricity consumption and save money, for example, by detecting their energy-guzzling appliances. They would be satisfied to find out how their energy can be analyzed easily, with minimum effort, via a mobile app and receive recommendations and advice without losing comfort to prevent bill shock at the end of the year. NET2GRID Engage Service can unlock these opportunities by leveraging smart meter data, which utilities already possess in abundance. The data is then processed and offered back to consumers in the form of digestible energy insights.

The Aware

Being aware of their energy usage and having gained control over it, those types of people are already one step closer to adopting more ambitious solutions themselves. These people might be energy insights engaged already, however, cost-effectiveness continues to play an important role in their life. As homeowners with middle to high incomes, already invested in some kind of smart equipment, they would easily consider investing in a real-time service that will enable them to watch their actual appliances' consumption and show the appliance efficiency. A peer comparison feature would empower them while the new service will unlock new business opportunities for the utility at the same time.

As they are already excited about new opportunities to control and regulate their fixed costs, these people would be fascinated by the real-time energy insights offered on an activity or appliance form. NET2GRID InControl Service, can offer them as precise insights as possible, yet making sure that their comfort is not diminished.

The Prosumer

Prosumers generate their own PV electricity at times and use part or all of it for their own consumption or feed it to the grid. The same prosumers also consume electricity from the grid at other times being attracted by flexible tariffs and similar incentives. These people might make use of storage (vehicle batteries, charging stations, heat storage) to store energy and use it to charge their EVs. Extending value add services to the InControl Service, will generate more business value for the utility while giving prosumers more control over their self-consumption or take electricity from the grid when prices are low. EV smart charging and household appliance replacement recommender could also be offered to them. (new addition)

Lastly, the NET2GRID residential Forecasting Service can be used by utility companies to detect and predict solar energy production and EV electricity demand from purely smart meter data. Energy retailers will be able to predict aggregated residential demand in real-time, intraday, or for the next day/week/month ahead. With the service, they get access to a set of forecasts on outlier prediction in peak demand and track the growth of PV production, EV and heat pump/ AC products in their energy portfolio. Having access to these insights will help energy suppliers and utilities offer demand response programs with specific Dynamic or Time of Use tariff rates that will enable their prosumer to get more flexibility, control and cost savings.