AUTHOR:Gavin Bade @GavinBade PUBLISHED June 28, 2017

More and more, utilities are realizing they’re in the customer service business.

It wasn’t always that way. Power companies used to refer to the individuals on the other side of the meter as “ratepayers” or even just “load.”

But as the digital economy increases choices in all industries, power customers are demanding the same of their electric utilities. While many are still content with a default power service package, increasing numbers want additional options to make their electricity consumption cleaner and more affordable.

Story continues below

The shift represents both an opportunity and problem for utilities. If they do nothing, customers could look to alternative service providers, like rooftop solar and community aggregators, leading to load defection and decreased utility revenues. And as more corporations embrace sustainability targets, they may opt for direct contracts with alternative energy suppliers, bypassing utility service.

But if power companies act, they can use these new customer desires to strengthen their relationships. Partnerships with third party vendors can provide customers with efficiency upgrades, smart devices and distributed generation, allowing utilities to use the behind-the-meter resources for grid services. And in some states, regulators are building in performance-based incentives that allow extra revenue earning if utilities meet customer engagement goals.

How can utilities navigate this new world of customer service? That’s what we endeavor to answer in this Spotlight, highlighting best practices and emerging ideas for customer engagement in the power sector.

5 trends to watch in utility customer engagement
From smart thermostats to energy marketplaces, these are the trends shaping consumer engagement in the power sector. Read More >>
Utilities are finding new ways to communicate with their consumers
Remember when no one wanted to talk with their utility? That’s not the case anymore. Read More >>
Utility customer engagement goes digital
Utilities find the best engagement experience involves meeting customers where they are — online and on mobile devices. Read More >>
For utility customer satisfaction, J.D. Power says communication, control are key
Customers are happiest when their utility engages before there’s a problem, a new industry survey shows. Read More >>
What do utility customers want? There’s an app for that
The energy app landscape is expanding fast as more vendors and utilities tackle energy efficiency and customer relationships via the mobile device. Read More >>
Corporate demand pushes new generation of utility green tariffs
Utilities are rolling out more sophisticated, lucrative green tariffs to satisfy corporate sustainability goals. Can they prevent key accounts from defecting to independent suppliers? Read More >>
Inside Austin Energy’s customer-focused business strategy
By offering its customers an aggressive lineup of energy products to match their needs, interests and values, the utility is lowering customer bills at the same time. Read More >>