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Santa’s Green Technology Gift-Giving Guide For Utilities

Another year passed and again the holidays are upon us. How can your utility give back to your energy consumers this festive season? Between emerging green technology and an ever-evolving regulatory landscape, it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all reward for the people who matter the most: your customer. Fortunately, there are ample opportunities to give back to your community, from developing plans to engage with distributed energy resources (DERS) to enhancing your demand response (DR) programs. Let’s explore Santa’s gift-giving guide just for utilities.

Dreaming of a Green Technology Christmas? Accelerate the Digital Transformation

Nothing says you’re making a positive impact and supporting a cleaner future than utilizing DERs to help modernize the grid. Take this opportunity to educate customers on your targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to electricity production and distribution and highlight what your organization is doing to digitize and incorporate green technology into the grid. A modernized grid is a gift that keeps on giving, but digitization can’t be achieved without energy consumers’ buy-in and participation. 

Jingle All the Way with Demand Response 

Demand response is an excellent way to give back all year long while showing your active participation in maintaining grid reliability. These programs are a means of conservation through the concerted mitigation of resources, so educate customers on the benefits of voluntary electricity load shifting. With advancements in green technology, teach program enrollees how seamless and comfortable they can remain in their homes with minor changes to WiFi-enabled smart devices like thermostats or water heaters. Opting in for these programs can ultimately lower the cost of electricity at the wholesale level which eventually affects their electric bills too. 

With the right tools, engaging with customers on both behavioral and controlled demand response events is easy. Before we dive deeper into customer engagement, let’s explore DR program incentive management. 

Give Back with DR Program Incentives 

Incentive or loyalty programs are part of the gamification of consumerism that rewards participants while encouraging continued participation.  These initiatives are typically visible in retail environments as loyalty programs, of which a reported 75% draw their interest. Modern utilities benefit from this same strategy in their DR programs, by incentivizing participation. Especially for larger programs, these incentives can be critical in the performance of load management strategies. 

When it comes to DR events, you’ll need the right customer engagement technology to activate events, track and manage participation as well as energy usage and savings. To ensure that incentives are properly dispersed, consider DERMs that specifically have customer engagement as part of the solution. DR program incentives that encourage and motivate action can include:

  • Physical and eGift cards
  • Rebates or electric bill credits
  • Paper checks
  • Carbon offsets

With advancements in green technology, there are so many options for available original equipment manufacturer (OEM) devices for any bring your own device (BYOD) DR program. Check out our partner Green Mountain Power and their EV charging rebate program for an excellent example of a customer incentive initiative. 

Season(al) Greetings with Energy Data 

Sharing savings and usage data is a powerful tool in gamifying customer participation that can have a net-positive environmental impact. As more people become energy prosumers, utilities need to embrace their active involvement in green technology, clean energy transition. The more customers know the more they can help reduce or shift electricity load at valuable times to ensure a more resilient grid. Studies indicate that providing customers access to their data can result in a 10-18% reduction in usage.

With the right DER technology platform, you can easily provide customers with an online homeowner portal with detailed reporting and data visuals. Look for features like:

  • Demand response event participation and savings
  • Energy consumption reports by device type ( i.e. thermostat vs water heater)
  • Weather impacts to consumption

A Stocking Full of Smart Energy Savings Tips

Beyond just your hard data, now is the time to give your energy customers smart energy-saving tips and strategies. If you’ve invested in a flexible, unified DER technology, you can easily promote tips and tricks via email or SMS all from within one platform. Here are some holiday tips to share with your energy customers to boost energy efficiency:

  • Deck the halls with LED lights as they last longer and use substantially less energy. And put those pretty lights on a timer!
  • Ask Santa for a smart thermostat and smart water heaters so they can take advantage of demand response programs.
  • Oh, what fun it is to ride in an electric vehicle! As electrification continues, EVs are steadily rising in popularity. Embracing this trend leads to significantly reduced emissions.
  • Take the time to understand and know when electricity peak hours are.
  • Be sure to properly insulate homes. The Insulation Institute offers some additional education for homeowners.
  • Invest in green technology like EnergyStar certified appliances as they’re focused on helping to conserve energy.

Check out one of our utility partners Endeavour Energy for some great examples and ways of sharing energy savings tips. 

Santa’s Green Technology Gift Giving Guide for Utilities Conclusion

With advancements in green technology, there is an increasing number of options to fight climate change. Whatever your reason for the season, decreasing grid strain is a win for everyone. By giving your customers the right tools and education, you can build an environmentally conscious community, while minimizing operational costs. Do you have any tips for a Green Christmas? We want to know. Sign off in the comments section below and let us know if we missed anything!

Learn How To Work Toward a Greener Tomorrow

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About The Author

With more than a decade of leadership, growth marketing, and communication experience, Amber Mullaney drives the strategy behind Virtual Peaker's marketing initiatives. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and Interpersonal Communication. She is passionate and experienced at managing brands, product lines, marketing programs, and driving cross-functional teams.

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