Why Utilities Should Prioritize Customer Engagement

We at Virtual Peaker talk a lot about customer engagement – and with good reason. There is a rising tide of realization within the utility space that the transition from “ratepayer” to “customer” can’t just be a labeling exercise. The customer model must be supported by actionable strategies that result in measurable improvements in engagement and ultimately, satisfaction.

Why does this matter? A common approach is to look at utilities as monopolies. Since customers outside of retail choice markets can’t choose their electricity provider, why spend time, effort, and unrecoverable dollars to satisfy customers who have no alternative?

PwC has put out a great study to talk about exactly why customer engagement matters in regulated monopolies. The punchline? Utilities with higher customer satisfaction perform better during rate cases, giving them higher rates of regulatory return. The chart below tells it all:

 Source: PwC Source: PwC

Prioritizing Customer Engagement Conclusion

As electricity demand continues to fall and the need for new infrastructure wane, this study is a powerful reminder of why utilities must push customer engagement to the top of their priority list. Good utility customer service is invaluable to utilities looking to enhance their demand response and distributed energy resource (DER) programs, as well as in building rapport with customers and local regulators alike.

Disclosure: Virtual Peaker has no outstanding business relationship with PwC and has not independently validated the data contained within this study.

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About The Author
Jeff Quigley blog author

Jeff is the VP of Sales for Virtual Peaker. He has spent his entire career in energy and data analytics where he has led teams working with utilities, government agencies, oil and gas companies, and financial institutions to help drive growth strategy and manage energy transition. He has worked with a team of analysts in developing an integrated resource plan (IRP) for a major U.S. vertically integrated utility, with a focus on load forecasting, locational marginal pricing (LMP) prediction, and long-term grid reliability. He has also managed the development of marketing and growth strategy for one of the four largest global oil and gas firms with a focus on the long-term viability of the Asian market-entry strategy.

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