The utility customer can no longer be viewed as an invisible ratepayer. Today, they are viewed very differently-they are now considered by utilities as very valuable partners and stakeholders.
Customers want more
In this age of big data, customers are demanding more information from their utilities so that they can make more informed decisions about their consumption levels in order to save money on their utility bills, as well as reduce their carbon footprint.
By arming the customer with helpful information, the customer will feel empowered and respected and will be more inclined to participate in various utility programs to improve energy efficiency and grid upgrades. This increased interest will benefit both parties as consumers begin to realize that they can reduce their bills by participating in demand response programs for instance, and utilities get to stabilize the grid and improve energy efficiency levels.
However, many utilities are not yet geared to handle this level of interaction. For this purpose, customers can now link to an energy literacy program called Power Over Energy which was founded and currently managed by Silver Spring Networks. The program is backed by a diverse and powerful coalition including:
US Department of Energy
Edison Foundation’s Institute of Innovation, Electricity, Efficiency
Environmental Defence Fund
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative and
Sustainable Silicon Valley
Empowering the consumer
The program, an energy literacy social media campaign, focuses on educating, empowering, and motivating consumers so that they can make smarter, more informed decisions about consumption patterns.
The pilot phase was launched in early 2013 to test consumer interest in learning more about energy and it has grown in popularity since. With over 142,000 Facebook likes, a global reach of over 62 million consumers and a high engagement rate, it is clear that consumers want to know more about energy.
Power over Energy offers informative content which focuses on generation, consumption, transmission, impact and conservation. The program does this by using online ads, social media and interactive tools which help consumers understand more about how energy is produced and the impact that consumer energy choices have on the environment.
Lisa Magnuson, Senior Director of Consumer Education, Silver Spring Networks. “Social media has proven to be an extremely powerful and cost-effective channel to reach and engage consumers in the conversation about our energy challenges, energy efficiency, innovative solutions and the smart grid. The campaign is resonating with consumers around the world who are motivated by the message that we can do better.”