Note to Utilities: 4 Must-Do’s for the New Energy Era

We’re wrapping up our look at “Understanding Consumer Preferences in Energy Efficiency” (, an essential survey of responses to smart metering programs. A new, more active energy consumer is emerging – one with the potential to fundamentally reshape the relationship we’ve traditionally had with utilities and electricity providers.

Accenture, the global consultant conducting the survey, offers four key imperatives for providers. In developing consumer programs, they’ll need to keep their eye on a few balls:

1.   Educate: Providers will need to actively promote education programs to better educate consumers. We’ve already noted the contradiction between consumer perceptions and their actual knowledge of energy efficiency.

2.   Earn Trust: Consumers instinctively want to turn to their providers for energy-efficiency activities, but providers still need to build trust and credibility. They can do this by being more transparent about their activities and agendas.

3. Offer Choice: Providers must offer consumers more ways to interact for advice and service, such as new in-home, web, mobile and face-to-face channels. They must couple that with new, personalized, differentiated service capabilities not traditionally present in their organizations.

4.  Be Consumer-centric: The old model of standardized, one-size-fits-all service must give way. Smart technologies demand a significant amount of customer participation, and that’s causing a fundamental shift in consumer expectations.

Electricity providers who embrace this consumer-oriented mindset will prosper in the new energy era far more than those who maintain the status quo.

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