NEW: Utility Customer Cost/Emissions Benchmarking Widgets Provide a Low-Cost High-Value Customer Outreach Program

reducing_energy_costs_and_carbon_emissions

One of the most successful strategies for reducing system peak is to encourage utility customer energy conservation. The most effective motivator for these actions is to provide accurate customer-detailed information on current electricity costs and carbon emissions compared to similar customers and to identify potential savings.

Utility Customer Benchmarking Widgets provide your customers with accurate energy cost and emissions comparisons with similar customers in their ZIP code. Customer's cost savings and emissions reductions potentials can also be identified by selecting an efficiency improvement target. Widgets are easily installed with a button on your Web site and do not require access to your billing records.

Widgets apply data from a widely-used, comprehensive 7+ million record MAISY Utility Customer Energy Use Databases to provide accurate data on the population of customers within each ZIP code. Each Widget user's data on occupancy, dwelling unit and appliance details is matched with MAISY Database customer records to identify a range of electricity use and emissions of similar customers in that ZIP code to calculate accurate percentile rankings.

Customer satisfaction research shows significant positive impacts of utility-provided customer-detailed information like that provided by the Widgets. In addition, information on each Widget customer evaluation is provided in an automated email report providing valuable insights on customers who use the widget, supporting customer assessment and outreach initiatives.

Widgets are the lowest-cost customer SG/efficiency outreach program available today.

Widgets Summary

  • Install easily as a button or link on utlity Web sites
  • Provide your utility customers with a comparison of their electricity costs and carbon emissions with similar customers in their ZIP code.
  • Provide the most accurate benchmarking evaluations by matching utility customer dwelling unit, occupancy, appliance and other characteristics to more than 7 million customers in the widely-used MAISY Utility Customer Energy Database.
  • Show utility customer cost savings and sustainability reductions based on new target energy use reductions
  • Increase customer satisfaction with one of the lowest cost outreach programs available
  • Do not require utilities to provide customer billing or other information
  • Provide automated utility email reports on each user session
  • Reduce system peak by emphasizing recommendations that reduce peak period electricity use
  • Increase utility program visibility
  • Provide both residential and commercial benchmarking
  • Provide electric only or electric and natural gas for combination utilities



Utility Customer Cost Benchmarking Widget Details are described below:

The MAISY Utility Customer Cost Benchmarking Widget reflects collaboration between the SGRC and Jackson Associates, publisher of MAISY Utility Customer Energy Use and Hourly Loads Databases. Click Here to see a sample of MAISY Energy Use Database Applications.

utility customer electricity use benchmarking   

Utility Customer Benchmarking Analytics

MAISY Energy Benchmarking Widgets provide cost and carbon emission comparisons for individual utility customers based on energy use analysis of the more than 7 million US individual commercial and residential utility customer records in the MAISY Energy Use and Hourly Loads Databases.

The analytical process includes the following steps:
  1. Web visitors click on a “Perform Energy Cost Benchmarking” button or link on your Web site

  2. A popup window appears (as a small window in front of your Web page) and the visitor selects either the “Residential” or “Commercial” button option

  3. Web visitors enter an estimate of their annual electricity costs and characteristics of their dwelling unit, occupancy and appliances and click on the “continue” button

  4. Benchmarking results are shown: the visitor’s electricity cost is accurately scored against other similar utility customers in the same ZIP code area as a percentile.

    Similar customers are provided by the 7+ million customer MAISY Energy Use Databases. Residential customers are matched to database customers with similar square footage, demographics, income, electric appliance holdings and other factors to provide an accurate assessment of where each customer’s costs fall within the range of similar customers. Commercial customer business type, floor space, operating hours, heating fuels, etc provide similarly unique benchmarking results.

    A comparison of carbon emissions generated by similar utility customers is also provided.

  5. Your utility customer visitor can select a target percentile to see how much their cost and carbon emissions would be reduced if they met the best x% of similar utility customers.

  6. The next popup Widget page shows cost and carbon emissions savings with the new target and offers an option to (1) select another target savings and redo the analysis, (2) review energy savings options or (3) to contact you if you have customer assistance regarding efficiency options, or (4) any other routing that you prefer.

  7. At the end of the session, the popup window closes and the user is right back on your Web page where they were when they clicked on the first Widget button, or the user can be directed to any Web page you like.
Boost Utility Customer Satisfaction   

Boost Utility Customer Satisfaction

Utility Customer Cost Benchmarking Widgets bolster customer satisfaction by providing three resources that utility customers consistently rank as important:
  • Personalized customer information that shows support for reducing electricity costs and carbon emissions
  • Information provided on energy-saving ideas
  • Efforts to support green programs that impact the environment
The customer centric nature of Widget benchmarking (comparison with similar customers and customized energy-savings suggestions) are especially valuable in making customers “feel like the utility cares about me.”
Advantages of and accurate cost benchmarking   

Accuracy and Cost Advantages of the MAISY Energy App Widget

A variety of approaches have been used over the last decade to inform utility customers of their electricity use, typically with a monthly comparison.

Several resource are available that purport to show individual utility customers energy use relative to similar customers. The problem with all of these options is that they do not accurately reflect “similar customers.” For example the EPA provides aresidential energy use comparison tool, the Home Energy Yardstick , that is incredibly inaccurate. The tool uses only ZIP code; dwelling unit square footage, number of occupants, and the last 12 months of utility electricity use to rank user energy use relative to similar residetnial utility customers.

Leaving out electric end-uses such as swiming pool and spa pumps, and water heating fuel type, guarantee that customers with these electric appliances will score poorly.

The EPA tool converts energy use to a source BTU basis that exaggerates the impact of electricity use (by counting production, transmission and distribution losses) so that an all-electric home always uses more BTU’s than an identical home with natural gas space heating, water heating, etc.

The source BTU comparison plus the fact that comparions are not accurate if electric uses such as pool pumps, heat pump versus resistance heating, etc are ignored.

Several firms have partnered primarily with large utilities to provide customer comparisons that incorporates customer list data from commercial list sources such as square feet, age of dwelling unit, number of occupants. These applications also fall short in accuracy because much of the customer list data is estimated, not actual (e.g., number of occupants) while important contributors to electricity use such as space heating fuel, presence of a pool or spa, water heating fuel and other items are not available from customer list sources.

MAISY Utility Customer Cost Benchmarking Widgets provide the most accurate and most relevant electricity cost benchmarking available because
  • Utility customers specify all important electricity using equipment, dwelling unit and occupant characteristics to provide apples to apples comparisons
  • The comparison with similar customers is based on more than 7 million+ MAISY Residential Energy Use Database with a matching process that ensures comparisons with similar customers with respect to important electricity using equipment, dwelling unit and occupant characteristics
  • Electricity and carbon emissions savings associated with reduced electric use targets are drawn from comparable customers
Accuracy of the MAISY Residential Energy Use Database information has been vetted by more than one hundred individual utility applications.

MAISY Utility Customer Cost Benchmarking Widgets also provide the most cost effective customer benchmarking by relying on the MAISY Residential Energy Use Database and a low cost SAS pricing model.
utility customer electricity use benchmarking   

Extended Utility Customer Benchmarking

The MAISY Energy Benchmarking Widget is designed to operate independently of your utility's customer information. The benchmarking process uses each visitor's information on their electricity cost and dwelling unit, occupant and appliance characteristics to compare their cost to a range of similar customers in the MAISY Utility Customer Database in that ZIP code. Typical electricity use profiles for various end uses such as space heating, air conditioning, water heating and so on are used to identify savings opportunities. for each end use. These savings data are used to suggest typical savings associated with various energy savings measures.

An extended Widget option applies a summary subset of your utility billing data to automatically incorporate a user's electricity cost by entering an account number. The billing data is also used in the Widget software to develop a statistical estimate of customer space heating, air conditioning and non-weather sensitive electricity use as a basis for suggested energy savings options.

This extension can be applied at any time after implementing the standard Widget process. Billing data items for each customer include account number, and electric bill, kWh use, and billing date for each of the last 12 months (these limited data items protect your customer's confidential information as the only identifying characteristics is an account number.)
Email Benchmarking Report    Receive Unique Real-Time Email Reports for Each Widget Participant
Each time a visitor engages the Sales Widget, you will be sent an email report providing analytics for that Web visitor. Use this information to evaluate the extent to which your Web visitors are engaging and their characteristics to improve your customer outreach programs.

ANALYSIS AND CONSULTING


More on Widget Products and Services.


For More Information Contact:

Jerry Jackson, Ph.D.
Leader, Smart Grid Research Consortium
37 N. Orange Avenue, Suite 500
Orlando, Fl 32801
407-926-4048
979-204-7821 (cell)
www.smartgridresearchconsortium.org
jjackson@smartgridresearchconsortium.org