The Importance of Modern Home Energy Assessments

Demand-side management is evolving fast, and the changes are coming sooner than you think. This begs the question...

Are home energy assessments still relevant to today’s customer?

In the past, poor engineering design, irrelevant recommendations and logistical nightmares prevented homeowners from realizing the full benefits of an in-home assessment. These days, modern technology has almost given the home energy audit somewhat of a renaissance, providing valuable assistance and value to a customer at any point in their energy efficiency journey.

If you’ve been listening to us for any number of time, we’ve been preaching that the utility-customer relationship is changing, and has been changing for a while. The digitization of utility customer engagement tools, for example, has allowed most utilities to get more data-driven and thus, improve customer satisfaction.

Today’s modern tools can provide utilities (and their customers) the ability to embrace a more personalized, proactive and self-serve customer experience. Here are three ways that an online home energy assessment can boost customer satisfaction.

A more seamless login and access experience

As a utility, there are a plethora of online energy assessment tools out there that you can employ. In fact, if the aim was simply to get more information about a home, you could use an Excel spreadsheet. The auditor could go into a home, write down all the information manually and then, weeks later, email it all to you.

Aside from the fact that this would be very frustrating for you and your team, it would also be frustrating for the customer. If I’m a homeowner looking to access my home energy savings report, how would I feel about waiting weeks for it to come in the mail when my furnace is broken?

Modern technology from tools such as MyEnergyXpert can allow utilities to integrate an online energy assessment with their MyAccount (or equivalent portal). This allows customers to do everything in one go - they hop online to check their bill, and in that same portal, they can get a personalized home energy savings plan.

More personalized recommendations and savings plans

Engaging customers doesn’t just mean giving customers a bill that they’re happy with. Modern utilities have a much bigger opportunity to engage customers and give them what they want: personalized recommendations and energy savings.

Being gifted with what could essentially be considered a monopoly, utilities have the unique privilege of serving their customers with what they really want. The wealth of data that they’ve been collecting on their customers has afforded them every insight they could ever want to know about them (from an energy perspective, of course!). Everything from smart meter data to consumption data helps paint a picture of how customers interact with their home and use their energy.

You’d think that with all that data, utilities would know exactly how to engage their customers. That being said...it is a lot of data. So much data that it begs the question - how do they know what to do with it all? How are utilities able to process this data effectively and make personalized recommendations to their customers? You might have guessed it: by using technology.

The technology exists where you can synthesize all of your data into one platform and create personalized recommendations and energy savings plans. And of course, your customers can access it...right in their billing portals.

More effective marketing communications

All of this data and engagement can be used in more ways than just providing home energy reports. These data and insights can be used to further the communication lines between customer and energy provider.

In fact, we believe that customer engagement is simply the beginning. Once you’re a trusted energy advisor to your customers, your customers will want more from you than just a thermostat adjustment.

Through channels like social media, email and direct mail, we’ve seen utility programs start to truly affect change within people’s lives and how they approach energy usage. Their communications with their customers are bolstered by even more relevant information about the incentives they can get to act on the home energy reports.

Not only are customers getting the right energy recommendations - they’re actually getting financial incentives to actually act on them.

Demand-side management is evolving fast, and the changes are coming sooner than you think. But sometimes, it’s just about making something better than it used to be. And that’s why home energy assessments powered by AI and machine learning is the future of DSM.



Bruce Chen