Are Your Employees Ready for the New Energy Consumer?
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
Not too long ago, utility customers were simply called ratepayers. Utilities assumed their customers would stay content as long as their power stayed on and their bills weren’t too high. But these ideas about customer relations developed when the biggest innovation in our living rooms were color TVs.
In recent years, the energy consumer has radically changed due to technological, societal, and market evolutions. To be successful today, utilities need to think of themselves as energy services companies, and they need to develop a deep mutually beneficial relationship with energy customers. As an energy training professional, one of your key objectives should be to foster this relationship among all employees within your company. Let’s take a look at what some those changes are.
In Enerdynamics half-day live seminar The New Energy Consumer, we start our time with the following key quotes:
We then watch the video titled The Next Mission: Customer Centricity.
Key evolutions that all your employees need to implement in their work practices include:
- Customers consider energy to be a competitive service
- Customers have come to expect seamless communication
- Customers are adopting new technologies that result in digitalization, decentralization, and electrification
- Customers expect access to their data and want to share in ways that they control
- Some customers want to use devices in their homes and businesses (called Distributed Energy Resources or DERs) to reduce their bills or even to participate in energy markets by selling services back to the grid
So while reliable and affordable energy will always be a primary concern among your customers, your employees need to be prepared to deliver on much more than that.
Here’s an example of a pair of interactions I recently had my electric utility – Poudre Valley REA (PVREA). I often facilitate online classes from my home office. On one recent morning, just as I was getting out of bed to prepare for a 7 a.m. class, my power went out. Not aware of recent changes PVREA had made in communicating outages, I fumbled for my cell phone thinking I needed to call them. But then I remembered their app I’d downloaded so I opened it on my phone and immediately saw the following message:
Now, without having to do anything else, I knew that there was no need for me to report my outage and that I had better get myself into our office, which still had power. Instead of being upset at PVREA, I now appreciated that I had all the information needed to figure out my day.
In the second interaction, I recently began looking into adding rooftop solar to my house. A call to PVREA informed me that there is a two-to-three month time period between submitting an interconnection application and obtaining approval and that there are no issues with capacity on my circuit. This let me know that my utility was aware of the need to work with customers interested in DERs and that they were ready to work with me if I decide to proceed.
Why do you care about this as a learning professional? Enerdynamics believes that all employee training, whether training for line crews, engineers, customer services representatives, or managers should include at least an overview of how their jobs relate to the changing customer.
Interested in learning more about Enerdynamics’ The New Energy Customer virtual live class? Contact us at email@example.com or 866-765-5432.