Our Thinking

Double Bottom Line: why this regulatory expert left academia to help Japan modernize its electric grid

  • By Casey Davis-Van Atta
  • August 22, 2014

About the Double Bottom Line series: At Opower, pursuing a double bottom line — measuring ourselves by our environmental performance in addition to our financial performance — is a major part of our company DNA. In this series, we’ll be highlighting Oployees across the company who share what working at a double-bottom-line company means for their everyday work — and what it means to them personally.

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ken haigKen Haig is a Director of Regulatory Affairs in Opower’s Tokyo office. When he joined Opower last month, he walked in the door with more than a decade of experience researching Japan’s political system. Now he’s helping shape that system as Japan reimagines its electrical grid and continues to implement historic reforms.

What do you do at Opower?

I am part of a small but strong (and growing) Regulatory Affairs team in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. My focus is on working with internal and external stakeholders to help set the stage for important progress in the Japanese utility industry across several areas, including customer engagement, smart grid analytics, and energy management. 

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Our Thinking

12 things utilities need to know about one of the year’s biggest energy polls

  • By Casey Davis-Van Atta
  • August 21, 2014

From weighing an ox to predicting the future, it’s often said that there’s wisdom in crowds.

A new report from the global consulting firm Black & Veatch aims to tap into that wisdom by polling 576 top minds in the energy industry. What forces are pushing utilities to change? How are power providers responding to flattening load growth? With coal and nuclear plants slated for retirement, what will take their place?

Black & Veatch asked, and utility decisionmakers answered. Here are 12 key things we learned from the report.

1. Reliability is still king. With distributed generation, smart meters, and regulatory reform sweeping across the country, it’s easy to feel like there are no more knowns in the energy world. But for American utilities, one thing’s the same as it ever was: the paramount importance of delivering power on time, all the time. Black & Veatch found that reliability is still the number one concern in the industry.

top 10 issues

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Our Thinking

These 3 statistics show utilities are falling behind on digital technology. Here’s how they can catch up.

  • By Aaron Tinjum
  • August 20, 2014

Technology has drastically changed utility customers’ expectations.

Consumers now expect their utility to communicate with them effectively via digital channels, like email, web portals, and social media. This is especially true of the next generation of energy consumers: millennials.

Digital channel communications — like outage alerts, savings advice, high bill alerts, demand response incentives, and thermostat management control — can help utilities to achieve business goals more readily and cost-effectively, and they’re also a key driver of higher customer satisfaction. 67 percent of consumers who use digital channels are satisfied with their energy provider, as opposed to just 58 percent who don’t engage online.

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