Our Thinking

America’s 32 biggest investor-owned utilities just got ranked—and there’s 1 key takeaway

  • By Casey Davis-Van Atta
  • August 1, 2014

How green is your utility?

Up to this point, finding an answer meant digging deep into EIA data, SEC filings, PUC reports, or any number of industry studies in search of energy sales data and program results. It was an even bigger lift if you wanted context — comparing one utility against another, or looking at trends over time.

But two clean energy organizations just did all the legwork for you. Last week, Ceres and Clean Edge released a first-of-its-kind report on America’s 32 largest investor-owned utilities, representing 68 percent of the grid. Each company was scored on its total renewable energy sales and its efficiency savings, then ranked against its peers.

Ceres

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Our Thinking

Japan’s largest utility just made a huge commitment to its customers

  • By Nadeem Sheikh
  • July 31, 2014

Japan’s utilities face significant challenges. With nuclear power plants still offline, importing fossil fuels to generate power has increased costs and electricity prices for Japanese consumers. In 2016, Japan will also begin to deregulate its energy market, allowing new retailers to enter.

Japanese energy consumers are also getting more sophisticated. More and more, Japanese consumers expect information and tools that can help them reduce their energy consumption. This expectation — coupled with impending competition — has utilities searching for innovative ways to engage and satisfy their customers.

Solutions that combine behavioral science, big-data analytics, and cutting-edge technology — as well as provide personalized feedback, actionable smart meter insights, and customized savings tips for consumers — can go a long way in helping address Japan’s energy challenges. In fact, it’s a proven approach that’s already helped utility customers save 5 terawatt-hours across the globe.

Today, we’re thrilled and honored to announce that we’ve officially launched our customer engagement platform with one of the most important utilities in Asia: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). TEPCO is the largest utility in Japan, and the second-largest utility in the world.

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Our Thinking

10 tweets that reveal how utilities are piquing their customers’ interest in demand response

  • By Kevin Hamilton and Josh Lich
  • July 30, 2014

It’s no great secret that social media can be a pain point for utilities. On a bad day, posts about high bills, surprise outages, or billing errors can swamp a company’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.

That’s especially true during heat waves. Whether it’s big bills or just the psychology of hot days, customers often turn to Twitter to vent some steam during a summer scorcher.

For utilities, priority one during a heat wave is reducing peak demand. And with that goal squarely in mind, they’ve often paid less attention to customer engagement. Less than 5 percent of U.S. homes participate in demand response programs — and looking at the tweets above, it shows.

But that’s all starting to change.

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