I’ve just returned from Seattle where I had the privilege to lead a workshop at the AESP Spring Conference, and I have to say it was without a doubt the best conference content I’ve seen in a while within the energy efficiency market.
For those of you that missed it, the whole conference was a master class – whether the session was labeled ‘Master Class’ or not. Perhaps the best session of the conference was led by Bill Clemens of DTE Energy and DNV’s own Daniel Jarvis. Their session, ‘Let the Data Do the Talking’ demonstrated the effectiveness of thoughtful design and investment in predictive analytics and what it can achieve. It was a packed house, and participants got real instruction on how to move towards 100% customer participation.
One of the best sessions for emerging markets was the Electric Vehicles Panel with Andrea Pratt, City of Seattle, Zach Henkin, Forth and Marc Monbouquette, eMotorWerks. A great session with pragmatic discussions on building EV infrastructure, consumer purchase motivation, overcoming range anxiety, and insight into some of the work being done at places like the TVA. This was without a doubt a session that could have gone on much longer given the great content and practical exploration the current market—both where it is going and options for opening it up. My primary take away from this session is that the utilities and municipalities are moving faster than some may have realized in laying the groundwork for EVs; however, they’ve been keeping much of the good work to themselves. Until now.
And the music to my ears was not once did I hear the phrase ‘rate payer.’ The conversation was all about the customer – needs, motivation, barriers, business models, and planning cycles. It’s beginning to sound like the rate payer is in our rear-view mirror and the customer is now our traveling partner. In an evolving energy efficiency and electrification market, we have a challenge in front of us to remain relevant and topical. Elevating customer centricity beyond a talking point to a keystone of our sector is critical to keeping energy efficiency relevant to both residential and business customers. As we create platforms, customer engagement strategies, and incentive strategies that focus on the customer and not the rate payer, we will increase our effectiveness as well as improving our relevance and relationships with the client.
I’m pleased to say I am a member of the 2020 AESP Annual Conference Program Planning Committee which will be hosted in Sacramento. Until then, I look forward to the Summer Conference in Toronto.