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10 FEB 2015

Parks Associates: 85% of consumers took energy-saving actions in the past year

Schneider Electric, Simple Energy, Tendril, and more to discuss new revenue opportunities for utilities and retail energy providers at Smart Energy Summit

Energy research from Parks Associates finds nearly 85% of U.S. broadband households have taken some action to reduce their energy usage or costs in the past 12 months. These actions include replacing standard light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, according to the firm’s 360 View: Energy Management, Smart Home, and Utility Programs, with alsoreports 10% of U.S. broadband households own a smart energy device, including a programmable thermostat, light bulb, power strip, outlet, or plug adapter capable of connecting to the Internet.

The research firm will host Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, an executive conference focused on energy management solutions, February 16-18, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. The event brings together industry leaders to examine new opportunities and business models and their impact on providers and consumers.

“Many energy-saving actions increased from 2013 to 2014, but awareness of smart energy devices remains low—only 14% of U.S. broadband households are familiar with energy management products,” said Tom Kerber, Director, Research, Home Controls & Energy, Parks Associates. “At Smart Energy Summit, we will explore ways to increase consumer awareness and opportunities for utilities and retail energy providers to tap into consumer interest for energy products and bundled energy services.”

Parks Associates research also finds 34% of consumers who are able to see their daily electricity usage online find the feature “very valuable.”

“Smart products and smart home services will accelerate the adoption of other energy services and vice versa,” said Justin Segall, President & Founder, Simple Energy. “Getting a consumer to change their behavior and allowing the right messaging delivered at the right time through one’s smart device is a way to do this. Customers are more likely to adopt this model as it proves convenient and easy to digest.  If you want mass adoption in the market, there needs a way to meet a customer where they are and continue to move them up the adoption cycle.”

“The development of smart home products and services also helps promote energy-related solutions, either as stand-alone applications or within a bundle of energy-related offerings,” said Xavier Datin, SVP Prosumer, Schneider Electric. “In particular smart connected thermostats can be part of integrated solutions, i.e., energy monitoring systems.”

“All businesses know that customer satisfaction is critical for their business success,” said Debbie Kimberly, VP, Customer Energy Solutions, Austin Energy. “For many years, utilities employed the same approaches for communicating with customers. Consider that an electric utility sells a product that the customer can’t see, and pays for it days after the product is consumed. In today’s 24/7, real-time, wired, environmentally conscious world, utilities can engage customers in new ways. In so doing, they can enhance the customer experience, improve satisfaction and deliver results that benefit both the utility and the consumer.”

"The cost of renewables such as solar is dropping to a point where deployments are going mainstream,” said Ken Wacks, Management & Engineering Consultant, Gridwise Architecture Council, U.S. Department of Energy. “Utilities are challenged to develop business models such as Transactive Energy to integrate renewables into energy services. The goal is to offer consumers choice, efficiency, and economy while keeping the lights on."

"Delivering increased insight into energy consumption is clearly starting to drive awareness and action amongst consumers," said Marie Bahl McKenna, SVP of sales and marketing, Tendril. "But this development must be seen as the beginning, not the end result. Now that energy providers have consumers' attention, it's time to truly individualize energy by broadening service offerings and personalizing communications based on their proclivity to act. Only then can the energy industry truly transform its business model and become bundled service providers."

The Smart Energy Summit session Utility Perspectives: Market Impact of New Business Models, 9:00 a.m. on February 17, will explore trends in distributed generation, demand response, and energy efficiency and their impact on utilities and consumers. Speakers include:

  • Xavier Datin, SVP Prosumer, Schneider Electric
  • Debbie Kimberly, VP, Customer Energy Solutions, Austin Energy
  • Marie Bahl McKenna, SVP of Sales & Marketing, Tendril
  • Justin Segall, President & Founder, Simple Energy
  • Ken Wacks, Management & Engineering Consultant, Gridwise Architecture Council, U.S. Department of Energy

Building Energy Management Offerings through Smart Devices and Services, 1:00 p.m. on February 17, will discuss the opportunities for smart products in energy efficiency programs, including potential benefits to utilities, energy providers, and consumers. Speakers include:

  • Bill Alderson, Corporate Director, Marketing, Rheem
  • Brian Huey, M2M & IoT Business Development - Smart Energy, Sprint
  • Jacob Nielson, Business Development Leader, Emerson
  • Brad Paine, Director of Product Marketing, Honeywell Environmental & Combustion Controls, Honeywell
  • Mike Soucie, Head of Consumer Product Partnerships, Nest

Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, February 16-18 in Austin, Texas, will feature keynotes from NRG Energy and SunPower Corp. and a special fireside chat with ecobee and SmartThings. Sponsors include Smart Utility Systems; Lowe’s; Alarm.com; ecobee; Emerson; NRG; People Power Company; PlanetEcosystems; Southern California Edison; Tendril; Tyco; WeatherBug Home; WSI, the professional division of The Weather Company; EcoFactor; and WattzOn.

More information about the Smart Energy Summit is available at www.ses2015.com. Follow the event on Twitter at @SmartEnergySmt, #SES2015, and our Smart Energy Insights Blog. A new whitepaper, The Connected Consumer: Top Trends in IoT, is also available and provides expert insight into global trends for 2015 in smart home technologies. Press passes are available at http://www.parksassociates.com/ses-presspass. To speak with an energy analyst or request specific research data, contact Holly Sprague, 720-987-6614.

About Smart Energy Summit

Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer addresses the evolution of the consumer utility market, the impact of COVID-19 on energy management programs, and new opportunities to drive engagement in utility-sponsored programs. Virtual panels and networking sessions, featuring executive-level experts from multiple industries, address strategies for utilities, service providers, retailers, software providers, and manufacturers to expand and monetize energy management and other energy-focused offerings through consumer engagement, new business models, unique partnerships, and innovative technologies.

Smart Energy Summit features an in-person conference February 13-15 at the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, with virtual sessions on June 15, August 17, and November 9. The summit agenda features leaders from utilities, state and national regulators, telecom and security companies, retailers, and OEMs. Follow the event on Twitter at @SmartEnergySmt and #SmartEnergy23. For information on speaking, sponsoring, or attending Smart Energy Summit, visit www.smartenergysmt.com.