Tuesday, November 14, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Understanding Gaps in Utility Program Offerings and Customer Engagement
Session ID
A6 - Lightning: Segmentation and Targeted Messaging
Social Science Insights
Dan Burak

As the need for decarbonization becomes increasingly urgent, utilities remain on the forefront of efforts by offering programs to support customers in reducing use, increasing efficiency, shifting demand, and moving to lower-carbon fuel sources. Yet customer engagement with utilities overall remains largely stagnant, and not even approaching levels of high-engagement brands, despite increasingly innovative strategies to reach and engage customers. Customers remain unaware of, or disinterested in, many utility offerings, and fail to consult utilities on important household energy-related purchases and upgrades. The electric utility remains a service provider that customers mainly interact with to mitigate a problem (such as a late bill or outage), not a provider of additional customer value beyond keeping the lights on. In this research, we examine the gap between what utilities are offering and what customers want in order to help utilities to bridge this gap and provide greater value for their customers. In particular, we look at two gaps between customers and their utilities. First, we examine perception gaps: What programs do utilities currently offer that customers are not aware of? Additionally, we look at utility program performance gaps: What types of programs and offerings are energy customers craving that utilities are not offering? Within this question, we cast a wide, creative net, and address which current utility programs customers are not interested in, which programs customers are using the most, which programs customers are the most satisfied with, and which programs customers are interested in but their utilities do not provide. We draw on both quantitative and qualitative data to assess common customer perceptions, wants, and needs, and to understand in more depth what customers want from current and potential utility offerings.

Supporting Document 1