WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jul 10, 2013) - National Town Meeting on Demand Response -- Opower, the global leader in customer engagement solutions for the utility industry, is bringing its expertise in customer experience and behavioral design to a new market, demand response. Opower President and Founder Alex Laskey discussed Opower's vision for demand response on a panel at the National Town Meeting in Washington, DC.
For power companies, peak demand is a high-stakes challenge. A new report released in June indicates that in some regions, like Texas, peak energy has increased faster than generation. In a recent report, the EIA reported that utilities spend $700M annually on demand response programs. These programs control peak demand primarily through 1-way devices that cycle air conditioners and incentivize customer participation through small monthly incentive payments.
Yet, despite high levels of spending, these demand response programs have failed to achieve scale or fully engage customers. In 2012, only 7% of U.S. households participated in a demand response program.
"Demand response has long been used by utilities as a critical resource for providing clean, reliable and fair-priced power," said Laskey. "And although many utilities have been successful at driving savings during peak events, most demand response programs are based on a one-way relationship. Opower is bringing a new dimension to demand response through engaging customer-facing software and tailored insights that help each customer manage their energy use as they participate in utility-led demand response programs."
In January, Opower launched the first component of its demand response solution, its energy management platform with Honeywell. Unlike other solutions, this platform leverages Opower's proven approach to energy efficiency to generate savings for utilities and consumers. One key aspect of the platform, Opower's Thermostat Manager, allows customers to control their energy use from anywhere via a smartphone or the web, and provides personalized coaching to deliver reliable savings. Early results from a trial at Pacific Gas and Electric are extremely positive, with an average app-store rating of 4.5 stars, and customers interacting with the app 15 times per month on average.
Opower's newest app feature, "Peak Use Events," provides customers the insights they need to trim their electricity usage and stay comfortable during demand response periods. Using Opower's Energy Data Analytics and Content Targeting Engine, the Peak Use Events feature provides customers with relevant tips on how to trim electricity use and displays real-time information about program participation, along with feedback on their performance after the event. By engaging customers in this way during demand response events, Peak Use Events can increase program participation and drive higher customer satisfaction. Opower plans to announce additional utility partnerships and features later this summer.
"Opower is excelling not only because they have developed an impressive suite of energy engagement solutions, but perhaps more importantly because they have built an extensive and credible list of deployments at scale, with proven and reliable results," said Greg Neichin, Executive Vice President of Cleantech Group. "We are excited to see how they bring their leadership in customer engagement to a new market segment."
Working with 85 utility partners and serving more than 16 million consumers across seven countries, Opower is the world's leading provider of customer engagement solutions for the utility industry. By providing the tools, information and incentives consumers need to make smarter decisions about their energy use, Opower's engagement platform and solution suite, Opower 4, enables utilities to involve their customers in programs that support energy efficiency goals, smart grid and new rate structures, brand loyalty and lowering the cost of service. Proven to drive behavioral change at scale, Opower has helped its utility partners achieve more than 2 TWhs in energy savings, and drives significant increases in customer program participation and overall customer satisfaction. Founded in 2007 and privately held, Opower is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in San Francisco, London and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.opower.com and follow us on Twitter at @Opower.