2022 – A Retrospective and 10 Things to Celebrate

By Don McPhail on

Don McPhail Year in Review 2022

At the close of every year, with the dawn of a new, my wife and I reflect on the past 12 months on what we achieved and learned from the year and set goals for the following year. These lists extend from travel and experiences to creating new habits and specific areas for growth. For instance, in 2022 we set out to camp a bunch of times across the Rockies and Southwest, have weekly TV-free days to play family board/card games, and travel to Australia to see family and friends. My daughter also is a part of it, and in 2022 she successfully sought to be able to swim confidently, ride her bike to school daily without training wheels, and spend time on a bunch of creative outlets.

Within Uplight I also do this – setting a plan of where I’d like us to be a year from now, and what I’d like us to achieve. A version of vision and goal setting which is a combo of co-developed with others, or personal ones for myself. Recently I ran a 2022 retro+celebration with members across the entire value stream of the Uplight Residential Customer Solutions business line. It was a big year for us and in no particular order, here are 10 accomplishments I’m particularly proud of:

1. We helped people across North America save energy! In September we released our Social and Environmental Impact report card – tied to our B-Corp mission – and shared that in the first two and half years of Uplight, we saved customers over $500M on their energy bills. Not only that, in 2022 we enrolled over 1,500 customers a week into demand management programs – helping them stay comfortable and control energy costs.

2. We helped keep the lights on during extreme heat waves and winter storms. An unfortunate element of climate change is our demand flexibility solution is increasing in importance. In 2022 we had a 1.4x increase in the number of events called across the US. That is some solid year-on-year growth.

3. Our Residential Customer Solutions business was established. In 2022 we leaned further into our unique value proposition of enabling a powerful customer engagement funnel that drives superior customer experience metrics, activating them to take action to purchase efficient & connected devices and enroll into a utility program for orchestration – unlike any other vendor on the market. Our residential business line came about from the merger of 4 business lines in Uplight, and I’ve been humbled to lead this combined business for its next stage of growth.

4. While on the topic of the Residential business, we have an amazing team! In fact, in 2022 approximately one-third of our Product Managers were promoted, and in the process of establishing our residential product team, we welcomed new Uplighters like Brett Moore, Jesse Ryan, and Joshua Hecht to the team.

5. We developed our next-generation of Rates adoption and engagement capabilities. The importance of when homes use energy is only increasing as we move to the grid of the future. But as mandatory and opt-in time-varying rates roll out, customers continue to indicate they are confused or not interested in energy pricing. To help customers and our utility clients, in 2022 we doubled down on our rates products, announcing a formal partnership with analytics company Gridx, conducted a user-first design process through user and market research, four rounds of user testing, and built from the ground up new awareness, education, enrollment, onboarding, and coaching products. Initial indication show users see our products as 22.5% more helpful than existing competing offerings, and a 21% increase in their confidence in switching to time-varying rates.

6. Our electric vehicle solution graduated to prime time, as we added capabilities across the customer journey and launched ecosystem partnerships like Qmerit. This means Uplight is now uniquely positioned to support every stage of the customer EV journey – from identifying EVs in AMI or evaluating propensity to adopt, through to purchasing EVs and chargers with bundled install, eligibility and incentive processing, charging data aggregation and analytics, and managed charging programs.

7. We launched our Residential products for 34 client projects in 2022, and got faster at it – with a 40% efficiency gain in our Demand Response programs.

8. We’ve made the grid a heck of a lot more efficient. Every year we sell a lot of energy-efficient products such as lighting, but overwhelmingly that has become smart thermostats (we’re a heavyweight in this space). Those smart thermostats are then typically connected to utility demand flexibility programs across the US – both Uplight’s and other aggregators. In 2022 we grew our devices under management by over a third.

9. We matured our product portfolio, positioning for mission impact and growth. There is no denying it, Uplight offers a comprehensive suite of products and solutions to the market. This year, we’ve doubled down our focus on the products which have the most impactful growth capabilities and innovation roadmaps, and those that will be most impactful in addressing climate change. As we kick of 2023, we’ve already begun doubling down on unique capabilities to reach and convert as many residential customers into utility programs and offers, and ultimately increase the flexibility of the grid to enable clean energy.

10. We had a lot of fun doing it. Fortunately in my role, I get to spend time with a lot of amazing Uplighters across the business, and in particular those in the Residential team. In 2022 we had a lot of face-to-face time that had been missed during the pandemic, capitalizing on things such as Big Room Planning, Hackathons, Product Summit, social events, volunteer and community activities, as well many industry conferences, and client visits. Personally, getting away from zoom and having a laugh or tackling challenges in-person again with Uplighters was the highlight of the year!

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