Many utilities are rethinking their outbound marketing communications in the midst of the rapidly unfolding novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis–often pausing, adjusting messages, and/or re-starting campaigns. Customers right now are adjusting to a new way of life and have a whole new set of concerns and needs–including concerns around increasing energy bills due to more time at home. These concerns can be exacerbated if a customer is unable to work. While temporary, is there a way utilities can help their customers adopt energy efficient technologies used every day to reduce energy usage?
Many utilities provide online Marketplaces with a curated selection of energy efficient products to help customers save energy. Marketplaces are an important digital engagement touchpoint for utilities, with the potential to:
- Reinforce the utility role as providers of dependable critical infrastructure.
- Provide customers with products and advice they need.
- Help reduce bills and usage while people are at home.
Marketplaces Provide Energy Saving Products
Marketplaces can help customers reduce their energy usage by providing easy, affordable access to energy-saving and home management products that can be purchased and installed without ever leaving the house. Thermostats and lighting, in particular, can provide low-investment, high-savings opportunities for customers. And thermostat sales with an option for demand response (DR) program enrollment can greatly increase the residential DR capacity for the upcoming peak summer months. Enrollment in DR programs provides both further savings for customers (without further costs) and flexibility for utilities who might expect lower commercial load dispatch during social distancing.
Utilities can also reduce the cost of the most helpful products. Whether permanently or temporarily, this is an important time to increase rebates, where possible, in order to increase consumer savings and make it clear that the utility is focused on doing what’s best for their customers. Rebates that result in zero-dollar products, unsurprisingly, are very effective in driving sales and getting energy saving products in as many households as possible.
Customers are Engaging More Than Ever
Uplight Utility Marketplaces are seeing high engagement and a spike in demand for smart thermostat–especially where utilities are supporting free and low cost options through instant rebates and other promotions. Rebated energy-efficiency kits are also a highly effective way to help customers save. For example, Uplight clients are offering a rebated four LED bulb, showerhead, aerator, and advanced powerstrip kit on their Marketplaces.
As always, it is important to put your customers first in communications, and be sensitive to their changing needs. By helping customers save money and alleviate any fears that they may have around energy bills, utilities can become the trusted energy advisor and partner that they strive to be.