Beyond the most common known benefits from smart metering infrastructure like for instance the capability to eliminate estimated bills, improve outage detection, reduce costs of on-site metering, and improve the balance between energy demand and production, smart meters alone do not go far enough on providing the final energy consumer with the necessary information to become more efficient in terms of resource usage. Nonetheless consumer expectations and demands are constantly changing. Consumers are starting to desire more perks such as personalized services from their utility company, as well as personally tailored products and loyalty programs.
According to an Accenture study, businesses across various industries are increasingly engaging data analytics to gauge consumer insights and are finding analytics capabilities indispensable to resolving business challenges. The study predicts that in order to be a leader in the industry, to continue developing valuable products and not fall behind, energy providers will need to master data analytics in the near future.
Consumers are starting to desire more perks
Data analytics can benefit Energy utilities in the following ways:
- Improve customer targeting and segmentation. Understanding consumer behavior and the needs of customer groups is key to successful retention of customers in an increasingly competitive market. Through targeting specific customers, companies are able to discern customer use patterns, and develop and deliver their message more effectively to customers.
- Effectively target energy efficiency programs. A deeper understanding of how consumers effectively use energy empowers energy utilities to develop targeted energy efficiency programs (that allow to meet regulatory conditions such the EU Directive on Energy Efficiency).
- Better estimate energy savings and offer appropriate demand management programs. Reliable and quantified information leads to trust and increase of effectiveness of energy demand side management programs through a higher end user engagement.
- Offer effective, flexible tariff and rebate programs.When customer usage is studied, better decisions about what incentives to offer can be made.
- Improve billing and payment options. When more information is known about users, companies are able to customize billing to segments of users based on rate class, program participation, interests, efforts to conserve energy, etc.
- Prevent customer churn. Traditionally, customer loyalty in utilities is lower than in other industries. Bain & Company recommends a consistently designed customer experience by streamlining billing and innovating on the services provided to customers. In return, customer loyalty will help companies build a more profitable business.
- Prevent energy theft. Smart meters already offer better tampering resistance, but analytics can help advance the detection of power thieves thus preventing revenue losses. Analytics checks monthly consumption and energy bills, and identifies any discrepancies that help detect fraud.