New channels for communicating with customers not only allow utilities to provide better service; they also create opportunities for utilities to reduce expenses and generate revenue. An...
Learning from Retailers
the providers delivering the best service and choice will win out in the long run. This might require a business model shift and education of regulators in regulated markets, but the gains could be immense and create a more mutually beneficial environment than today’s regulatory-driven, rate case approach to energy service innovation.
Overall, the lesson the energy industry should take from energy retailers is that there is no single solution for everyone. There needs to be a two-way dialogue between customers and utilities. Though utilities aren’t typically early adopters of technology, they can become cutting-edge innovators in consumer engagement. Consumers need utilities, and utilities need their customers; that relationship is a powerful business driver, provided there’s a way to make those needs align in common goals. Energy retailers have learned how to do that in competitive markets. Given the projected direction and growth of the market, investor-owned utilities eventually will follow suit.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Adrian Tuck is CEO of Tendril, which provides energy customer engagement applications and services.