Laissez les bons temps rouler! ( Let the good times roll! )
While Mardi-Gras ended last week, AESP kept the parade moving with its national conference in New Orleans. For four days, the Big Easy – become the Big ‘EE’ Easy. Through break-out sessions, networking events (and a few drinks at the House of Blues), old acquaintances were rekindled, new relationships were developed and all things energy were discussed. While I had a blast talking wireless lighting controls on the emerging technologies panel, it’s what I learned from others that really made the event worthwhile. Read along to explore my three largest takeaways.
#1 – It’s all about the people!
What a crowd – No matter the specialty, every attendee is passionate about saving energy. I spoke with senior leaders about the challenges they face in digitalizing their organizations. I connected with emerging professionals who are disrupting business as usual. This conference draws a focused crowd of professionals who understand the opportunities and challenges ahead for the utility industry. Additionally, while we grew our professional ties, we also had ample opportunities to relax and connect on a more personal level. The AESP and New Orleans know how to work and play hard.
#2 – Data, data everywhere
One theme that ties many of the divergent sessions and panels together is data. Data – it’s collection, storage, analytics and visualization is impacting every sector of the utility industry. The DNV GL booth brought analytics directly to our visitors through an innovative, interactive video that highlights our company’s commitment to digitalization. Data is changing how we design our programs, how we interact with our customers and how we verify our results While the promises of data are great, there are still many hurdles to overcome. However, collectively we will need to overcome these hurdles as data is not a fad; it is a revolution.
#3 – Growing customer intimacy
Long, long ago and in a place, far away, the utility industry did not have customers – they had ratepayers. While our industry has evolved on this issue, there remains ample opportunity to improve. The AESP did an excellent job of sourcing presenters who have been utilizing data to map the journey of their EE customers. Journey mapping is the process of understanding the motivations of customers to build better long-term relationships. By meeting people where they are at, the utility industry can better personalize the message to drive engagements. Kara Rodgers of Eversource spoke about her efforts to view MIT as one customer, not 800 separate meters. Adam Grant of Nevada Energy drove home how advanced segmentation has helped his utility better identify opportunities for both the residential and C&I customers. Courtney Baum showed how to transform lost opportunities into participation levels, overcome resistance to change, and correct misconceptions about energy efficient food service equipment at the mid-stream level. Collecting data to map the journey of our customers has a bright future and is one example of how the utility industry can continue to build on the decades of hard work in growing customer intimacy.
Post Script: DNV GL and Smart Lighting Systems
DNV GL has successfully designed, implemented, and evaluated energy efficiency programs on behalf of our utility clients for over forty years. Our experience and expertise has led to the development of innovative solutions for our clients, solutions that have been integrated into utility systems across the country as industry standards of practice and excellence. For more information on the challenges and opportunities utilities face see our Energy Transition Outlook.
Wesley Whited is a Senior Consultant for Smart Lighting Systems at DNV GL and presented at the 2018 AESP national conference in New Orleans. Mr. Whited has seven years’ experience in the commercial lighting market ranging from utility program design, project management and specification sales. Mr. Whited is a graduate of West Virginia University (WVU) and holds a MBA from Capital University in Columbus, OH