Apogee Newsletter September 2021

September 14, 2021 | Newsletter

CS Week the Marina View

 

By: Susan Gilbert, CEO

You couldn’t miss the good ship Interactive in the Tampa Convention Center marina for CS Week.  It made for a great showroom.  With its enormous salon that comfortably seats ten and the 65” TV display, we were able to do show-and-tell on our latest releases and catch up with long-time clients and business partners.

Our VP of Sales, Nils Frenkel, and three of his account managers reported the boat made a fabulous destination to bring clients and colleagues for private meetings.

Our favorite take-away from the action-packed week was the heartfelt answers from our long-time clients when we asked, “How is Apogee performing for you?”

  • “You guys are up here (with hand gesture), and no other vendors are in your league.”
  • “Our account representative meets with us monthly to review your performance, how we are doing with achieving our goals, and gives us ideas on ways to get even more value from your services.”
  • “Our renewal is coming up and I want to expand what we are doing now to include everything Apogee can do for us.”
  • “No other company has your technical depth, sophistication, flexibility, and is just plain fun to work with.”

Several requests for product enhancements were shared, most relating to customer education on solar and EVs.  They will be researched and likely will be added to our product roadmap. All in all, it was a terrific week and one of our most productive conferences ever.  Now on to our 2022 challenge: Getting the boat to CS Week in Phoenix.

Inside the convention center, much of the buzz was around Digital Customer Engagement.  Apogee’s Key Account Manager for the Northeast, Kim Johnson had this report:

My Apogee colleagues and I focused primarily on the Digital Engagement track that was new this year, which speaks volumes to its importance to utilities.  Apogee was founded 28 years ago with a focus on customer education about energy issues.  Today, that has evolved into a much broader scope of truly engaging with customers on critical issues of sustainability, stewardship, and partnering with their utility to optimize use of our energy resources.

Keynote speaker Julie Albright, a digital sociologist addressed how digital connectivity is reshaping our world, driving us to disconnect from traditional behaviors and increasingly “live untethered.” Case study sessions were particularly insightful.  One by our Apogee client and long-time friend Chris Gallo from Con Edison featured what they learned in a Call Center pilot introducing seven new rates.  Apogee has found at other utilities that using Personalized Video Bill Explanations helps customers understand what their monthly bills AND their annual bills will look like on various rates.

Greg Knight with CenterPoint Energy shared a panel with a Google executive sharing lessons learned during the pandemic and enduring their 2020 weather emergencies.  Another Apogee client, TECO, had several impressive and informative sessions, many addressing their focus on Customer Engagement and Satisfaction.  Finally, Matt Kirk and Amanda Townsend from Oncor took us on a Social Media Journey showing customer expectations are rising, they want consistent messaging across all channels, and proactive, transparent, and timely information.  We couldn’t agree more!

We look forward to reconvening in 2022 with our clients, friends, and business partners on dry land in Phoenix!

Apogee Receives  2021 Partner of the Year Award

Apogee Interactive is the proud recipient of the prestigious Hometown Connections Philip D. Shaffer 2021 Partner of the Year Award for customer engagement. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to community-owned utilities and Hometown Connections, a national, non-profit utility services organization specializing in the unique challenges of community-owned utilities.

The award highlights Apogee and Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority’s (OMPA) engagement project launched in 2020. The project currently involves 18 of OMPA’s member utilities who have successfully deployed Apogee’s web-based tools for their residential customers. The tools analyze home energy use and provide calculators that help customers make informed energy decisions regarding the purchase of such items as electric vehicles, lighting upgrades, and electric heat pumps.

Steve Mathena, Energy Services & Innovation Supervisor, OMPA, added, “You don’t normally find people that are connected with their customers, customer’s member cities, and end-users. Apogee has a great team, and it has been a pleasure working with them. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for OMPA and Apogee!”

The award was accepted by Apogee’s Key Account Manager, Stephanie Knight-Johndrow, on August 30 at the 2021 Annual Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Pictured left to right: Randy Howard, General Manager, Northern California Power Agency; HCI Chair; Stephanie Johndrow, Key Account Manager Apogee, Tim Blodgett, President & CEO, Hometown Connections

Pictured left to right: Randy Howard, General Manager, Northern California Power Agency; HCI Chair; Stephanie Johndrow, Key Account Manager Apogee, Tim Blodgett, President & CEO, Hometown Connections

Asking for Your AESP Vote for Sydney G. Roberts, PhD.

Apogee is proud to announce that Sydney G. Roberts, our Technical Director, is on the slate for the AESP Board of Directors. When it comes time to cast your vote, we wanted
to share why we believe she will make a remarkable Board Member.

1.There are three types of people in the world. Those who Make Things Happen, those who Watch Things Happen, and those who Wonder What Happened. Sydney is clearly in the small, elite group MAKING things happen, which is what effective Boards need.

2. She’s volunteering for all the right reasons. Sydney does not promote an agenda, a position, product, or a company. She works toward the advancement of whatever cause she has determined to be worthy of her support and leadership. In this case, the cause of Energy Efficiency and AESP’s mission toward achieving those goals for all.

3. Her employer and co-workers fully support her taking on this role.  We know the time commitment, travel, and participation needed to fulfill the demands of occupying one of the Board seats.  Sydney is aware of the need to attend, actively participate and most importantly, contribute to the Association’s success.

4. Her academic background from Stanford where she earned a BS, MS, and PhD in Mechanical Engineering, gives her the confidence, and brings the respect an effective Board Member needs.  That combined with her 13 years leading Southface Energy Institute’s Building Science area gives her deep and well-rounded perspective on the energy and environmental issues facing our utilities and their customers.

5. Sydney is smart, passionate, thoughtful, fair, considerate, tough, and shares deep personal commitment to the AESP mission.

Apogee Institute Webinar

Successful Engagement under Blue Skies or Gray

Sept. 28, 2021 – 2 PM Eastern

Join Apogee, Kyle Allwine, Manager Public Relations, for Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and ODEC’s Erin Puryear, Manager-Member Services & Energy Innovation Planning, for a 30-minute session highlighting successful techniques that are helping them streamline their efforts to increase engagement in peak demand response events during hot weather, be proactive with storm communications, and getting ahead of high bill calls with educational pre-cooling communications.

We’ll discuss:

  • Proactive preparedness
  • Freeing up staff during crisis events
  • Getting clients engaged before the crisis occurs

Apogee Partners with Eversource and Rolling Energy Resources to Share EV Challenges and Solutions

On July 29th, Apogee joined professionals from Eversource and Rolling Energy Resources to share some of their company’s challenges and solutions to help utilities achieve success with their Electric Vehicle programs.

Brian Greenfield, a Regulatory Analyst in the EE department at Eversource, discussed some aggressive EV goals that Massachusetts has put in place and how data and communication are key for utilities in helping customers understand the benefits of EVs.

Scott Dimetrosky, CEO of Rolling Energy Resources, described how data collected directly from the vehicles themselves can aid a utility and their customers in better understanding the billing and load shape impacts of EVs.

Kim Johnson, Apogee Key Account Manager, wrapped up sharing the impressive results utilities are achieving through cutting-edge customer communication techniques.  Beginning with sophisticated modeling techniques disaggregating the customer’s billing histories to identify the likely EV owners, then targeting these customers to receive personalized video messages are the key ingredients.  Results of this type of messaging are producing unprecedented success, driving up customer satisfaction and increasing program participation for dozens of utilities across the US.

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