September 29, 2022 | Blog
Ben Franklin is credited with stating, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I contend that we can add to this list higher energy costs during the extreme weather seasons. Some energy industry experts speculate that energy costs for this upcoming winter could increase by over 50% from last year.
The energy industry is experiencing unprecedented disruption from global events. Although these events are not the result of the utility, your customers are likely to conclude you are responsible. It is time for energy providers to play offense rather than wait for the winter to play defense. Now is the time to educate customers about the upcoming winter cost increases, explain why energy costs will increase, and communicate the actions customers can immediately undertake to mitigate their financial burden. For example, utilities can encourage customers to enroll in budget/levelized billing, participate in energy efficiency programs, review their rate options, and apply for financial assistance. Furthermore, once the increased winter costs occur, utilities should explain to customers the factors that resulted in these higher bills such as weather and increase wholesale costs and emphasize customer actions such as changing thermostat settings
The looming higher energy costs require proactive actions on the utilities’ part. Customer perception of the value of energy is a significant component of customer satisfaction. Proactively communicating to customers is the best method to mitigate the negative impact of customer perceptions. Beyond merely communicating, utilities should personalize these customer communications for each customer with actual energy recommendations and impacts.
The train is coming down the tracks, now is the time to get on board now so you and your customers are ready.
Listen to Georgia Public Services Commissioner Tim Echols and Apogee’s COO, Jim Malcom, discuss how utilities can improve the customer experience on Energy Matters. While you are there subscribe to this informative podcast to learn more.
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