13 December 2019
How do you feel when you open your electricity bill? Relieved? Confused?
I hear a number of answers to this question when I speak to our electricity customers, but there is one common theme that stands out – control. Customers want more of it. They want to know where their energy use is going and what it is costing them.
Back in 2017 we launched our demand response trial, Power Changers, which allowed participating customers to access their smart meter data through an interactive app to help them reduce their energy use, relieve pressure on the grid on hot days and save money on their electricity bills over summer.
This was the beginning of our effort to give customers more control over their energy use.
When the findings of the trial showed that households reduced their peak electricity consumption by an average of 26 to 35 per cent on hot days and it received industry recognition (it won an Australian Digital Utility Award and an Asian Power Award) we knew it needed to be rolled out to a wider audience.
While the program looked simple from the participants point of view, the back-end was far more complicated. We used smart meter technology to track real-time energy use and allowed participants to access that information along with energy saving tips so they could use their appliances, such as air conditioners, more efficiently on hot days.
Now, more than ever, energy companies have more data at their disposal, but how to analyse that data and provide it to the customer in a way that makes sense is where the real challenge lies.
This month a new demand response program, the Energy Saving Rewards program, went live to participating customers in Melbourne’s north-west. This program is unique as it is a partnership with energy retailer, EnergyAustralia, to deliver a new-look customer experience that is simpler for customers to track their energy use to help them save money on their electricity bills over summer.
As well as our demand response program, we have worked closely with our customers to develop other data-driven digital products that allow them to have more control of their energy use.
Earlier this year we held a customer discovery workshop where we used a human centred design thinking approach to collaborate with customers and representatives from Energy Consumers Australia and the Australian Energy Foundation to develop digital solutions that solve real customer needs.
The findings of this workshop, and other customer engagement activities, are helping us to make improvements to Jemena’s Electricity Outlook Portal. Through this portal our electricity customers can access their smart meter data, see how much their energy is costing every day and compare electricity retailer plans to see if they have the best deal.
By better using data and developing digital products in partnership with our customers, not only are we giving them more control over their energy use, we are also doing our best to make bill shock a thing of the past.