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Consumers Frustrated with Utility Barriers

Prosumers overwhelmingly want storage, digital energy services and are willing to switch from their utility to get them.

Electric customers are hungry for new services and a new relationship with their energy providers, two studies released today say.

Close to three-quarters of Americans would like an energy storage system for their home and half want rooftop solar, shared solar and programmable thermostats, according to the SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative study.

Yet one-third of energy consumers are frustrated by obstacles to interacting with their utility to bring on an era of new energy offerings. Electric company’s digital channels – including websites and mobile aps  - are unsatisfactory, according to research just released by Accenture.

Fully 82 percent of customers want personalized energy services, the Accenture report said. And 54 percent of consumers would consider switching energy provides to get personalized services.

The two reports come as utilities and a wide range of energy companies are developing new business models to profit while building out a new more complex and robust grid. They hope to create an energy market with a host of new digitally-enabled offerings. In the process, the customer-facing energy companies must transform from static monoliths to dynamic, fast-changing organizations.

It is a struggle, according to Accenture:

“For consumers who have interacted with their energy providers via digital channels over the past 12 months, digital dissatisfaction included:

  • 38 percent – Had trouble finding information on energy providers’ websites
  • 34 percent – Sites took too long to load
  • 31 percent – Lacked needed information
  • 28 percent – Were not personalized
  • 27 percent –  Were not fun to use, were not intuitive and did not provide consistent information,” Accenture said.

Much work must be done on the utility front, the SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative said.

“Despite having a stronger affinity for a clean energy lifestyle, younger people — especially millennials — generally perceive more barriers in taking energy-saving actions,” it said.  



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