National Grid is helping its customers better understand their energy journey, 90-seconds at a time. In partnership with Oracle Utilities Opower, National Grid launched a pilot of their first-ever video energy reports. In an animated story, customers received personalized insights on their natural gas usage last winter and advice on how to save energy and cut costs. Sent to 33,000 customers in Upstate New York via email in February, the videos netted 12X the average click-through rate of Opower’s standard digital energy reports. See a sample here.
“National Grid’s mission is to provide clean energy to support our world long into the future,” said Thomas Baron, senior program manager at National Grid. “Together with Opower, we have continued to innovate and refine how we engage our customers and bring them along this critical journey. Personalized videos make it fun and easy for customers to make smart energy choices.”
The National Grid videos were created by the new Opower X professional services team. Opower X projects are all designed to deliver new, measurable customer engagement value to utilities. In the case of the National Grid videos, two-thirds of viewers watched all personalized content, and 14 percent of them clicked through to National Grid’s Energy Savings Programs page for more opportunities and information.
From door hangers to digital engagement
For more than 10 years, National Grid and Opower have experimented with new ways of engaging utility customers. Years ago, that meant testing mailed door hangers and phone calls as behavioral nudges for customers to choose efficient heating and cooling setpoints. Together, the companies have evolved the use of behavioral techniques for influencing digital engagement and scaling adoption of utility programs in New York and Massachusetts. They proved how non-AMI high bill alerts deliver net new behavioral energy savings in Rhode Island. And recently, National Grid and Opower are running a unique behavioral demand response program in Clifton Park, NY, where customers receive points and rewards in exchange for reducing energy use on critical peak days.
With the success of National Grid’s pilot, the Opower X team plans to test the limits of what is possible with personalized videos: driving adoption of deep energy efficiency measures like heat pumps, educating customers about pricing plans and utility bills, and helping customers find and use all their utilities’ tools for digital self-service.
“National Grid continues to push the envelope on customer engagement. In so many cases, they have been the first to initiate, innovate and improve how they serve customers and the planet,” said Paul McDonald, senior director of industry strategy at Oracle Utilities. “With the popularity of video today, especially in apps like Instagram Stories and TikTok, video energy reports just make sense. We’re excited about what’s possible with video, and it’s just one example of how we are changing everything about the Opower Home Energy Report experience.”