1Q 2021

Remote Engagement Strategies to Enroll Customer-Sited DER

The COVID-19-driven energy flow shift toward the residential sector added urgency to the energy industry’s digital transformation. In 2021, stakeholders understand that remote customer engagement (RCE), which inherently relies on virtual interaction and embraces digitization, will likely last well beyond the pandemic. Opportunities for RCE primarily target residential customers and include revamped home energy reports (HERs), remote audits, and thermal mapping. These solutions are matched by developments, such as augmented reality (AR), designed to remotely engage commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. This report explores how emerging digital opportunities are expected to expand following the pandemic and recommends that utilities and their partners position themselves for a virtually engaged customer of the future.

Inherent in true RCE is the absence of workers and electricians present on end-customers’ properties to interconnect complex DER ecosystems to the utility grid. Remote engagement strategies take advantage of those devices already present. Where there is an absence of DER, RCE strategies can catalyze the customer journey and demonstrate the benefits of relevant DER-related solutions from smart thermostats to fleet electrification and automated behind-the-meter (BTM) asset management.

This Guidehouse Insights report analyzes the acceleration of grid operators’ and their partners’ digital transformation following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report assesses pivots in marketing and outreach language and the new opportunities brought to customers through remote engagement solutions. Drawing on examples from real-world solutions providers, the report looks at how applications developed as focus shifted to the residential customer segment and how they can benefit C&I customers as the workforce returns toward centralized work. The report closes with suggestions for successful continuity of RCE in a post COVID-19 world.

Pages 20
Tables | Charts | Figures 10
  • How did COVID-19 affect utility program and DER-related messaging?
  • What new opportunities does RCE provide to utilities and their partners?
  • Which residential RCE solutions can be adapted to support the C&I customer segment?
  • How can RCE drive cost savings and increased revenue for utilities and their customers?
  • What factors determine the success of RCE?
  • What are best practices for evolving RCE as the workforce shifts toward the C&I segment?
  • Utilities
  • Distribution network operators
  • Program implementers
  • Utility software solution providers
  • Utility customer engagement solutions providers
  • DER manufacturers
  • DER project developers
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Large industrial power users
  • Investor community




COVID-19 Introduced Fundamental Shifts in DER Related Communications

Digital Solutions Drive New Residential Engagement

Home Energy Reports Include New Technologies and Video Messaging

Remote Audits Support the Work-from-Home Era

Smart Speakers and Home Hubs Communicate Savings Opportunities

Multifamily and Low Income Customer Segments Provide Grid Support

Commercial and Industrial Customers Engage to Alleviate Strained Resources

Future C&I Messaging Evolves from Residential Lessons Learned

Thermal Mapping Helps Energy Managers Visualize Lost Dollars

Augmented Reality Strengthens Communication and Visualization

Successfully Continue RCE in a Post-COVID-19 World

Utilities Must Embrace Cost Savings to Drive Increased Revenue

Companies Should Repurpose Solutions Vendors’ Residential RCE for the C&I Segment

Program Managers Need to Design a Customer Journey Arch to Maintain High Engagement

Partners Will Benefit from Collaboration to Customize with Quality‑Controlled Data

Implementers Ought to Consider Comparing Customers to the Best Version of Themselves

  • Apogee Video HER Capture Alerting Customers to Potential Savings from Smart Thermostat Installation
  • Opower X Video HER Closing and Accompanying Programs List
  • Copper Labs Real-Time Solution for Smart Speakers
  • MyHEAT Commercial Rooftop Heat Loss Map
  • Embrace Cost Savings to Drive Increased Revenue Recommendation Checklist
  • Repurposing Solution Vendors Residential RCE Recommendation Checklist
  • Design a Customer Journey Arch Recommendation Checklist
  • Partner Collaboration Recommendation Checklist
  • Compare Customers to Their Best Version Recommendation Checklist
  • Customer Engagement Messaging Pre- and During COVID-19
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