Utility Marketplaces Offer Untapped Potential as Demand-Side Management Assets

In an article for UtilityDive, Guidehouse Insights discusses utility marketplaces’ role in delivering cost-effective savings

Utilities' online marketplaces have untapped potential within demand-side management (DSM). New approaches to incentive targeting, product financing, distributed energy resource adoption, and revenue-generating models are adding compelling value for utilities in their efforts to meet savings goals.

In an article for UtilityDive, Daniel Talero, research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, explains that utility marketplaces are key to delivering cost-effective savings at the time when other energy savings have already been realized. Marketplaces represent key integrations for utility systems and act as portals for customer e-commerce data, facilitating rebate processing, online program enrollment, incentive targeting, approval validation and other key DSM program metrics. One of the key ways marketplaces can differentiate from other e-commerce retailers is their combination with DSM program structures—and improved data collection and analytics capabilities are a key enabler of this integration, with home energy reports being a significant application.

“Improved home energy reports are a key enabler of improved customer experience, customization, targeted incentives and product sales,” explained Talero. “In particular, cost-effective and module-level personalization is a key improvement to new digital home energy reports.”

Home energy programs improve customer engagement with marketplaces, but marketplace sales conversion depends on both pricing and on utilities' ability to effectively target the market for appliance replacement at end-of-life. Appliance plug loads are key sources of new DSM savings and their share of building energy consumption increases as buildings become more efficient, making them a key concern alongside other efforts to improve building stock energy efficiency. 

“To capture plug load savings through appliance sales on marketplaces, new programs are showing that a financing model may be more effective than product rebates, particularly among low-income buyers, which do less to reduce upfront expenditures,” added Talero. 

Read the UtilityDive Article
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