Con Edison Looks to Distributed Energy Resources to Boost Revenue

April 25, 2016
Consolidated Edison plans to test new utility revenue streams by boosting customer use of distributed energy resources, as part of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

Consolidated Edison plans to test new utility revenue streams by boosting customer use of distributed energy resources, as part of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

Under Con Edison’s “Connected Homes” REV Demo Project, the utility wants to increase the use of distributed energy resources and energy saving products. The utility will use Opower’s advanced customer segmentation and targeting analytics to allow companies like Nest and SunPower to promote their products to specific households.

“REV’s goals include increasing adoption of distributed energy resources, improving energy efficiency and increasing customer engagement. Through our partnership with Opower, we will provide customers with more information and make it easier for them to choose products and services to help them manage their usage,” said Jamie Brennan, director of REV demo projects for Con Edison.

Using Opower’s customer engagement platform, 270,000 Con Edison customers will receive personalized home energy reports, he said. “These digital and paper reports will offer energy-saving products that will match up with specific customers’ energy usage and patterns. The home energy reports will lead customers to an online marketplace where they’ll be able to buy the products they want.”

The project could prompt as many as 77,700 households to invest in distributed energy resources, he said. That includes 2,700 sales of “high-value” products, such as solar panels, smart thermostats and home energy services. In addition, the project is predicted to lead to up to 75,000 sales of appliances, electronics and small energy products through the online marketplace, said Brennan.

“Through Connected Homes, we will present customers with offers from selected distributed energy resource providers that match their profile. A customer interested in a particular product or service will be able to call a phone number or click on a link to submit their information. The service provider will then contact the customer for the next step of the process,” he explained.

Under the Connected Homes project, Con Edison won’t offer customers who opt for distributed resources new rate designs initially. “Con Edison is currently evaluating alternative pricing designs and will deploy innovative pricing pilots in conjunction with its deployment of advanced metering infrastructure beginning in 2017,” said Brennan.

Opower’s role in this project is to provide Con Edison with a platform that the utility will use to reach customers who are potential DER buyers. “Con Edison customers will get easier access to DER options from a trusted energy advisor (Opower), while the utility will get to test a new revenue stream and way to engage customers,” said Matt Maurer, vice president of communications for Opower.

All in all, the project represents a move toward a forward-looking utility able to provide much more than just electricity.

“We look forward to helping Con Edison lead the industry’s transformation in the years to come,” said Opower in a press release.

Learn more about Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) by attending “NY and Beyond: Advancing Microgrids Nationally with Lessons Learned in New York“, May 19 in Manhattan.

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

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