Utilities: 3 things the next generation wants from you

Tue, 2016-08-09 10:19 -- Kevin Ebi

As long as you provide people with reliable power, that’s good enough, right? Not anymore. A new study finds millennials want much more from their power utility. And if you don’t provide it, you could end up losing their business.

One of the demands is a no-brainer. Environmentally conscious, millennials want more of their power to come from renewable sources. You’re likely already taking steps toward that to meet climate goals. But they also want more data about their energy consumption and tools to do something about it. That’s a trend that Council Lead Partners like Itron and Black & Veatch have been leading for a few years now.

So what’s new? The millennials in the survey believe they will soon have choices. You may want to take steps now to make them happy to avoid becoming like cable TV providers. — Kevin Ebi

The next five years could be a period of dramatic change for utilities, if a new survey of millennials proves true. Accenture finds millennials expect dramatic changes in the way they interact with utilities and in the source of the electricity.

1. They want renewable energy
Accenture finds that more than half of millennials — 56% — expect to install their own solar panels over the next five years. That’s an adoption rate that’s unprecedented and is more than double the planned installation rate of the over 55 crowd.

2. They want tools to monitor consumption
The study finds the millennials are also hungry for data. They want to know exactly how much power they’re consuming and when — data they want to help them make better decisions about conserving it.

Nearly two-thirds want to be able to sign up for a digital application that allows them to track their consumption and household climate. Only a third of older folks are interested in an app like that, although an Itron study found that overall, 80% of consumers want more info from their utilities.

3. They want to connect to utilities socially
Millennials are engaged on social networks and their utility wish list contains a social component. This isn’t as critical as their other two desires, but it is something to take note of, especially as you plan outreach efforts.

Some 41% say they would be interested in connecting to their utility through social networks, including using social media accounts to contact the utility.

Smart Cities Readiness Guide…
Cities cannot function without energy. The Smart Cities Readiness Guide features an energy chapter, covering energy’s critical role in smart cities, from enabling small-scale power plants that generate energy close to where it’s used to advanced technologies that help keep the lights on during power outages.