Analytics is Key to Energy Industry

January 25, 2012
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Southern 150x150 photo (big data)Since energy was a top issue in last night’s State of Union address, we wanted to emphasize that analytics will play a key role.

Southern 150x150 photo (big data)Since energy was a top issue in last night’s State of Union address, we wanted to emphasize that analytics will play a key role. As deregulation in various states helps to open up competition, energy companies have tremendous opportunities to expand their customer and revenue bases. On the flip side, deregulation also ushers in competition for many companies that have enjoyed monopolies or near monopolies and suddenly find themselves competing to retain the same captive customers they’ve had for years.

Energy companies in states where deregulation has occurred can use analytics to better understand and target customer needs in a number of ways. For instance, decision makers and data scientists at energy companies can use analytics to better understand how residential, commercial, and industrial customers are using energy and to help tailor rate offers geared to meet their specific needs. For instance, some manufacturers that operate during the graveyard shift (11 p.m. to 7 a.m.) could be offered more attractive rates to power their machinery.

Forward-thinking energy companies can also use customer analytics to help identify customers (residential, commercial, industrial) that may be attractive candidates for specific smart grid technologies and services. For instance, an analysis of a cross section of residential customers and their energy usage in a particular neighborhood that’s being targeted for the deployment of intelligent meters can help a power company determine which customers might be the best potential candidates.

In addition, analyzing the past energy consumption and other usage trends of specific industrial customers (and prospects) can help identify other types of smart grid technologies and services such as smart building technologies that may be of interest to certain customers.

In today’s fast-changing markets, it’s become critical for energy companies to be able to respond to real-time market and customer information. The use of real-time data and analytics can help power companies to respond to even subtle shifts in the market and provide customers with up-to-the-minute offers and services.

The use of customer data and analytics also offers energy companies attractive opportunities to analyze customer segments and then provide relevant and meaningful offers based on that information (e.g. high value customers that show a propensity to respond to green energy offers).

Customer analytics offer energy companies multiple opportunities for developing stronger and tighter relationships with customers. This includes opportunities to more effectively identify and communicate the benefits of smart grid and green technologies to consumers. Moreover, energy companies can also use analytics to extend beyond evaluating customer billing and usage information to help pinpoint customer trends.

Energy providers can mine the rich set of unstructured data such as recorded contact center discussions and social media insights shared by customers to help develop a more granular understanding of their needs and preferences.

In an upcoming post, we’ll discuss how combining cloud computing and data analytics allows a utility to gain insights into the needs of its subscribers at a level never before possible. Subscribe to our blog to be alerted.