SAGE Development Authority, the first public power authority owned by a single Native nation in the United States, announced the launch of a new crowdfunding initiative — www.anpetuwi.com — marking the next phase of development for its 235-megawatt wind farm named Anpetu Wi. The wind farm will be located on the Standing Rock Reservation, outside of Fort Yates, N.D., home to the Lakota & Dakota people of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST). The project represents a community development model to produce renewable energy that offers a path toward self-determination and sovereignty for Standing Rock and other Native nations. No tribally-owned public power project in the U.S. has achieved this level of development to date for a utility-scale wind farm.
Power outages are intolerable. Paying peak period energy prices is painful. Microgrids offer an attractive solution to both of these challenges. Today’s innovative microgrid electric systems deliver standby power generation to commercial/industrial accounts, entire neighborhoods, and even the utility itself. Choosing to deploy microgrids can give your utility customers the reliable, resilient, and cost-effective electric services they demand.
When the pandemic first emerged, Apogee Interactive conducted a survey asking their utility clients to identify their biggest challenges. The most common answer was communicating with their customers, followed by the need to assist customers financially. In response, Apogee offered its personalized video messaging service AT NO COST to any clients that would like to deploy it. And fortunately, many of them stepped up and leveraged the solution.
Join this two-part series by the American Public Power Association to learn about the unique benefits and challenges facing the public power business model, and discuss strategies for the future. Learn what gives public power communities an edge and how we can continue to thrive and serve our communities well amid multiple disruptive trends. Led by Tim Blodgett, President & CEO of Hometown Connections, Inc.
COVID-19 has been tough for everyone, and GreatBlue Research wants to help. Now more than ever, it is critical to stay in contact with your utility customers, both internal and external. By conducting customer satisfaction studies, employee assessments, and operational efficiency studies, you will obtain a better understanding of your customers and employees in order to better serve them during these difficult times.
You don’t need to be an expert in IT or have a huge consulting budget to champion your utility’s cybersecurity program. First and foremost, you must recognize that every city employee, utility employee, and governing official plays a key role in maintaining a cyber defense that protects business operations.
Residential customers and utilities benefit from varying rate plans. Still, the truth is, many customers don’t understand how their utility rates work or what rate would be best for their lifestyle. In a recent survey conducted by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative, 47% of customers didn’t know what their current rate plan was. In the same study, most customers said they would be willing to try a new rate plan, especially if it would allow them to save money. In order for utilities to make alternative rates useful and widely accepted, they need to have effective communications and provide educational tools that help customers understand what rate options are available and how their bill may change.
Market research is imperative to today’s utilities industry. Understanding current and potential customer needs and wants helps us make more informed business decisions and aids in the development of focused business strategies. Customer surveys take the guesswork and the assumptions out of determining what initiatives will likely be successful and cost effective. Consistently working to understand our customer base provides us with the direct feedback and a communication channel to really “hear” what they are asking of us. Data analytics allows us to target customers and obtain specific feedback for any topic, including opinions on utility rate changes, reliability, renewables, customer programs, and much more. Read More about How Customer Research Really Works »
Following a distinguished career that saw him rise from a city engineer in Ohio to helm the nation’s largest public power joint action agency (JAA), Marc Gerken has joined the staff of Hometown Connections, Inc. He retired recently after serving for twenty years as president and chief executive officer of American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP), one of the six joint action agencies that co-own Hometown Connections. Prior to his retirement from AMP, Mr. Gerken served as AMP’s representative on the Hometown Connections Board of Directors. His position on the Hometown staff is Executive Advisor/Strategy and JAA Relations.
The results of the Kissimmee Utility Authority’s recent customer satisfaction survey by GreatBlue Research illustrate how to use customer feedback for continuous improvement and demonstrate why it is so important to consistently ask for feedback. Deciding what to ask your customers can be challenging, but once you identify your target areas, you can focus in on your improvement efforts. KUA had a three percentage point increase in customer satisfaction from 2019 to 2020 from doing exactly that – a job well done!