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  • December 29, 2017

Our tip-top 17 blogs of 2017

In the grand tradition of year-end countdowns, we’ve spent the last two weeks on Twitter and LinkedIn sharing our top blogs of the year, from Princess Bride insights to Indian overviews to the details hidden in a single drop of water.

Revisit all your favorites from the countdown here.

 

#1. Seeing “The Princess Bride” as a brilliant customer service tutorial

As I get older, “The Princess Bride” holds a safe, warm, nostalgic spot for me, and it struck me recently as also brilliantly spot-on with showing and predicting natural human reactions (even if it is a stylized version).

Whether you’re putting together a marketing push or a demand response program that relies on residential participation, you need good info on just how your consumers will react. Here are our top three lessons on behavior from “The Princess Bride” (TPB) that you can apply to your program planning and marketing strategy today.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.  

 

#2. Build your very best digital roadmap with these suggestions

“We’re not being measured against our own—against other utilities,” said Eric Karcher, Manager of Digital Strategy withEversource Energy. "We’re being measured against other experiences, other industries.”

Karcher and James Langdon, Digital Strategist with Eversource Energy, gave a little insight in their utility’s own plan to build out digital and transforming from reactive to proactive in that area during the “Building a Digital Strategy and Roadmap” session at CS Week 2017 in Fort Worth.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#3. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS of the energy cloud

Distributed energy resources, smart energy management systems and virtual power plant technologies are changing the way consumers buy, use and even sell energy.  Navigant recognized these trends in the industry and released a whitepaper in 2015 which coined the term “the energy cloud,” an umbrella term used to refer to these profound changes.

Being closely associated with energy industry and working for Oracle—a leading cloud provider—the term “energy cloud” immediately prompted a question for me: if energy can truly be thought of as a cloud, what are IaaS/PaaS/SaaS equivalent? 

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#4. 4 ways your consumer is changing your biz—with or without you

We managed to sneak a slightly early peek at the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative’s (SGCC) most recent “2017 State of the Consumer” report being released today during their symposium “Beyond the Grid: Connecting Tomorrow’s Consumer.” (This annual symposium happens in conjunction with the DistribuTECH conference.)

After reading through all the details, we have a few suggestions on what the report teaches us all (and how utilities can prepare a little bit better for the coming consumer-centered universe).

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE

 

#5. Life lessons in becoming customer-centric for utilities from utilities

I would wager that just about every utility in America has been told—on more than one occasion these days—that they are now being compared to online platforms, that customers now expect from each utility experience a customer service equivalent of what shopping brings them.

I don’t think the utilities industry is quite there yet, but I would wager we all see it coming (and have now been repeatedly told it’s coming). So, what are utilities doing about it?

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#6. Crafting a better home energy report for all—that’s you, me, and the utility, too

I was reminded of that first experience with the home energy report (or HER, as they are commonly nicknamed in the industry) when chatting with Oracle Utilities coworkers about the latest version of the Opower-signature home energy report product, which recently saw a few upgrades as well—all the shinier, easier, more helpful and prettier pieces that worked on me and a few more practical options, too.

What do the end customers get? Tips that are more personalized and adjust over time and season, plus a smarter design adjusted and redeveloped directly from user feedback to make it a better experience overall.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#7. NYPA’s CEO on restoration, reform and REV

When I sat down to talk to Gil C. Quiniones, the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), about the state’s transformative strategies for this installment of our New York State of Energy blog series, he’d just returned from hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico two days before. Despite his focus on getting back to running the largest state public power utility in the U.S., the plight of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) was still weighing on him.

So, instead of leading with all the amazing future-proofing NYPA and New York State are doing with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, we began by talking about the very immediate, very human outreach that working for a utility sometimes requires, especially after natural disasters.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#8. This Navigant study advises: To innovate, think twice

new study by Navigant Research (and commissioned by Oracle Utilities) examines this dual footprint of innovation—both the one we traditionally view as the loner trek (the one with the future-changing “a-ha” moments) and the one that runs quietly beside that a-ha path in parallel (the each-and-every-day dedicated focus-on-the-core proposition). 

The study, “Utility Innovation Blueprint: How to Manage the Challenge of Dual Transformation,” distills practical advice to keep both innovation tracks up and running, with direct input from utilities around the world on how they’re working both angles.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#9. Utility 2B: How to be the best future you

This industry change that we’re experiencing has all the best elements of an artistic movement: excitement, new forms, new uses, challenges, naysayers, champions—and beauty in the eye of each unique beholder.

To find the beauty in our industry changes, we advise that utilities should keep a close eye on four developing arenas: expanding customer engagement, growing meter capabilities, flourishing analytics and a reigning cloud.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#10. Passion, progress and practical lessons from NY’s Energy Czar

 It’s usually a lifelong path to the coveted czar-ness. For Richard Kauffman, New York’s Energy Czar, that journey began with the American love of cars and the energy crisis of the 1970s. (By the way, Kauffman’s more official title is Chairman of Energy & Finance for New York for the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, but pretty much everyone just calls him the New York Energy Czar.)

We sat down for a Q&A with Kauffman about his trajectory, the state’s and the insights those two converging trajectories reveal to the bigger energy industry as a whole.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#11. How the utilities industry can learn from losing

Winning may bring shiny trophies, but losing brings life-long lessons. As our own utilities industry continues to sprint down an unknown path of investments, innovation and evolution, it’s inevitable that projects aren’t going to work out sometimes, that the best-laid plans will implode, that there will be problems. That’s not negative thinking, my friends. That’s statistics. Those are the numbers.

It’s inevitable that we’re going to lose a few of those revolutionary and evolutionary industry sprints. So, since we’re not always going to get the gold medal, what can we take away from this race? Here are three lessons that losing can teach every utility.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#12. Utilities don’t fear a total eclipse of the sun

In August, tons of Americans scoured 7-elevens for special glasses, pinged Bill Nye for science fanatic insights, and even piled into cars, trucks and RVs with “totality or bust” cardboard signs—wandering off in search of the perfect view of #solareclipse2017.

We tracked the path of the eclipse from West Coast to East Coast—and the fates of each of the utilities in its path.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#13. Blindsiding bikes and brilliant insights: on the ground at European Utility Week

If you didn’t make it to Amsterdam this year for EUW, we worked hard to bring a little show flavor to you wherever you were using the blog as a bit of a global medium. We were your feet on the ground at the RAI conference center.

Dig deep into our show coverage with this flavorful mid-show conference piece (with links to all of our EUW coverage).

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#14. The digital revolution goes global: Focus on India

We sat down for a short chat with Francois Vazille, Vice President, Oracle Utilities, JAPAC, about evolving smart grid technology and the emergence of the digital data-driven utility in part one of this interview series. (Read part one by clicking here.)

This talk focuses solely on India’s strides.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#15. Dear water utilities: does your work and asset management measure up?

Many water utilities face getting the most reliability from older and older infrastructure—with safety and performance their most consistent issues. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, almost six billion gallons of treated drinking water are lost due to leaking pipes daily, with an estimated 240,000 water main breaks occurring each year.

And now you are tasked with making sure the CEO’s words are true and that next water main break on tap isn’t yours. How do you do that?

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#16. Great insider advice on analytics investments at your utility

Utilities are hearing quite a lot about data, the cloud and analytics these days—seemingly from every side and every source in the industry. So, to get you the best insider knowledge—knowledge that might actually help you make better decisions on data, the cloud and analytics—we went to an inside source: The Utility Analytics Institute, a member-based organization that spends all its time talking to utilities and vendors alike in this space about one thing and one thing only—that awesome opportunity that is analytics.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

 

#17. Personal and professional lessons from our latest innovation study

Knowing that writers learn a lot on projects and knowing that we’ve recently worked with some fabulous writers and analysts at Navigant Research for our recent project on innovation in the utility industry, I was personally curious about our main writer’s takeaways on the project.

So, I reached out to that principal project analyst at Navigant Research, Stuart Ravens with a few questions about his personal lessons from putting together our latest Utility Innovation Blueprint study.

READ THE FULL BLOG HERE.

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