10 memorable moments from PowerUp, 2016's premier utility innovation summit

Last week, Opower welcomed more than 300 utility leaders to our annual innovation summit, PowerUp. Experts and innovators from all over the world took over the beautiful 1Hotel South Beach for three days of insightful keynotes, seaside conversations, and inspiring stories of utility success. In case you couldn’t make it this year, here are 10 memorable moments from PowerUp 2016.

1. Getting a first look at Opower 7

powerup_keynote Our cofounders Dan Yates and Alex Laskey unveiled the newest, most powerful version of the Opower customer engagement platform in their opening keynote. Notably, Opower 7 adds an expanded suite of business intelligence tools to our tech stack, which analyzes more than 500 billion meter reads, behavioral patterns from more than 60 million utility customers, and data streams spanning call center interactions to thermostat setpoints. “Opower has been finding increasingly sophisticated ways to put our massive data engine to work for utilities,” Dan noted. “We’ve recently launched products like Behavioral Demand Response, Bill Advisor, and Marketplace — all of which are anchored on Opower’s unmatched analytics. Opower 7 puts utilities in the driver’s seat, giving them the power to glean insights to improve their demand-side management, marketing, customer care, and other programs.” 

2. Waking up to this view each morning

powerup_view PowerUp attendees enjoyed blue Miami skies all week — perfect for networking by the pool, dining along the beach, and sailing Key Biscayne between sessions. 

3. Craig Ivey and Arlen Orchard sharing a dispatch from the year 2025

opwerup_2025 Craig Ivey, President of ConEdison, and Arlen Orchard, CEO of SMUD, shared two visions for what our industry will look like in 2025 — and the steps they’re taking to ensure their utilities stay on the cutting edge. We’re proud to join ConEd and SMUD on their journey. As standards like REV start positioning utilities as market makers in a new ecosystem of products and services, our clients are using the Opower platform to connect customers with carefully targeted offers — including Nest thermostats, SunPower solar panels, and HomeServe heating systems. By promoting efficiency programs from beyond the utility itself, ConEd and other future-focused utilities will be able to manage energy demand while providing personalized experiences that open the door to new sources of revenue. 

4. Going hands-on with new tech

powerup_productlounge Throughout PowerUp, hundreds of executives, program managers, and analysts were exploring the latest and greatest products running on the Opower platform. If we missed you at PowerUp, be sure to take a look at our new Agile EE experiences, the Opower Marketplace Suite, our supercharged web platform, and our business intelligence suite, Inside Opower.

5. Women in power taking the stage

powerup_womeninpower Our Women in Power session celebrated International Women’s Day a week early with an spirited conversation about unconscious bias. Marilyn Caselli of ConEdison, Casey Wells of Accenture Utilities, and Joelle Emerson of Paradigm offered powerful examples of women’s leadership in and outside our industry — and advice for improving female representation among utilities. 

6. Getting proof that AMI is a great investment

powerup_ami As REV, rates, and distributed energy resources have soared into the headlines, advanced metering — once the pinnacle of innovation — has slipped below the fold. Google reports that interest in the term “smart grid” is just a third of what it was in 2009, when Recovery Act funding for AMI was in full swing. But even if the press have moved on, utilities have been driving a story of quiet progress over the past decade. Soon, more than half American energy customers will have smart meters. And unlike in 2009, they’ll have access to a wide range of valuable AMI-powered programs and services, from demand response to dynamic rates and DERs. America Lesh from BGE and Carlos Nouel from National Grid told the PowerUp crowd how they’re making smart grid work for their customers. “At BGE, we invested in upfront education and ongoing engagement to accomplish our smart grid goals, and the results have beaten our expectations,” America noted in a recent interview. “We now have verified email for nearly 60% of our customers. The high number of quality emails, along with several other factors, helped BGE to achieve 80% participation in our peak-time rebate program that delivers between 12 and 18% average peak savings.” 

7. Raising the bar for digital engagement

powerup_eon Sean Keily and Lucy Lebeter introduced everyone at PowerUp to E.ON UK’s new era of digital engagement, a true success story from one of the most competitive energy markets on earth. A report from the independent market research firm IDC Energy Insights recently profiled E.ON’s digital transformation. In a matter of months, “E.ON UK’s Net Promoter Score has improved, and the company is leading among the larger suppliers [in Britain]… [it’s] a best practice example of how a utility can transform its existing relationship with customers to improve their satisfaction and their trust in the company.” 

8. Growing a forest of segmentation trees

powerup_workshop There’s a lot of thought leadership at PowerUp. But we also make sure that everyone can bring home tangible, real-life insights they can apply right away. Workshops are one of the ways we make that happen. Opower’s VP of Product Management, Marc Laitin, led a hands-on exercise in customer segmentation, where participants used a few of our 100+ segmentation attributes to create unique customer experiences. 

9. Hearing a polar explorer's call for all hands on deck

powerup_robswan Robert Swan is the first person ever to walk unsupported to both the North and South Poles. He’s witnessed the impacts of climate change firsthand, and he’s dedicated his life to preserving earth’s ice caps by promoting recycling renewable energy. At PowerUp, Rob regaled attendees with tales of his adventures — and drove home why it’s so important that utilities lead the way to a clean energy future. 

10. Handing out the first-ever PowerUp Awards

powerup_awards Every year, our clients take bold action to evolve our industry. They advance the field of demand management. They launch pioneering digitalization strategies. They make AMI real for their customers. They explore new business models. They lay the foundation for a clean energy future. At PowerUp, Dan and Alex were proud recognize pioneering accomplishments with the first-ever PowerUp Awards — a small token to recognize utility innovators who inspire us. 


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