Who is the true New York energy customer?

People have been trying to define the true New Yorker since New York was called New Amsterdam, it seems. Some say you must be born there; some believe true New Yorkers are made elsewhere and imported. Former New York City mayor Ed Koch famously quipped that you didn’t have to be from NYC to be a New Yorker. Instead, you could claim the title even after a mere six months if after those six months you did everything—walk, talk, think—just a little bit faster.

A little bit faster, after all, could be seen as the New Yorker way.

As part of our ongoing New York State of Energy blog series, we’ve covered a lot of aspects of New York’s energy scene. We’ve talked to Gil C. Quiniones, the president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, about hands-on utility work and planning strategy, and we’ve sat down with the NY Energy Czar Richard Kauffman on the regulatory promise of the state’s vision. But now it’s time to get a profile of the most important person in New York’s energy equation, the customer.

Earlier this year, our friends at the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (formerly called the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative), tried to define the true New Yorker in their own way—albeit it more of a state-of New Yorker rather than just the citified variety Koch was talking about. And, unfortunately, it seems that the average New York energy consumer may not be walking the walk, talking the talk or thinking very deeply about energy, even with the state’s REV program making a unique splash in the U.S. utility conversation.

According to the Collaborative’s New York Consumer Pulse report, there’s a gap the size of Manhattan between the regulatory actions and strategies in the state and the awareness of the average New Yorker about that strategy. Their study indicates only one in five know anything about REV, leaving a large portion of the state’s utility consumer population at least figuratively in the dark.

But the news isn’t all bad. The undercurrent of concepts, topics and motivations at the heart of the REV program and the state’s modernization efforts are popular—even if most New Yorkers can’t name REV exactly. Examples? Well, when REV’s goals were unpacked for survey participants, almost 60% fully supported those listed goals. Additionally, almost 80% wanted clean energy investment to be a priority and over 70% wanted to make energy affordable for low-income neighbors in their communities.

So, the heart of what’s inspired those changes in the state is inside every New Yorker, even if they’re not able to name programs.  There simply remains a grand opportunity to engage and educate the New York public on the energy and utilities programs that continue to pick up momentum and speed all around them.

In other words, there’s a grand opportunity, you might say, for each and every one of them to become the well-informed, fully-up-to-speed, true energy savvy New Yorker.

This is the fourth installment of our New York State of Energy blog series leading up to Oracle Utilities’  executive conference, Oracle Industry Connect, which is coming to NYC in April 2018. One panel session at the event will focus exclusively on what’s happening in New York, with insights from Con Edison’s Senior VP of Customer Energy Solutions Matthew Ketschke, LO3 Energy’s Founder Lawrence Orsini (Brooklyn Microgrid) and NYSERDA's John Rhodes. Dying to see that session? Request an invitation to the conference right here.


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