September 23, 2018

Right choice. Easy choice. Easier choice.

Landing at an energy company near you, Enervee Score V2 is designed to drive even more of us to make even more energy-smart buying decisions.

Written by
Guy Champniss

The Enervee Score works. It prompts us to make more energy-smart choices and buying decisions. We’ve shown the effect of the score in a series of controlled experiments, consistently recording more efficient choices as a result of consumers being exposed to the score, irrespective of a host of other factors (such as reasons to buy, income levels, pro-energy saving attitudes and even political orientation).

The robustness of the effect has also now been documented ‘in the wild’ by the first independent review of Enervee’s IDEAL Marketplace (of which the Enervee Score is a central component). Drawing on behavioral data and extensive consumer surveys, the study of PG&E’s Marketplace — by Research Into Action — reports that 77% of gross electric savings, and 88% of gas savings are attributable to Marketplace, above and beyond any purchases that benefited from PG&E incentives. The Enervee Score — along with personalised and product specific projected savings — are unique pieces of information on Marketplace that we as consumers cannot get anywhere else. These make all the difference — they create a unique and valued consumer experience, and drive these savings (as well as ramping-up engagement and satisfaction).

Plus we know consumers really like the concept of the Enervee Score together with the consumer experience — in our most recent consumer insight report, 89% of US consumers express their desire to be able to compare individual products on their specific efficiency before they buy. Energy is now seen as an important product attribute or feature (and we hope we’ve had a part to play in that).

If it’s not broken….?

If the Enervee Score works so well, why would we be releasing .v2?

Because we need to do more.

We need to nudge more of us to make more energy-smart decisions, more of the time. And whilst we know the score was doing a great — unique — job, there was room to make it better.

To make the Enervee Score even more effective, we’ve worked on making the score both more representative of the products it evaluates and more salient for consumers.

First, we’ve extended the real scale of the score. Now, highly efficient products are more easily visible at the top of the scale (an Enervee score of 90+ will now always point the consumer to the very best in case). And, maybe more importantly, the lowest performing products can now sink farther, to the bottom the scale (see below). High-performing products now stand-out from the crowd even more.

Chart
Feeling blue…? Low efficiency now has nowhere to hide with Enervee Score .v2 Enervee Score .v1 = Red, Enervee Score .v2 = Blue

Second, we’ve adjusted our calculations so that steps in technology, which deliver substantive improvements in energy efficiency, are now more visible in the scale. In short, the Enervee Score will react more clearly in response to manufacturers’ successes in using the latest technology to add consumer value. This in turn creates an even stronger brand and marketing story for those companies investing in making energy-efficiency a core attribute of their products — and a more dismal story, for those that aren’t.

Why the Enervee Score Matters

While we know the score consistently delivers significantly better — more energy-smart — preferences and decisions, it’s not all about pragmatism (although we are committed to getting the energy-saving result). The Enervee Score is important to us also on a profoundly conceptual level. It’s all to do with the concept of choice.

There are some utility marketplaces that are built on the belief that choice should be reduced for consumers — restricted to a minor subset of efficient products. We don’t like this argument, for two reasons. First, restricting choice feels like a step backwards for the consumer. Easier choices, we like the idea of. But fewer choices doesn’t sit well with us. Restricting choice to reduce the likelihood of bad decisions smacks of something more fundamental missing from the process. Taking stuff away is really not a great solution to any experience design.

Photo
Restricting choice is not a compelling consumer experience. But being free to make good choices, is.

Second, if a utility company cannot determine product-specific energy performance, there’s every likelihood that the highly reduced selection of products doesn’t even include the most efficient options from the category (I’m too British to point out which specific utilities are currently offering their customers a narrow choice of sub-optimal products to buy, but believe me, they’re out there). A reduced selection of less than ideal products represents huge value destruction for the consumer — and opportunity lost for the utility.

Instead, our view of the world is anchored on providing consumers maximum choice (the whole market) but with added salient information (presented clearly and at the right moment) to make a better choice. It’s what Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler refer to as libertarian paternalism, and it’s a core tenet of a well designed and executed behavioral ‘nudge’.

The Enervee Score does this. In spades. And, coupled with personalised product-specific cost savings, provides the operating system for Enervee’s suite of choice engines — software that doesn’t restrict choice, but encourages a better choice, through continuously meshing market data, product data and — crucially — consumer data.

With these refinements to the Enervee Score, we’re confident and excited that we’ll see even higher savings, delivered by better choices stimulated. And with it being even easier for consumers to use, we’re confident we’ll see more consumers using it more. In the PG&E study, over the short period in question over 10% of their 5.2m residential customers used Marketplace, and 60% reported finding Marketplace very helpful. That’s a great position from which to now do even more.

Engagement matters more than ever for utilities as they move to build an integrated, seamless customer experience across EE, solar, DR, DER and EV: a customer experience that evolves with the consumers’ lives, and meets their (increasingly tough) expectations. It’s a role consumers are asking for — 60% are looking to their utility to guide their ever-widening energy-related choices and behaviors. With the Enervee Score v2 underpinning and driving these choices, we’re even more confident we can work with utility partners to deliver what matters most: being valued and trusted by an increasingly empowered customer base, and being able to measure the effects of that relationship.

Enervee Score .v2 went live with all of Enervee’s utility partners on September 20th 2018.

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