Enervee’s Kate Merson shares key takeaways from SECC's 2022 Consumer Symposium
Kate Merson is an industry veteran with deep expertise on market transformation, who recently joined Enervee as Vice President of Utilities and has hit the ground running. I caught up with her following the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative’s 2022 Annual Consumer Symposium to get her take on the event and the latest thinking on engaging consumers in the clean energy transition.
This was my first time at the SECC annual conference. What I loved about it was how intimate the gathering was. Amidst the much larger Distributech and PowerGen conference happening down the hall, I felt SECC was approachable and enabled me to network more effectively with the right people.
I think it's critical that we empathize with consumers more when thinking about decarbonization strategies, so I was thrilled that the conference was very consumer-centric. A lot of the sessions riffed off of the SECC’s 2022 State of the Consumer report. Some of the key themes that interested me were:
Our session was great! I moderated a session focused on engaging consumers in decarbonization with panelists Frank Rapley, Senior Manager of TVA’s Energy Right Residential Portfolio, and Naila Ahmed, Account Executive at Oracle. The three of us presented very distinct, yet complementary approaches to scaling residential participation, especially hard to reach consumers.
Frank and his team at TVA are doing some amazing things with deep community engagement, partnership building, and grant-matching to increase whole-home weatherization for low and moderate income consumers through its Home Uplight Program. Many different groups are focused on serving low to moderate income consumers and this means a lot of disparate efforts to reach the same people. Years ago, TVA decided to invest in partnering with communities, organizations and their local power companies to streamline outreach and have a bigger impact.
Having worked in the low-income energy efficiency space, there is definitely a need to join forces, make dollars go farther and reduce customer confusion with this audience.
Naila spoke about her work with PG&E on the next generation of home energy report programs. Home energy reports were transformative in our industry over a decade ago, because they offered a scalable way to induce conservation through normative messages. Oracle has continued to evolve the reports to make them more personalized for consumers with a focus on tailoring them for different consumer segments and hard to reach customers. The program now has 3.5 million customers enrolled, quite possibly the biggest home energy report engagement out there!
I was proud to have my public-speaking debut with Enervee, having joined the company 10 weeks ago. I’ve been working in the energy-efficiency space for over fifteen years, looking for new ways to scale residential program participation, and I think the audience could feel my excitement about Enervee’s marketplace program. This is a one-stop-shop that tackles all consumer barriers to participation - information about energy efficiency products, convenience to purchase and redeem rebates, and now, Eco-Financing, which converts a large, often unplanned expense into affordable monthly payments.
I’m always so energized after leaving conferences, like SECC’s. Our industry has come so far in the past decade and it has never been more exciting to be a part of it. My main takeaway is that we have a clear duty to figure out how to include the hardest-to-reach consumers in our decarbonization strategies. There will be no one-size-fits-all approach, but I feel optimistic to hear about the many different strategies and solutions out there.
Thanks for your time, Kate!
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