Keeping the Momentum with Customer Engagement

Overall Email Performance

Year over year, email open rates remained flat but high at 28% in both 2020 and 2021. Energy utilities have successfully maintained the increased levels of digital engagement gained during the pandemic.


Open Rate



Open Rate


* 2021 data did not see notable impacts from Apple Privacy updates. We do however expect 2022 data to be influenced and will adjust all future evaluations.

New Utility Customer Engagement at an All-Time High

The Welcome Series open rate jumped from

51.94% to 60.25%

That’s a 16% increase in one year!

Welcome messages experienced a high CTR of


As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. This is especially true for the first interactions between your energy utility and new customers.

When they first sign up for service, customers want to hear from their energy utility and access valuable resources to maximize their experience. They may want to enroll in My Account, sign up for paperless billing or set up outage text alerts. Energy utilities must be ready with welcome communications that give new customers everything they want and need.

Our data finds new customer
engagement is at an all-time high

Customers Want Energy Efficiency Content

As residential customers take greater control of their energy usage, energy efficiency remains the No. 1 content category of interest for this audience. They are paying attention to educational content about energy efficiency, home improvement and appliances.

Top Topics for Residential Customers

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Home Improvement
  • Space Conditioning
  • Cooling
  • Space Heater
  • Home Appliances
  • Other


121k Page views

Extreme Weather Makes “Home Cooling” a Hot Topic

Among the most popular content topics of the year, home cooling topped the list. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded. Residential customers are looking for tips to stay comfortable in their homes during hot temperatures while also saving on their monthly bills.

Top Content of 2021

Title Type Pageviews
Are You Cool With Your Air Conditioning System? Article 53,800
What Are Your Home Cooling Habits? Article 26,963
Beyond the Bulb: 3 Ways to Save on Lighting Article 24,266
5 Ways to Save Without Spending Money Video 21,522
Make Time for Savings This Morning Infographic 20,811
Make Time for Savings This Evening Infographic 20,678
Fact or Fable? You Shouldn’t Shower During a Thunderstorm Infographic 20,608
Energy-Saving Tips for Fall Media essay 20,124
Crank up the Savings on Your Heating This Winter Infographic 19,344
Simple Steps to Saving Energy at Home Infographic 17,359

Business Customers Focused on Energy Analysis + Upgrades

In 2021, business customers showed more varied interests than residential customers. Energy utilities were dedicated to solving business customers’ pain points, with a focus on energy savings and productivity. Both Key Accounts and small business (SMB) customers continue to look for ways to analyze their energy usage and make easy efficiency upgrades at their facility.

Top 5 Topics for Business Customers

  • Energy analysis
  • Space Conditioning
  • Facility Systems & Equipment
  • Cooling
  • Lighting
  • Other


7k Page views

Paperless Billing: Targeting Hard-to-Convert Customers

Engagement with paperless promotions declined slightly – perhaps indicative of a plateau. After last year’s huge increase in paperless billing conversions during the coronavirus pandemic, there are fewer (and harder to convert) customers left to sign up. To increase paperless conversions, energy utilities benefit from advanced strategies like one-click enrollment, e-Bill trial periods, incentives and opt-out versus opt-in programs.

Year Delivery
Open Rate CTOR CTR
2020 95.91% 24.89% 7.54% 1.88%
2021 98.62% 23.78% 5.97% 1.42%

Program Promotions Capturing Customer Attention

With customers looking to improve energy efficiency in their homes, appliance rebate promotions experienced a significant increase in engagement. During the pandemic, many residential customers made home improvements, and energy efficient appliances were high on the list.

Research finds that 56% of consumers find it “very important” to have an energy efficient home. However, only 9% think their home is energy efficient.* For energy utilities, there is tremendous opportunity to connect with these customers in need of efficiency advice, programs and products/appliances.

Appliance rebate open rates jumped from 29.26% to 32.71% in one year.

Even more significant is the rise in CTOR:

5.2% in 2020 to 15% in 2021 – a 188.46% increase!

188% increase 15% 5.2% 20202021
Program Promotions by Topic Delivery
Open Rate CTOR CTR
Appliance Rebates 99.73% 32.71% 14.99% 4.90%
Appliance Recycling 99.69% 33.96% 2.26% 0.77%
Appliance Service Plans 99.63% 21.91% 1.46% 0.32%
Community 96.85% 21.82% 7.46% 1.63%
Energy Efficiency 99.46% 28.04% 4.14% 1.16%
Lighting 99.28% 23.25% 6.25% 1.45%
Online Account Promotion 99.68% 21.93% 6.33% 1.39%
Paperless Billing 98.62% 23.78% 5.97% 1.42%
Rebates & Incentives 99.71% 29.03% 3.47% 1.01%
Safety 98.85% 39.53% 4.23% 1.67%


The Power of eNewsletter Subject Lines

2021 saw the resurgence of the eNewsletter. Energy utilities are using this digital tool to communicate everything from energy efficiency advice to new program promotions to residential and business customers alike.

However, before customers can engage with your eNewsletter, they need to first open it. The importance of an effective subject line cannot be overlooked. Email sends that leveraged a repeatable subject line, such as “Utility Name + eNews + Month,” saw higher open rates and CTOR than those with new or custom subject lines each month.

Subject Lines


open rate



Subject Lines


open rate



Repeatable subject lines experienced a
28.14% increase in open rate & 23.27% increase in CTOR

Key Accounts Engagement Goes Down…

Two years into the pandemic, and utilities are facing new challenges for engaging commercial customers. Key Accounts engagement with eNewsletters and program promotions both saw a dip from 2020 to 2021.

Overall for Key Account Communications


29.11% open rate

15.8% CTOR

4.36% CTR


23.96% open rate

15.54% CTOR

3.72% CTR

17.69% decrease in open rate

…and SMB Engagement Goes Up

On the other hand, small and medium business (SMB) communications saw a notable jump in engagement. This data reinforces how small businesses need more help from their energy

Overall for SMB Communications


29.02% open rate

10.59% CTOR

2.92% CTR


32.15% open rate

6.86% CTOR

2.21% CTR

10.79% increase in open rate

Download, Analyze and

Draw a Conclusion

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