Maintaining energy customer satisfaction is a top priority for energy utilities nationwide. As energy prices continue to rise and inflation affects prices across industries, customer satisfaction is taking a hit.

According to J.D. Power’s 2022 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, overall residential electric utility satisfaction is down as customers experience higher monthly bills and struggle financially. “Utilities need to be sensitive to the financial challenges that some customers are experiencing,” John Hazen, Managing Director of Utility Intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a recent press release.

Additionally, service reliability and lack of transparent communications are impacting residential energy customer satisfaction.

6 Ways to Raise Energy Customer Satisfaction

Despite the challenges that utilities face, there are several strategies for achieving high energy customer satisfaction. Utilities ranked highest in their respective regions share their tips and tactics, including:

  • Focus on the customer experience
  • Communicate proactively and consistently
  • Offer convenient services and programs
  • Provide energy efficiency tips and energy savings advice
  • Educate and empower customers
  • Champion and encourage employees

Focus on the customer experience

For Louisville Gas & Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company (LG&E and KU), high residential customer satisfaction stems from a mission to provide safe, reliable service at a reasonable cost, communicate with customers and focus on the customer experience.

“It has to be across the entire company. Everyone has a responsibility, whether it’s on or off the job, they’re representing our brand,” says Debbie Leist, Director of Customer Services and Marketing at LG&E and KU. “It’s a huge initiative for us. We need to make sure we’re addressing the evolving needs and expectations of our customers because they’re constantly changing.”

The customer experience includes every touchpoint the customer has with their utility, including payments, outage alerts, energy efficiency and more. Energy customer satisfaction also comes from understanding customers’ needs, interests and preferences.

“Cost and reliability are customers’ greatest concerns,” says Leist. “Reliability is very important, especially on the residential side with more customers working from home. There’s greater awareness from customers, even with brief interruptions or outages.”

For PSE&G, the utility has dedicated teams focused on specific customer experience categories, such as corporate citizenship or billing and payment, that influence perception, explains Cynthia Foose, Manager of Customer Assessment at PSE&G.

“We have subject matter experts within those areas to understand what we’re currently doing and where there are gaps in customer experience that we can improve upon, whether it’s with a process, technology or people,” says Foose.

An important part of corporate citizenship is supporting the utility’s local communities. PSE&G encourages employees to volunteer and regularly communicates the importance of doing so.

Additionally, PSE&G develops customer journey maps to look at its processes from customers’ perspectives. “We’ve been doing journey mapping for a few years,” says Foose. “We get a lot of learnings from it. It’s not a process map, it’s really going through the customer experience, from the customer’s point of view, and looking at things differently.”

Communicate proactively and consistently

As the energy industry continues to change, it’s important to keep customers in the know. This starts with proactive communication and consistent touchpoints.

In a world of quick Google searches and hyper-personalization, keeping up with changing customer expectations can be a challenge. “We’re a utility, but we’re not being compared to other utilities, we’re being compared to Amazon and other retailers that are quicker to market or more agile,” says Foose. “We have to be just as nimble and provide similar experiences that our customers have come to expect.”

PSE&G leverages a variety of messaging formats to communicate with customers and impact energy customer satisfaction, including newsletters and email campaigns. “We find email has a very strong recall, but we also do bill inserts, bill messages, social media and website updates,” says Foose.

Whether it’s an outage, gas emergency, billing updates, or self-service technology enhancements, PSE&G believes communicating to customers in a way that will resonate with them is critical. The utility sends messages in various channels and reviews the metrics of each to help its internal team understand where they need to make tweaks in the communication — both in messaging and in the delivery channel.

Leist says there’s been a large focus in recent years on educating customers about economic development and what LG&E and KU are doing to make service more reliable. The utilities also regularly communicate with customers about:

  • Safety
  • What to do in the event of an emergency
  • How to contact LG&E and KU
  • Programs and services that are available
  • Payment options
  • Self-service opportunities
  • AMI awareness and preparation

“Communication is important,” says Leist. “We take what we call a surround-sound approach to that, in meeting customers on platforms that they use most, so we don’t just rely on one way to communicate to our customers.”

LG&E and KU communicate to customers via social media, the utility corporate website, a monthly newsletter, bill inserts, email and direct mail. Additionally, when there is important information that will affect a lot of customers, LG&E and KU reaches out to community leaders to make them aware and act as advocates in sharing the information.

“Communication is critical for us,” says Leist. “We have a lot going on at any given time, so we try really hard to keep customers informed of everything that is happening.”

Offer convenient services and programs

No one likes jumping through hoops to find an answer to a simple question. Customers expect to easily find relevant information or interact with their utility in their preferred channels.

“Convenience is important,” says Leist. “When we say convenience, we’re talking about offering a variety of options to customers — not everyone likes to pay or interact with us in the same way. It’s important that we can meet customers where they want to be met and we offer a variety of technology and tools to give them the flexibility to do that.”

One way LG&E and KU offer convenience is through a mobile app that the utility implemented in 2021. It allows customers to make payments, track their energy usage, report and track outages and more. The utility’s app currently has more than 450,000 downloads, 13,000 ratings and a 4.8-star rating in the App store. Additionally, it has 3,350 ratings and a 4.7-star rating in the Google Play store.

“In a single calendar year, our customers conducted 5.4 million transactions on the app alone,” says Leist. LG&E and KU offer other self-service options through their automated phone system and My Account portal as well.

Screenshot example of LG&E and KU utility mobile app to improve energy customer satisfaction

“We realize that the digital experience is the key to being better in a lot of ways. There really has been a focus in the past six years on improving the digital experience with our customers,” says Leist. “We continue year after year to see increases in the use of our self-service channels. While you can’t do everything self-service, we try really hard to have the basic, simple functions be available via self-serve.”

PSE&G offers three digital self-serve options to customers, including My Alerts, an opt-in text notifications program, mobile app and My Account web portal. Customers who are enrolled in PSE&G’s My Alerts program and mobile app rank higher in energy customer satisfaction. This is attributed to the fact that customers receive more proactive information and updates.

Provide energy efficiency tips and energy savings advice

Rising energy rates and overall inflation are major concerns for customers. More than 20 million American households — one out of six homes — are now behind on their utility bills, by an average of $788. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there is no relief in sight.

Educating customers about the options available to them and how to manage their energy usage is a top priority for both PSE&G and LG&E and KU. This strategy has a high impact on energy customer satisfaction.

Screenshot example of PSE&G utility payment assistance website to improve energy customer satisfaction

“We have a very robust communication plan. There’s a conscious effort to let customers know what programs are available to them, whether they’re PSE&G energy efficiency programs or federal and state payment assistance programs,” says Foose. “We do targeted campaigns as well as general awareness campaigns to make sure that customers who are eligible for assistance know how to apply and access programs.”

Within the past year, PSE&G has implemented both rate increases and decreases. In either scenario, transparent communication is key. For rate increases, the utility focuses communications on how to save money, use its home energy analyzer, assess personal energy usage and more. Additionally, the utility includes information on programs and services that could help customers mitigate the costs of rate increases. For rate decreases, PSE&G communicates when and how much customers can expect in bill impacts and provides continuing energy efficiency education to keep the costs down.

“We work very closely with our residential energy efficiency program managers to make sure we know the program benefits and how to communicate the benefits of the programs to customers,” says Foose. “With increasing prices and the economic challenges that our customers are facing, we need to be able to have that partnership with our customers so that they see the value and opportunity in our efficiency programs.”

LG&E and KU offers a WeCare Program, which is a “voluntary program designed to create savings through weatherization and energy education to help income-eligible customers in need.” This program provides assistance to eligible customers, offering energy efficiency tips and even making home repairs when needed.

“We have a team dedicated to these customers to help them make energy-saving changes to their home,” says Natasha Collins, Director of Media Relations for LG&E and KU. “They look at different ways energy is impacted in their homes and help them better manage their energy use, which ultimately impacts their energy bills.”

The utilities offer a budget payment plan, which levels out payments throughout the year so customers know what to expect and can budget for monthly payments. LG&E and KU customers can also take part in installment plans that allow them to extend their due dates to have more time to make payments. “We try to educate our customers on the investments that we’re making,” says Leist. “That’s one component of our consistent communications with them.”

AMI meters are also being installed, which allows customers to look at their energy usage in intervals and see how they can better manage their usage. “We want customers to be aware of the many programs available to them and help them be wiser energy consumers,” Leist adds.

LG&E and KU also offer website resources in a variety of content formats, which speaks to customer preferences. “Everyone likes to learn differently,” says Collins. “We offer energy efficiency videos on our website for those who like to learn more visually, in addition to our articles and text-based content.”

Additionally, the utilities put a large focus on community partnerships. One example is holding quarterly meetings with low-income agencies in their service territories. “We get together and talk about what’s going on, what we, as the utility company, can do to help make their jobs easier in being able to assist customers as quickly and effectively as they can,” says Leist. “We don’t want to be a bottleneck.”

Educate and empower customers

Educating customers about what is going on in the energy industry is a win-win for both the utility and customers. The more transparency and open communication there is among groups, the more energy customer satisfaction is impacted in a positive way.

“Our primary mission is safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for our customers,” says Collins. “As a company, it’s all about empowering customers. We want to make sure that customers know they have control over how they’re using energy. Part of that is teaching them how to manage energy use in their homes and resources to manage their usage and cost as much as possible.”

In addition to the quarterly meetings with low-income agencies, the utilities also have an online panel of customers to expand their reach in the community. Conducted for 10 years, the panel currently has 1,000 participating customers. The utilities present and discuss information with customers, such as communications they’re planning to send out, which messages are resonating most, what features they’d like to see on the website or in the app, and more. This allows LG&E and KU to hear from engaged, responsive customers to see what they’re interested in.

“We want our customers to have a voice in what we do,” says Leist. “The online panel has been a very valuable tool for us to get insight to our customers to make sure we’re delivering and meeting their expectations.”

Additionally, LG&E and KU have a customer advisory panel, where customers throughout the service territory can learn about the utilities’ offerings and share them with others. Panel members are chosen after being recommended by employees or other community members. The panel consists of 20 customers from various parts of the utilities’ service territories who each serve a three-year term. “The purpose of these customers is for them to be advocates for us in the community,” says Leist. “They help get the word out — help educate, increase awareness and bring back learnings for us.”

PSE&G also touts the value of customer feedback in expanding and improving the utility’s energy customer satisfaction efforts. The utility has an online panel of about 2,500 residential customers that PSE&G can tap into for feedback. Customers opt-in to the panel to provide their opinions and perspectives. “We’ve gotten good response rates,” says Foose. “These customers are invested and interested in providing us feedback so that we can better their experiences.”

In addition to various customer panels, PSE&G and LG&E and KU look for feedback from J.D. Power research, email surveys, Gartner best practices and Chartwell research. The utilities stay tuned in with these different organizations to ensure they are constantly improving the customer experience and affecting energy customer satisfaction. PSE&G also has an in-house research team that produces ad-hoc research, including email surveys, to gauge its customers’ satisfaction and interest in the utility’s products and services.

Champion and encourage employees

In addition to encouraging customers to speak up and become involved in utility decisions, PSE&G and LG&E and KU find that championing employees leads to higher energy customer satisfaction.

“We share positive customer feedback with front-line associates and also with supervisors to share with their teams,” says Foose. “We’re looping that feedback back to the individual that provided that service, which really helps recognize the employee and drive employee engagement which then translates into better customer service.”

Utilities are people-focused organizations, both in how they operate internally and who is affected externally. Empowering employees directly impacts energy customer satisfaction.

“It’s more than just customer satisfaction,” says Foose. “When you really think about the customer and make a conscious effort internally of how to improve the customer experience, you’ve gained loyalty and advocates — both with employees and customers.”

What’s the Secret to Energy Customer Satisfaction?

Utility customers are unique in many ways. Research shows that customers think about their utility for only 10 minutes per year. In those 10 minutes, customers are most likely experiencing an emergency, such as an outage or billing issue.

What doesn’t make utility customers unique is the fact they want reliable service and easy interactions. Being able to quickly and efficiently ease customers’ anxieties will lead to an increase in energy customer satisfaction.

“You’re not dealing with something that’s static. We’re working with customers and their behaviors and experiences,” says Foose. “Everybody is unique so you have to be able to constantly adapt based on what the customer needs.”

Not one thing impacts customer satisfaction; there is a domino effect of factors influencing each other. Developing designated customer committees can assist in seeing the full picture, along with the nitty-gritty elements that impact customers. “It’s a continual process,” says Leist. “We have to identify opportunities for improvement, make sure we’re addressing the evolving needs and expectations of our customers and implement changes.”

Additionally, building awareness about utility services is key. Utilities aren’t just natural gas or electricity providers, they’re partners to customers and their communities. It’s not just about making sure the service is delivered, but seeing how the service is delivered, understanding the value of the service and how it’s resonating with customers.

“It’s about the overall customer experience,” says Foose. “It’s education, building awareness and making sure that we have strong customer service to back up the value that we’re presenting to customers.”

Customers must be put first, with an eye on constantly improving the customer experience in the long run. Customer centricity isn’t just a buzzword — it’s a tangible concept of working toward a customer-focused culture.

“We’re all people,” says Leist. “We’re trying to help customers the best we can in the best ways we know how. Communicating, educating and empowering customers and employees comes first. Then customer satisfaction, advocacy and loyalty follow.”

Learn how a customer engagement strategy from Questline Digital can help boost energy customer satisfaction at your utility.

As an energy utility, it’s essential that your customers are satisfied — after all, they’re the very lifeblood of your business. And while customer service and energy supply are obviously major factors in retention and loyalty, there’s another powerful component when it comes to delivering an exceptional customer experience: marketing.

Leveraged correctly, marketing can help you reach a greater number of customers than ever before and create relationships built on trust and understanding. Marketing can be an invaluable tool in raising awareness of your services, engaging customers, and creating a positive experience.

Keep reading to discover the top five components of your marketing strategy that can enhance utility customer satisfaction (CSAT).

5 Ways Marketing Can Improve Utility Customer Satisfaction

  1. Easy-to-use websites and portals
  2. Personalized communications
  3. Entertainment
  4. Helpful content
  5. Honesty

When customers see that you’re attending to their needs and making it simple for them to take advantage of offers, they leave interactions feeling pleased. You can make it enjoyable to engage with your utility by developing easy-to-use websites, investing in segmented email marketing and sharing content that entertains and improves customers’ daily lives.

“I believe that any effort that connects on a personal level with the consumer improves the customer experience,” said Angela Catton, Manager of Member Relations and Development at Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO). “Marketing efforts that can reinforce how that specific product or service can improve a customer’s life strike a chord and make that experience memorable.”

Easy-to-use websites and portals

Navigating the world of electric utilities can be a daunting task for customers. That’s why an easy-to-use website and customer portal can have a tremendously positive impact on CSAT.

When customers can easily access information about their bills, seamlessly make payments and intuitively find what they are looking for, they feel more empowered and in control of their energy consumption.

An intuitive website can also reduce the need for customers to call in and wait on hold for extended periods. This can lead to a higher level of customer satisfaction as their experience is more efficient and hassle-free.

As a customer of an electric utility, the last thing you want to encounter while trying to navigate a website or customer portal is a clunky interface. Not only can a clunky website be confusing and frustrating, but it can also contribute to a negative perception of the utility as a whole.

What exactly makes for a website that successfully serves the needs of customers? The annual Website Benchmark report published by E Source includes a public ranking of utility sites. In 2021 the report assessed 85 electric and gas utility websites, focusing on four usability components: findability, functionality, content and appearance.

Features of top-ranking utility websites:

  • Use responsive design
  • Follow standards for accessibility compliance
  • Prioritize self-service
  • Emphasize security
  • Have intuitive navigation
  • Provide content that customers need

Common pitfalls for utility websites:

  • Slow loading times
  • Difficult navigation
  • Broken links
  • Multi-click pathways to important information
  • Or, lack of important information altogether
  • Poor design
  • Text-heavy or jargon-heavy messaging

Personalized communications

With options such as personalized emails, text messages and mobile app notifications, personalized communications provide a straightforward, cost-effective way for energy utilities to strengthen their customer relationships.

Utilities can personalize communications by understanding their customers’ needs and interests, using data like customer energy use, program participation and content consumption. Con Edison adds insights from third-party companies like Experian Marketing Services to create data-driven customer segments, according to Tony Todesco, Market Research Senior Specialist at the utility.

“Our residential customer database has been appended with these fields so other departments can leverage this data in their analytic platforms as well,” Todesco explained during a webinar.

For example, Con Edison’s outreach team, which hosts events in local neighborhoods, has access to a dashboard that allows them to look up zip code-level statistics when preparing for events. The team can use data, such as language preference or the number of families in an area, to help guide their approach.

Energy utilities have an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction by employing such personalization strategies. By tailoring messages to individual customers, whether through their preferred communication channels or by providing energy-saving advice specific to their household, utilities can build trust and loyalty.

With the rise of technology and data analytics, energy companies can now analyze customer behaviors to create messaging that resonates with their needs.


NIPCO uses virtual reality videos to educate and entertain consumers about the work done by cooperative line workers. Customers can wear headsets and experience a climb to the top of an electric pole through the magic of 360-degree video. The “Lineman 360” experience directly brought the message of line worker safety to the watcher, making it feel personal and memorable.

“These videos immerse the watcher and build empathy with what line workers do daily by experiencing it themselves,” Catton explained. “Lineman 360 improved the consumer relationship because when the lights go out, they remember their experience when they virtually climbed a pole or trimmed a tree and understand that it takes time to restore the power safely.

“By making them ‘virtual line workers,’ they connect personally with their power provider, and consumers become advocates for what they do. When they become advocates, that customer relationship is deepened.”

To get a 360-degree view of a line worker’s pole climb, use your mouse to click and drag the video’s perspective.

Helpful content

As an energy utility provider, your customers want more than just reliable service and competitive prices. They also want to feel informed and empowered when it comes to their energy usage.

By creating and sharing helpful content, such as energy-saving tips, tutorials on how to read their bills, appliance efficiency guides, and regulation updates, you can show your customers that you care about their satisfaction beyond just their monthly bill.

“Finding good, digestible, and engaging content that connects with the consumer is gold,” Catton said. “It draws them in and conversationally communicates good advice on how to save money, improve their lives or live greener.”

Questline Digital’s 2023 Energy Utility Benchmarks Report found that residential customers were most engaged with the following pieces of content:

  1. Myth Busting: Home Energy Use
  2. Wasting Energy is a Hard Habit to Break
  3. Listening for Energy Savings in Your Home
  4. Holiday Season: 12 Days of Energy Savings
  5. Your Home: The Hidden Costs of Summer
  6. How to Keep Your Upstairs Cooler This Summer
  7. You Can Upgrade to a Smart Outlet
  8. Your Home: Sealing in Savings and Comfort
  9. Is Your Home Ready for Winter?
  10. 5 Signs That You Need a New Heating System

Education is also critical for business customers. Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) works to inform its business customers about rising costs, state decarbonization efforts and other imperative issues, according to Denise Galambos, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations and Chief Customer Officer.

“We spend a lot of time counseling business customers on energy efficiency programs, grants, and other ways to save on energy costs,” Galambos explained in a recent Utility Dive article. “Maryland is a state that’s very focused on its decarbonization goals, requiring us to continuously educate customers about what’s happening at the legislative level.”


As energy costs steadily rise and renewable energy becomes an increasingly prominent topic, the importance of honesty in marketing strategies cannot be understated. Energy utility companies can benefit from being transparent with their customers about the sources of their power, any associated costs and details about their operations.

In turn, customers can make informed decisions about their energy consumption and feel confident that their provider has their best interests at heart. This transparency can lead to improved utility customer satisfaction, as consumers feel like they have a better understanding of what they are paying for and how it impacts the environment.

During a recent webinar, Morgan Kriley, Customer Experience Associate with Duquesne Light Company (DLC), explained that transparency is central to DLC’s focus on being a “Trusted Energy Partner” to its customers.

“The honesty and transparency piece played a major role” in a campaign to inform customers of changing energy rates, Kriley said. DLC created website resources, including a website banner and resource hub, in addition to social media posts and newsletter articles to explain the new rates. Each resource directed customers to a link that explained why energy prices were rising and what customers could do to help lower their costs.

Boost Utility Customer Satisfaction with Positive Experiences

Energy customers have more control than ever before, from choosing their energy providers to using smart home devices to automate energy savings. But along with this control comes a need for information to help customers better understand the impact of these decisions on their energy consumption and costs.

With an effective marketing strategy, utilities can be the trusted sources of that information and ensure that customers can take control of their energy use. By providing easy-to-use websites, personalized communications, entertaining and helpful content, and transparent messaging, energy providers can have a positive impact on the customer experience and achieve higher levels of utility customer satisfaction.

Learn how a digital engagement strategy from Questline Digital and help you boost customer satisfaction at your energy utility.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries, including energy utilities, by offering innovative ways to improve the customer experience, enhance efficiency and streamline communications.

Our recent webinar, “Boost Customer Engagement with AI,” shared expert insights from Questline Digital’s Brian Lindamood, VP of Marketing and Content Strategy, and Zach Hardison, VP of Innovation. They explored how AI can be used tactfully by energy utilities to create personalized content, automate customer onboarding and support targeted communication campaigns for utility customers.

Lindamood reminded audience members that, “AI is a tool to improve our work, but still requires humans to operate and leverage results in a strategic way.”

Why We Care About AI Now

The growing interest in AI can be attributed to several factors that have made it more accessible, relatable, and widely adopted across industries, including energy utilities. These advancements have demystified AI and showcased its potential for enhancing efficiency, streamlining operations, and improving customer experiences.

Notably, AI is nothing new. Hardison shared that AI has been integrated for many years now, one example dating back to 2007 with Netflix’s ability to recommend “Top Picks for You” based on user preferences. He pointed out that the current buzz around AI stems from ChatGPT’s rise to fame in late 2022, thanks to its broad release and free public access.

“What this [public access] does is greatly remove the apprehension and barriers around AI,” says Hardison. “You can do things that are silly, you can do things that are professional. It reduces that apprehension. It reduces the fear factor that folks have around AI. And that’s why you’re suddenly seeing a lot more adoption because it has reduced the stigma and the barriers around AI.”

Benefits and AI Use Cases for Utilities

Hardison and Lindamood shared a variety of ways that AI can assist both outside and inside the energy utility industry.

“AI has been a boon in the fields of marketing and communications,” says Lindamood. “AI has the ability to analyze a vast amount of data, learn about customers’ preferences and behavior, and then help us personalize the customer experience to better meet their needs.”

One significant benefit of AI in the utility industry is its ability to share personalized content with customers based on their interests and engagement with previous communications. AI can be used to ensure that the right information reaches the right people at the right time, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Hardison shared an example of utilizing AI to create dynamic newsletters that send relevant content to customers based on their chosen preferences and interests. He shared that the importance of sending this customized content is to connect with customers in a way that shows your utility is listening.

Another valuable application of AI in the utility industry is its ability to identify characteristics that make customers eligible for programs like energy assistance, even if they are unaware of their eligibility. By using AI algorithms to analyze customer data, utility companies can proactively reach out to eligible customers and inform them about available aid.

One of the most immediate benefits of AI is its ability to scale up human efficiency. It excels at handling monotonous, repetitive, low-value tasks that would otherwise consume a significant number of human resources. By providing AI with boundaries and structure, it can operate within a defined scope, enhancing productivity without compromising on quality.

Limitations of AI for Utilities

It’s important to remember that artificial intelligence isn’t perfect. While AI offers numerous benefits to the energy utilities sector, it’s essential to recognize that the technology also has its limitations. By understanding these constraints, your utility can make informed decisions about AI implementation and manage expectations.

  1. Machines can’t understand user intent: AI can’t know for sure what a searcher wants; data will help improve algorithms but it will never be perfect
  2. AI doesn’t understand nuance: Computers see things in black and white and can’t offer perspectives from multiple lenses.
  3. AI-created content can be wrong, biased or misused: It needs to be fact-checked by humans.

Best Practices for Implementing AI in the Utility Industry

Chart showing best practices for using AI for utilities

To maximize the benefits of AI in the utility industry, it’s important to begin by following the data and using that information to guide your AI decisions. Consider the following template in analyzing the path for your AI strategy:

  1. Determine the use cases for AI and prioritize the data accordingly.
  2. Set clear business goals and metrics to measure success.
  3. Clean and explore data to see what opportunities rise to the surface and remove irrelevant data.
  4. Test and develop AI before putting it into production and maintain and review it regularly.
  5. Don’t get distracted by shiny new AI tools; be guided by business goals and objectives.

Remember, AI is a powerful tool that can greatly improve customer experiences and streamline operations, but it still requires human input and strategic thinking to be genuinely effective. You know your audience best. Use your human intelligence to guide the decision-making process and add AI when helpful to assist your strategy.

Want to use AI to improve customer engagement at your utility? Check out a demo of Questline Digital’s personalized newsletter solution.

My Account makes your customers’ lives easier. They can set up their payment options, sign up for paperless billing, explore their energy use and more. My Account isn’t just beneficial for customers — it’s an essential tool to help energy utilities achieve long-term customer satisfaction.

Beyond personalizing their experience, My Account helps customers be more digitally connected with your energy utility. However, it’s not always easy to encourage customers to enroll in this convenient service. Try these five proven strategies to increase My Account enrollment.

Promote My Account Enrollment in Welcome Series

The best time to promote My Account to customers is at the start of service. We recommend taking advantage of a new customer onboarding campaign such as Welcome Series to introduce the features of My Account. In fact, nearly half of all Welcome Series emails are opened, and one in 10 customers click on at least one email.

Promote My Account enrollment throughout your welcome messaging, especially in communications focused on setting up service and billing options. Our benchmarks data shows that the welcome and billing message have the highest customer engagement, with open rates of 43% and 53%, respectively. In these emails, highlight the key benefits of My Account and include a CTA directly to the enrollment page.

Example of email promoting MyAccount enrollment

For example, Questline Digital helped these energy utilities highlight My Account in their Welcome Series campaigns. The billing and payment email features prominent links for customers to create an account. The My Account messaging reinforces how customers can customize their utility experience.

Example of customer welcome email marketing MyAccount

Create an Eye-Catching Email Campaign

Customers are drawn to emails that are fun, engaging and stand out. Instead of simply listing the benefits of signing up for My Account, it behooves utilities to create a compelling theme.

In other words, tell a story that speaks to customers’ needs, interests and lifestyles. For example, show an image of a customer relaxing on the beach while checking their utility bill. This lets customers envision how on-the-go account access can benefit them.

Questline Digital worked with a large Southeast energy utility to deploy a My Account email campaign. The campaign showcased how residential customers can manage their electric account wherever they go. The imagery of a customer relaxing on a hammock during a camping trip emphasizes the benefit of “anytime and anywhere” account access.

Example of engaging marketing email to promote My Account enrollment

A Midwest utility focused on women, a large segment of their customer base, with this creative campaign. The campaign highlighted how the utility’s online user profile is designed for “the Super You.” In other words, creating an online user profile will help these customers accomplish even more in their day.

Example of segmented marketing campaign to increase My Account enrollment

Segment Your Audience

An engaging message has the power to increase the effectiveness of your promotions. Segmentation helps increase My Account enrollment by promoting specific benefits to smaller, targeted audiences.

We recommend segmenting your audience by customers’ needs and interests. For example, business customers are more interested in no-hassle payment options like auto pay that make their busy schedules a little easier.

You can segment your residential customers by homeowners and renters. Homeowners are interested in keeping track of their monthly energy usage. Budget billing or payment assistance programs may be more relevant to a renters.

A large Northeast energy utility segmented their My Account email to business customers. The email, part of a four-email Welcome Series, featured the billing and payment options that businesses care most about, including paperless billing, auto pay and flexible payments. The email includes multiple call-to-actions (CTAs) to sign up for My Account.

Example of marketing email to business customers to promote My Account enrollment

A Pennsylvania-based energy utility created an email campaign targeting residential customers who have not signed up for My Account. The email features an eye-catching animated GIF that illustrates how easy it is to choose various My Alerts, including billing alerts and payment confirmations, available through My Account.

Example of marketing email to promote MyAccount enrollment

Make it Easy with One-Click My Account Enrollment

A potential roadblock for customers is a complicated, multi-step enrollment process. One-click enrollment features an easy-to-use landing page with customers’ account information dynamically prepopulated in the form. All they need to do is click a button to enroll.

Our energy utility clients have found success with one-click enrollment for various promotions, from paperless billing to rebate programs. For example, we helped Eversource Energy create a one-click enrollment landing page and enrollment confirmation page for their paperless billing program. As a result of this easy enrollment, Eversource experienced the largest annual gain in five years with an increase to 33%.

Add an Incentive

Incentives are an effective way to increase My Account enrollment. Questline Digital performance metrics have found that a small reward for every customer who signs up is more effective than a single grand prize. Promotions with an incentive have a 17% higher open rate and 28% higher CTR.

Here are some best practices when choosing a smaller incentive:

  • Awarding a $5 gift card to all signups converts better than enter-to-win contests of $1,000 or more.
  • Products like LED lightbulbs rank second to gift cards among the best drivers of click-throughs.
  • Thermostats and smart-home device giveaways are also top performers.

While less effective than small rewards, a single grand prize (tickets to a sports game or free electricity for a year) is better than no incentive at all. These prizes will still encourage opens and drive customer interest in your promotional email.

Example of My Account enrollment promotions that uses an incentive

A large Midwest energy utility utilized a sweepstakes to motivate residential customers to sign up for an online account. Customers could win up to $3,000 in home improvements by creating an online account, enrolling in e-Bill and other helpful tools. The “Click It to Win It” sweepstakes was a successful way to increase online account sign-ups, while also helping customers make energy efficiency improvements to their home.

Connect on Social Media

The demographics of energy utility customers are changing — and younger generations are a growing share of the population. To reach millennial and Gen Z customers, you need to be where they are online. With 90.4% of younger generations being active social media users, this is where to find them.

Don’t miss out on reaching younger audiences — share the benefits of My Account through an engaging social media campaign featuring fun videos or imagery. While it’s important to stay true to your brand, social media is the perfect opportunity to show off your brand’s personality.

Example of social media posts promoting MyAccount

A Pennsylvania-based energy utility utilized Facebook and Instagram to promote My Account’s home energy savings capabilities, including monthly bill comparisons and personalized energy savings tips. The social media campaign featured fairytale-themed imagery of houses with the tagline, “Everyone’s home is unique — so is their energy use.”

Making Moves with My Account

Opportunities abound for increasing My Account enrollment. Since every energy utility is unique, test out these different tactics to discover which one works best for you.

Learn how a digital marketing campaign will boost My Account enrollment for your energy utility.

As solar and other renewables become more affordable, many of the electric power consumers of yesterday are now active energy consumers and producers, or energy prosumers.

These utility customers invest in and install rooftop solar panels to generate the electricity they need and feed the excess electricity they produce back to the grid in exchange for credits or reductions to their energy bills.

Many households are also looking to battery electric vehicles and home battery storage systems that can be combined with solar panels to power their homes during outages. Some utilities, like PG&E in California, offer financial incentives to customers that install battery storage systems.

As electric consumption by U.S. households continues to climb, these energy prosumers will be a growing segment of a utility’s customer base. With approximately 4% of U.S. homes generating electricity from small-scale solar arrays, they already account for nearly one-third of all solar energy produced in the U.S. The International Energy Agency estimates that approximately 100 million households will rely on rooftop solar by 2030.

What is an Energy Prosumer?

An energy prosumer is a utility customer who generates their own power. For residential customers, this typically includes rooftop solar panels and home battery storage. Business customers may use larger-scale distributed energy resources (DERs), such as wind generation, solar arrays and battery storage.

Prosumers may sell their excess power back to the grid, becoming energy producers as well as consumers.

Building Relationships with Energy Prosumers

Energy prosumers are quickly changing the way utilities do business. Now that more and more customers are engaging with power production, these active customers will play a significant role as more renewable energy flows to the grid.

Utilities will be well served by educating and empowering these essential players, working with them as allies in meeting several mutually beneficial objectives:

  • Meet renewable energy mandates. With many states now requiring utilities to generate a specific percentage of their power from renewable sources, utilities are encouraging their energy-supplying customers to help them meet their net zero goals. In those states, many utilities offer customers a solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) with rooftop solar systems for each megawatt-hour of electricity they generate. Homeowners can use these SRECs to generate income.
  • Support solar investments. To encourage the adoption of solar, some utilities offer upfront rebates for installing solar panel systems that can, on average, reduce the cost of the system by as much as 20%.
  • Build trust. Utilities are building portals that provide their most active customers with straightforward and comprehensive access to information about installing solar systems or designing microgrids, assistance connecting their systems to the grid, access to the real-time grid and market data, and more. This encourages them to rely on the utility as a trusted energy partner.
  • Offer incentives. Forward-thinking utilities like Consumers Energy offer bill credits to energy prosumers for the extra energy they produce and discounts on the electricity they purchase. Utilities can also support their prosumer partners by providing discounts on maintenance and installation of solar equipment or technical support and educational services.

Building the utility-prosumer relationship benefits everyone. Customers are happier with lower bills and a reliable power supply during outages, while utilities can make progress toward their sustainability and customer satisfaction goals.

Marketing Tools to Encourage More Energy Prosumers

With the promise of a mutually beneficial relationship, why don’t all consumers become prosumers? It comes down to awareness, education, access and cost.

Awareness and Education

Many customers still don’t know they can return energy to the grid and get paid. Or that they can store power in batteries for future use. And if they do, many need help knowing where to get started.

For example, Super Bowl ads that showcased a Ford F-150 Lightning powering a home during an outage caught the attention of many customers previously uninterested in EVs. They were introduced to the idea of bidirectional charging but were left asking questions about its feasibility.

These newly interested customers need information on equipment, installation and safety. While the idea of sending energy back and forth might sound relatively simple, it’s a complex power conversion process that requires special chargers and careful installation.

Utilities can stand out in today’s crowded landscape with content — like email promotions, landing pages, checklists, blog posts and videos — that educate customers about the benefits of becoming a producer of renewable energy and guides them on how to get started.

Access and Cost

Even if an energy customer knows they want to become a prosumer, there are still hurdles to getting started. Finding reputable installers can be intimidating and the cost can feel out of reach.

For example, the Ford Charge Station Pro carries a price tag of $1,310, not to mention the F-150 Lightning vehicle, which ranges between $55,000 and $97,000.

Solar power storage systems aren’t cheap, either. Batteries can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $22,000.

Previously mentioned portals, incentives and rebates can make all the difference. Utilities that provide easy-to-access resources, like PSEG Long Island’s contractor list or PG&E’s incentive site, allow customers to act independently. Many customers want their utility to be a knowledgeable resource but still want to make home improvements on their own.

Opportunities to Grow with Energy Prosumers

The increasingly important role that energy prosumers play creates new opportunities for utilities to add value to their services and ramp up their efforts to ensure a resilient power grid. By using digital marketing tools and educational content to communicate with customers, the beneficial segment of prosumers can continue to grow.

Learn how a customer engagement strategy from Questline Digital can help build strong relationships with energy prosumers.