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Posts from the ‘energy efficiency’ Category

Energy Efficiency Data Tracking and Reporting Software : DSMTracker

Watch this 3 minute video to learn how DSMTracker can improve operational efficiency and eliminate repetitive tasks for an energy efficiency program manager.

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Energy Rebate Mobile App for Consumers

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about energy efficiency rebates. Your customers are planning on spending a portion of their tax refunds on home improvements. Some of that money will go to making their homes stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter more efficiently. After this year’s winter, homeowners are starting to see what their outdated HVAC and older doors and windows are costing them. Since consumers are looking to make these upgrades anyway, you should take advantage and offer energy rebates.

DSM Mobile RebatesGreen Team Energy Services has a low-cost solution that enable utilities to offer rebates easier without the headaches of manually processing each order. That solution is DSM Mobile Rebates. It is a seamless, electronic energy efficiency rebates processing channel built on cloud technology. DSM Mobile Rebates eliminates paper rebates which saves utilities manpower, time, and money, while improving program cost-effectiveness. When DSM Mobile Rebates is implemented into energy efficiency programs, utilities receive not only the mobile app but also Green Team Energy Services’ powerful DSMTracker rebates processing module on the backend. This rebates engine can also be enabled to work with all other rebate application channels, along with mobile rebates to drive cost out of the rebates process. As a result the utility saves money, while providing their customers with a way to save money too.

DSM Mobile Rebates is a mobile app consumers can download to their Android or iPhone. It’s easy to use for them. All they have to do is take a picture of their receipt, answer some pertinent questions, and apply for the rebate. Because the program is already setup, the system processes the rebate without your team even having to touch it. It’s a win-win for consumers and utilities.

For more information, email info@gt-energyservices.com or call 877-409-7412.

Increasing 39% Energy Efficiency

All the crazy weather lately has had consumers and utilities a stir. Freezing temperatures due to the polar vortex left many without power and others worrying about their electricity bill. The polar vortex did not help utilities curb demand. These strange weather patterns, along with the fact that 2013 was 7th hottest year since the 19th century (when weather tracking began) has many utilities looking for better DSM solutions.

Opower reports that utilities allocate $8.3 billion to DSM initiatives. It’s a balancing act of ensuring your utility is profitable while remaining compliant with commission demands of reducing consumption. The US is only operating at 39% energy efficiency. DSM initiatives should ideally improve that number.

Utilities’ starting point should be data. You have systems that measure customer consumption and DSM programs that are designed to reduce that consumption, but do you have a single system that can consolidate that data in ways that make it easy to track, manage, analyze, and report? A good way for utilities to use  a portion of the $8.3 billion is to invest in a solution that manages consumption and DSM data.

DSM program capabilities

DSMTracker manages and tracks all your data in a way that makes it easy to extract for analysis and reports so you can better assess how customers are using, or saving, energy. DSMTracker also gives you the capability to implement energy efficiency and demand response programs with modules designed for delivery.

That same technology is mobile with DSM Mobile Rebates. Your customers can apply for energy rebates via their smartphone. Once their information is verified (within the platform), processing is automated; thus, driving significant cost out of the rebate process..

39% energy efficiency is not acceptable. One way utilities can contribute to the increase of that number, and be part of using the $8.3 billion in DSM initiatives, is to invest wisely in a platform that is essentially energy efficiency in a box for program managers.

Managing the Data Chaos

Managers of demand side management (DSM) have quite the task. They have to meet commission goals and improve energy efficiency, while ensuring each program  is cost-effective. In some cases fines are levied by the commission when programs are not meeting targets. Data is the lifeblood of DSM programs and bad data can jeopardize these programs.

The reality is, DSM program managers have to sift through a lot of data. Customer account information and energy consumption, measures libraries with deemed savings or impact algorithms, implementation contractor data, etc. All of this data needs to be managed in one place, but in many cases it is not. For many utilities, all of that data and information is scattered in different sources. When it does come time to report DSM program numbers, it takes time to piecemeal and compile a report.

There are software solutions out there that serve not only as a repository for all program data sources, but to consolidate, manage, and analyze the data as well, feeding them into one system, designed specifically to manage DSM program data. Our flagship software solution, DSMTracker, is the perfect example of a platform that manages large amounts of disparate data in one place. DSMTracker is accurate, consistent, and easy to interpret. Furthermore, on-demand reporting and analytics is helpful during Energy Measure Verification and Evaluations (EM&V). Using the built in analytics and reporting tools, any desired report is right at your fingertips.

Implementation contractor program data is received and managed in the same place DSM programs and portfolios are managed and tracked. Additionally, a robust solution allows for integrating with other internal IT platforms, such as MDM systems, to pull information as needed and improve analysis and reporting. This provides the capability to easily integrate multiple data sets when needed.

Since all of this information is in one place, program managers can accurately see how well the DSM programs are doing and make necessary changes to boost numbers and prevent those hefty fines. Energy rebates can be offered and applications processed, through payment, all within the same platform. The challenge of multiple data points disappears. Plus, all of that data isn’t just available on a laptop. Because DSMTracker is built on Salesforce.com, program information can be accessed on a smartphone and tablet in real time.

Accurate, easy to manage data can make a huge difference for DSM program managers. It makes meeting energy savings goals easier and less costly. Knowing where each DSM program stands at all times, can help them make those adjustments early on, so the programs don’t end up falling short.

Energy Efficiency Program Management Problem Part 2

In our previous post, we discussed the many problems energy program managers face on a day-to-day basis. To recap, the biggest problem is meeting regulations to reduce energy consumption imposed on utilities, who then offer energy efficiency programs to consumers to meet those demands. Ultimately, this creates a lot of data and information that needs to be processed. The problem DSM managers face is the lack of a platform that really is an all-in-one solution.

And now part two of this series. We couldn’t give you a problem without giving you some sort of a solution. It’s the GTES flagship platform built on Salesforce.com, DSMTracker.

DSMTracker_4302013

DSMTracker is a highly configurable, unique set of tools created specifically to manage all aspects of gas and electric utility energy efficiency (EE) programs from initial research to final reports.  The solution is based on standards and out-of-the-box functionality that can accommodate the flexibility needed to respond to ever-changing regulatory demands, revisions, and updates.  The DSMTracker framework of strategies and data modeling for energy efficiency cover government, utility, and private sector demands.

DSMTracker eliminates the need for in-house program development.  Built using cloud computing technology, it enables utility companies to manage all aspects of their EE programs quickly and easily from almost any location – in-house or remotely.  It can be provided as a turnkey solution, with Green Team Energy Services performing the configuration, integration, and customization, or it can be provided as a pre-packaged product with Green Team Energy Services offering consulting, knowledge transfer, and support, with the utility company internal staff performing the implementation tasks.

Following are a few advantages of the DSMTracker solution that help achieve maximum energy savings across all customer groups and sectors:

  • DSMTracker’s out-of-the-box functionality meets a high percentage of the typical utility functionality requirements, reducing time, effort, and, consequently, cost of implementation.
  • DSMTracker’s cloud-based computing reduces the costs associated with acquisition, installation, and support of a server-based solution.
  • DSMTracker supports technology advancements and offers mobile computing delivered over the Internet in an on-demand fashion from almost any location.
  • DSMTracker provides secure Internet access through portals based on user roles and profiles, which can be configured without the involvement of programmers, thus reducing implementation costs.
  • DSMTracker provides open interfaces to integrate with other systems, such as existing customer information systems (CIS).
  • DSMTracker provides capabilities for data storage and manipulation of terabytes of data.
  • DSMTracker provides an optional ability to download customer inventories for market analysis and target marketing for business intelligence purposes.
  • DSMTracker provides extensive call center features.
  • DSMTracker’s phased approach will help identify not only data deficiencies, but improvements needed for workflow processes and data standardization.
  • DSMTracker is user-friendly and easy to learn, whether inputting data, maintaining records, or understanding reports, thus reducing training time and associated costs.
  • For program managers, the DSMTracker solution offers:
  • Integration of programs with Customer Information Systems (to automate eligibility identification)
  • Mechanisms for customer enrollment
  • Customer eligibility verification
  • Measure eligibility
  • Eligibility exception management for reviewing and documenting variance decisions in eligibility criteria
  • Customer notification (rejection, participation appreciation, etc.)
  • Operational alerting when applications need manual intervention
  • Payment processing for review and approval of payments
  • Analytics (operational, executive, and regulatory)

As implementation contracts change over the lifecycle of programs, it is important that program data be consistent, regardless of the source of the data or the company managing the program.  DSMTracker ensures consistency of data in a single, authoritative repository of information, providing operational, executive, and regulatory analytics through on-demand, accurate, and complete reports.  With DSMTracker, program managers have a systematic method for validating the quality of data received from implementation contractors, and the measurement verification and evaluation (MV&E) department can review samples of data to ensure that the business rules are implemented and followed.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, going into more detail about DSMTracker.

Energy Efficiency Program Management Problem Part 1

It’s no secret that utility companies are finding themselves more and more regulated and mandated by federal and state regulatory agencies to generate more and more power with existing or even fewer facilities.  Energy efficiency has become the watchword. On the consumer side, demand for energy grows daily, while government regulations strangle the industry with curtailments in the building of additional production facilities and an increasing number of requirements for cleaner power.

Gas and electric utilities specifically are required to reduce the energy footprint of all their consumers, including residential, small business, commercial, or industrial.  To accomplish this, large amounts of data must be gathered and analyzed. Incentive programs must be carried out, results must be monitored, and reports must be made available to authorities. This all occurs while managing and maintaining the real business of the utility, which is to supply power on demand to customers.

To meet the requirements and goals negotiated and agreed to with the regulatory agencies, utility companies conduct incentive programs to encourage customers to reduce their power demands through such actions as:

  • Elimination of old, power-guzzling appliances and equipment
  • Installation of solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, heat-reflective windows, etc.
  • Use of automated technology-based controls for regulation of heating, cooling, lighting, etc.

Utility companies also often present demand response or energy-saving awareness programs to induce customers to reduce power usage during peak power demand times.  For their cooperation in these programs, customers may receive rebates or other rewards to offset their expenditures.

Research and analysis of current customer equipment, usage, and demographics are required to determine which incentive programs will yield the most effective results.  Based on this research, the utility company and regulatory agency mutually agree on the programs to conduct and the targets or goals for reducing customers’ power consumption.  Marketing programs are then created to advertise and incentivize customers to participate.  Detailed participant data must be gathered, compiled, and monitored before, during, and-after programs are implemented.  These records must be merged with customer information systems (CIS) in order to produce reports that clearly and accurately present the compiled results in a timely manner.

These activities (from initial research to final reporting) have required data entry personnel to fill out numerous spreadsheets, programmers to create customized databases, and, in many cases, manual cross-referencing and checking in order to produce the desired results – a tedious, time-consuming, and costly endeavor that has fallen short of the goals of both the incentive program managers and the regulatory auditors, and which are rarely up-to-date, accurate, or complete.  Add to this the fact that regulations are constantly changing and multiplying, and you compound the need for IT developers, personnel training, additional information storage, and ever more complex, detailed reports.

Obviously, such activities present a substantial cost to the utility companies.  If goals are successfully met, costs can be offset with grants from the regulatory agencies for customer rate increases, which in turn, can increase company profits.  However, if mandates or goals are not met, the utility companies can be charged enormous penalties.  It is really important that utility companies find ways to reduce the costs of these activities and incentive programs and improve their data gathering and reporting capabilities.

This has resulted in the need for sophisticated tracking software that can manage all operational needs for both utilities and their associated energy efficiency implementers.

The solution is an automated system specifically designed for gas and electric utility companies to manage their energy efficiency programs from beginning to end. Stay tuned for Part 2.