A culture shift gains momentum in the century-old utility industry

Opower, a US utility, held its annual summit in Florida earlier this year. When the company first launched eight years ago there was one chief customer officer in the entire US utility industry – there were 26 chief customer officers in attendance at the annual summit. The increase in chief customer officer numbers is not only an indication of the utility’s growth, but also of the industry’s transformation. The position of customer relations has moved up the ranks and the customer programs that were once viewed as a drag on a utilities’ bottom line are now seen as being profit generators.

New product offerings are helping utilities improve their customer service. A recent Accenture survey of 11,000 power consumers in 21 countries found that 66% of respondents are interested in products and services to help them save electricity, up from 56% last year. The majority said they trusted their utility to inform them on how to optimise their energy consumption.

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