Consumers have endless choices: online retailers deliver to their doorsteps. Virtual doctors’ appointments grant access to specialists around the globe. This means customers are free to spend their money with companies who share their values, and nowhere do we see this more than with clean energy efforts. Nearly every US citizen wants the country to become carbon neutral by 2050, and they’re backing this up with their wallets: companies making credible ESG claims are growing leaps and bounds faster than those without them.
One part of daily life where consumers may not have the same array of choices, however, is in who provides their gas, electric, water, and other utilities. Some may wonder, if customers are effectively captive to these providers, why do utilities work so hard to gain the trust and goodwill of their consumers? Utilities, of course, know the answer.
Trust between utilities and their customers is paramount. Happy customers mean fewer calls to customer service lines, an easier time gaining land agreements, and more new business. This trust is becoming more important as utilities look to customers to help them with carbon reduction and energy benchmarking targets.
Unfortunately, the current landscape does not look good. While 82% of US utilities have a carbon reduction goal, only 19% of customers are aware of those targets. Of those who are aware, barely a quarter think these goals will be reached. Despite nearly one in four customers saying they are willing to pay more each month to support a clean energy transition, only 24% of them believe their utilities are making the right upgrades to support a more sustainable energy landscape. Less than half are confident that their energy provider will create value for their communities in the future.
These perceptions do not bode well for utilities. In the short term, lack of awareness and functional tools are killing the impact customer participation can have on carbon reduction goals. In the long term, failure to deliver on these targets will further erode trust and credibility with customers and regulators alike, giving authorities a justified reason for tighter mandates and closer oversight. Consumers expect utility companies to help them manage their portfolio and provide tools to help them understand their usage, and as time goes by without these solutions, they lose faith.
One of the simplest and fastest ways to meet these demands is through a robust utility customer portal, like EnergyCAP Utility Company Platform: a hands-off digital solution for utilities that sets up commercial clients for data reporting compliance and gives all customers access to their usage and billing data in ways they can act on. With a secure, utility scale, all-in-one solution, utilities can not only enhance their reputation and customer trust, but also set up customers to be active net-zero partners with no additional effort. This is a win-win solution for utilities, their customers, and regulators alike.