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Enhancing the customer journey with AMI 2.0

Capgemini
Nov 28, 2023

Utilities can be creative in leveraging smart meters to get closer to customers

AMI 2.0 is an exciting opportunity because it makes possible the type of customer benefits that can transition utilities from retail business models to more customer-centric service models.

The demographics in Canada are changing. This shift means utilities can no longer afford to treat every customer the same. For example, some people are willing to call their local utility but others do not want to interact with a call center, so utilities need to offer many customer channels, including online.

Much more than time-of-day

Another way in which the customer experience can be updated is to utilize more of the features of smart meters. These are typically viewed as time-of-use devices, because that was their original goal. Pricing differs based on the time of day: households that are hyper-focused on saving money can do their laundry late at night while others cannot be bothered and just pay the higher rate. This static model works well for people with a stable, predictable lifestyle that involves regular workdays, but it does not serve people on shift work or who are home during the day. They need flexibility, so utilities need to look beyond time-of-day.

AMI 2.0 gives utilities the opportunity to get more personal when interacting with customers. For example, people appreciate receiving notifications from phone providers when they get close to data thresholds, and electricity providers could offer the same type of real-time tracking or alerts. Or they could offer pay-as-you-go programs which could eliminate the need for security deposits. The possibilities are expansive.

Smart meters can also function as two-way communication channels. For example, some state utilities  can control customer thermostats, with permission. They can regulate the settings on air conditioners, for example, so a customer who agrees to let the utility make their home two degrees warmer receives a suitable incentive, and the utility gets more control over the grid, especially when it is very hot.

This communication network can deliver a better customer experience in multiple ways:

  • Daily energy use information via an online portal or app
  • Notification on energy use before the bill arrives
  • Faster new customer connections instead of sending a crew onsite
  • Remote meter reading and fewer estimated bills
  • Rate options to empower customers.

The goal is to provide detail on energy consumption so consumers can see where they are using electricity. Understanding how much electricity a hairdryer or toaster oven consumes can demystify usage.

Proactive communications

AMI can also help utilities restore power after an outage because they can better monitor premises. Determining if 100 or 1,000 homes are affected helps mobilize the right number of field crews. It can also help pinpoint where the problem happened. And proactive notifications keep customers informed even when the lights are out.

AMI can engage with every customer, but utilities need to understand all the options and possibilities. Capgemini is a trusted partner of multiple utility companies and we are working with them to manage data and find the value. AMI 2.0 provides big data, and the key is to make sense of the numbers and turn that information into something that appeals to customers.

The magic really happens when utilities combine AMI 2.0 data with call-center data. That can answer questions like what customers ask about, what they search for on the website, and how many EV drivers there are, and perhaps even supply sociodemographic information. Utilities can determine the programs that deliver the most value to them and their customers if they are tactical and thoughtful about leveraging data.

No one option or program will solve all customer-relations challenges. Instead, utilities can use AMI 2.0 to understand customers, improve the experience, get creative, and think outside of the usual box. Start looking at how AMI 2.0 can boost loyalty and increase satisfaction. With more visibility and data, the possibilities and use cases can be endless.

Authors

Mike Lang

Utility Transformation Leader, Canada
Mike leads the AMI and Utility Centre of Excellence at Capgemini for Canada, responsible for offering development, delivery, and go-to-market strategy. He believes data and smart metering are the foundational pillars for a broader utility transformation in smart grid, electrification, and energy transition.

Nicole Cadek

Senior Customer Experience Advisor, Canada
Nicole collaborates closely with Canadian utilities, partnering with business and technical stakeholders to develop and implement AMI solutions. Her expertise lies in the capabilities of AMI, particularly in the electrification of space and water heating, transportation, and the digitalization of customer experience to achieve both strategic and operational efficiencies.