Crisis and Innovation – Chartwell EMACS Keynote Presentation with Google

The last several months have been one of the most disruptive periods in living memory.

Aaron Berndt, Head of Energy Industry Partnerships at Google will serve as keynote speaker at Chartwell's 23rd annual EMACS conference, coming up Oct. 6-8
Aaron Berndt, Head of Energy Industry Partnerships at Google, will keynote Chartwell’s 23th annual EMACS conference, coming up Oct. 6-8

The COVID lockdown forced the hands of companies that previously had been waiting on the sidelines to embrace remote work, distributed collaboration, software automation and e-commerce, rapidly accelerating the pace of digital transformation. Some research suggests that at least six years of transformation have taken place in six months.

At Chartwell’s upcoming 23rd annual EMACS conference, offered virtually for the first time this year, Aaron Berndt, Head of Energy Industry Partnerships at Google will talk about the ways the utility industry can leverage technology and use the unique challenges brought on by the pandemic to better serve their customers.

Chartwell recently spoke with Berndt to talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the customer relationship landscape for utilities and increased customer’s receptivity to engaging with their utility.

“The pandemic has further highlighted the community impact utilities can have. With people spending more time at home and many customers energy bills going up this summer, utility demand side management programs can play a key role in helping lower bills overall,” Berndt said.

At the height of the pandemic, many researchers estimated that between 50% and 60% of American workers were working from home. While those numbers may have come down some, employees are staying at home much longer than originally anticipated, and many companies have already broadcast their decision to keep employees home at least through the winter flu season.

As residential energy bills rise, Aaron predicts that more customers will be open to working with their utility to better manage their electricity use, including demand-side management (DSM) programs.

“This is an incredible opportunity for utilities to lean into their marketing efforts to drive enrollment in their DSM programs, whether that’s through their marketplace or leveraging direct install programs,” Berndt said.

With many Americans still out of work or seeing their hours cut due to the pandemic, DSM programs can also be a way to begin a dialog with customers about billing options or payment plans. Having another channel to start financial conversations with customers will be increasingly valuable as more and more utilities start to lift their months-long disconnection moratorium.

In his EMACS presentation, Berndt will highlight several stories from utilities who have partnered with Google and their Nest thermostat ecosystem to build successful DSM programs.

We hope you are able to join us at EMACS Oct. 6-8. Already, we have a record number of attendees confirmed, and we hope to see you there, as well.