Electricity and natural gas retail supplier Direct Energy has launched the second phase of Direct Your Energy – an online suite of energy usage tools that convert the smart meter data generated individually by residential customers into insights and invoice savings.
According to the company, the Direct Your Energy website – which is beginning to roll out in Texas – combines “the first-ever online dashboard [matching] customer usage … to the appliances and products in their homes.” This means that each invoice shows the total amount that a homeowner spent at the appliance level during a given billing period – instead of showing only the total usage in kilowatt hours, which is an abstract measurement for most consumers.
Customers will receive personal alerts and recommendations based on their usage behavior – for example, “Amanda, your water heater is consuming 56 percent more electricity than normal, costing you an additional $16.35 this month.”
“Would you buy a bag of groceries without knowing what was in it?” asked Direct Energy Residential President Manu Asthana, adding, “Just like you get a receipt that shows you how you spent your money, Direct Energy now features a new user experience that will help our customers better understand exactly where their energy is being consumed
The customer portal also provides information on weather patterns, peer usage comparisons, and temperature set-point overlays. Indeed, peer comparison of a household’s energy usage is another new feature introduced in phase two. This information relates a customer’s usage to that of other homes within the same zip code with similar appliances, home amenities and usage patterns.
If case repairs or other energy-saving services by certified technicians are needed or recommended, the Direct Your Energy dashboard offers contact information for companies within the Direct Energy family of brands that offer relevant services. The companies featured include Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Mr. Sparky, and One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating.
Another feature, the Home Profile survey, gives customers the option of providing additional information on home amenities and appliances to help improve the accuracy of energy usage forecasting and email and alert personalization. The goal is to help a customer better understand not only how his or her household’s overall energy usage compares in relation to other similar homes, but also to provide insight into how much power their appliances consume compared to appliances in homes of a similar size.
Direct Your Energy can now be seen online by customers in Texas when they log in to MyAccount, the online customer account tool. Direct Your Energy will continue to roll out new features going forward, based upon customer engagement and feedback.
And in related news, Direct Energy announced an expansion on the same date, July 22, as the Direct Your Energy phase two introduction. With the opening of an office in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, the retailer said it has increased its workforce by 100 employees this year and “continues to hire to support its Home Warranty of America, Direct Energy Protection Plans and Direct Energy Rentals businesses that are located” there.