New Efficiency Program Drives Consumer Energy Savings and Bolsters Product Sales with Instant Utility Rebates

By Mallory Combs on October 11, 2016

New York utility, Orange & Rockland’s new behavioral energy efficiency and rewards program incentivizes customers to save energy while boosting sales in the utility’s online marketplace.

The synergistic combination of My ORU Advisor and My ORU Store – both powered by Boulder-based SaaS company Simple Energy – was selected to help Orange & Rockland revolutionize its service to customers and meet the demands of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative. REV calls for New York utilities to develop new business models and maximize energy efficiency.

Since the My ORU Advisor engagement platform launched to 79,000 residential customers in mid-July, participants have saved an estimated 380,000 kWh – the carbon reduction equivalent of planting approximately 560 trees. In addition, the behavioral program has increased traffic and transactions on Orange & Rockland’s e-commerce marketplace, which offers instant utility rebates on a curated selection of efficiency products.

Since July, 13.5 percent of all traffic to My ORU Store originated from My ORU Advisor webpages and marketing communications. Cross-promotional messaging and links have driven dozens of transactions per week as primed customers seek great deals on efficiency products to help them save energy and money. My ORU Advisor referrals claim the highest e-commerce conversion rate and second-highest average order value of all traffic sources to the My ORU Store.

My ORU Store launched in January with smart thermostats, LED lighting and advanced power strips for sale with instant rebates, but has expanded its product offering this summer to include home services and a suite of water-saving products. In its REV filing, Orange & Rockland sought smooth integration of third-party partnerships. The Sealed Home Energy Assessment, which costs eligible customers $0 after a $250 instant rebate, has been a popular purchase and demonstrates a successful third-party partnership.

A limited-time lighting offer, promoted heavily across both My ORU Advisor and My ORU Store, drove record sales for the store in July and August.

“Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. is pleased with the results experienced from the My ORU Store, launched earlier this year, and with the recent launch of the My ORU Advisor,” said Don Kennedy, Director of Energy Services, Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. “This suite of online tools provides customers with the knowledge needed to better understand their energy usage and make informed decisions to purchase energy efficiency products and services. By creating customer awareness, products and services can be purchased and an installer can be selected with the entire process completed through a single, streamlined transaction designed to provide a customer-friendly journey.”

My ORU Advisor participants receive regular email and/or paper communications containing personalized energy usage insights and tips for improving their household energy efficiency. Program adoption and engagement have been steady, with users taking advantage of features including:

  • Personalized energy usage data and comparisons to similar and efficient homes
  • Efficiency tips for saving energy and money
  • Recommended products for sale with instant rebates on My ORU Store
  • Gift card rewards earned for actions taken and energy saved 

 

“Simple Energy uses data and behavioral science to target and motivate customers to take action on both our Engagement Platform and Marketplace platforms,” said Yoav Lurie, co-founder and CEO of Simple Energy, which delivers both My ORU Advisor and My ORU Store on Orange & Rockland’s behalf.

“The combination of personalized context, recommended actions and tangible incentives is a powerful tool in changing behavior. No-hassle instant rebates on products recommended by the utility instills confidence and drives consumers to purchase and adopt technology that delivers a lasting impact,” says Lurie. “By providing customers with both Simple Energy’s engagement platform and marketplace products, Orange & Rockland has doubled down on its commitment to serve as a trusted energy advisor to its customers and to reshape its revenue model and become a profitable, sought-after utility of the future.”

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