New Zealand’s largest electricity generator Meridian Energy has taken a leading step for residential customers across the country, releasing a new digital service that lets people know when their electricity usage spikes.
Meridian’s new system, built in collaboration with Jade Software, combines smart metering with alerts, helping people reduce energy usage and cut down their power bills.
Smart metering lets people see how they’re using power through Meridian’s new system, called My Energy Use, providing access to monthly bills, energy usage, a payment facility, and account details.
Working with Jade, Meridian is now also able to send messages to residential customers when their electricity usage spikes.
Smart metering has been great for customers, but as John Ascroft, Jade’s Chief Innovation Officer states, what information is highlighted and how it is presented is crucial.
“Previously customers were able to analyse their usage and understand where there had been spikes, but this was after the fact and via spreadsheets and graphs," Ascroft says.
"With My Energy Use, Meridian customers receive insights into their electricity usage, as they’re using it.
“Alerts in My Energy Use are set-and-forget. You don’t need to log in to see if what’s happening now is out of the ordinary, because the system will let you know.”
Melanie Lynn, Meridian’s Head of Digital Strategy, agrees that it’s less confusing for customers.
“Rather than ask customers to log in and look for answers, we alert them when their usage is very high and suggest they take action," she adds.
To make sure that the system is easy to use, Meridian and Jade worked with real customers, finding out exactly what features people used, what they didn’t need, and how to make things as easy as possible.
“It was really interesting to see reactions to some features we thought were intuitive," Lynn adds.
"People would try them and say they had no idea what they meant. We shaped and really differentiated the residential offering from the earlier version. It’s a unique tool.”
Meridian released My Energy Use late last year, and has already seen that people who use it are less likely to get into trouble with their bills.
Small-medium businesses and agricultural customers are next in line for the potential money-saver, with Meridian planning to keep extending things even further.