Installing Level 2 Charger Increases Satisfaction, But is Disjointed Process

Installing Level 2 Charger Increases Satisfaction, But is Disjointed Process

With transportation accounting for the greatest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, and electrification of the sector as a common solution to achieving state and utility decarbonization goals, the importance of electric vehicle adoption is well understood by co-operatives.

However, the decision on electric vehicle charging method is one that significantly affects satisfaction, and the co-op has an opportunity to educate and offer solutions to residential EV owners, enhancing the member experience and deepening member engagement.

According to the inaugural JD Power Electric Vehicle Experience Home Charging Study, 88 percent of EV owners charge their vehicles at home “often” or “always,” and those EV owners who had a Level 2 charging station had the highest level of satisfaction.

The process of purchasing and installing Level 2 chargers can be disjointed and frustrating. Most vehicle and charging manufacturers don’t provide much guidance to members, leaving them to navigate the differences between types and makes of chargers; search for a reliable, trustworthy contractor to install it; and educate themselves about co-op rebate and incentive programs.

As a trusted advisor, co-ops have an opportunity not only to encourage adoption, but to educate members; increase their satisfaction and participation in relevant programs; offer targeted solutions and obtain useful data – all with a resource many co-ops already have in place, a marketplace. Aggregating information on EVs in one place, from testimonials, reviews and ratings, to pricing, tax credits, rebates and calculators, can help co-ops step beyond the standard energy-related e-commerce offers. Alongside the usual items, co-ops can consider offering EV supply equipment (EVSE); and value-added services, such as Level 2 charger installation and maintenance plans.

survey conducted by HomeServe found that members would look to their co-op for assistance with EV charging, with nearly one-third of respondents saying they would most likely turn to their energy provider if they had an issue with their charger. Integrating information to related web pages enables the co-op to provide needed support to members and improve the EV experience.

Charger malfunction was found to be a significant concern by the JD Power study, which cited the need for repairs as the most frequent problem (29 percent). This tracks with the HomeServe survey, which found that 74 percent of potential EV owners and 59 percent of current EV owners worry about a charger breakdown.

Both surveys also noted the importance of awareness of and participation in energy provider EV programs. JD Power found that the more programs a member utilized, the greater their satisfaction, but many were unaware of these programs. HomeServe’s survey showed that just under 50 percent were unaware of EV-related energy provider programs, but when aware, 84 percent claim rebates and 88 percent adopt EV time-of-use rates. Additionally, 97 percent of current EV owners expressed interest in a turnkey solution from their co-op for installing Level 2 chargers, repairs and EV program information.

With EVs projected to be 20 percent of vehicle sales (3.5 million annually) by 2030, co-ops will likely see an increased number of calls requesting EV-related assistance. Those with a comprehensive program in place for customers will demonstrate a commitment to furthering the adoption of EVs and delivering a positive customer experience, and when related calls come in, they can be resolved more quickly.

Co-ops can help drive a positive customer experience by providing a frictionless EV charging journey from purchase decision to use. Utilizing their online marketplace or a microsite, co-ops can offer a turnkey solution enabling members to purchase a charger, schedule the installation and have the utility dispatch an electrician to install the unit who can provide information on EV incentives and time-of-use rates.

HomeServe is among the first in the industry to offer an EV charger installation and repair plan that not only provides a pre-vetted, nationwide network of licensed and insured electricians, but fills gaps in manufacturer’s warranties, covering normal wear and tear and offering protection for out-of-warranty devices.

HomeServe can also launch a co-branded mobile experience enabling members to learn about the advantages of installing a Level 2 charger and estimate the cost of installation, schedule their appointment, see when the technician is on his way and review their experience afterwards.

To find out more about how you can offer this seamless turnkey solution, contact us.

Demand Side Management, Energy Efficiency, Electric Vehicles and More

Demand Side Management, Energy Efficiency, Electric Vehicles and More

In this is time of unusual challenges and opportunities for utilities, a recent roundtable hosted by HomeServe explored a number of issues facing the industry today. “How are Utilities, Regulators and Customers Planning for a Changing Environment?” featured a panel of industry veterans and thought leaders: Bill Flynn, Leader Energy Industry Team, Harris Beach Attorneys at Law; Ed Thomas, Executive Director,; and Kenneth Black, former owner and chairman at E Source.

Among the issues discussed were potential effects of revenue shortfalls on energy efficiency program development and other important utility initiatives, new utility customer engagement strategies and the evolving role of regulators.

“Opportunities are limitless for utilities right now,” said Ed Thomas. “The relationship between the utility and the customer is really evolving. There’s a real opportunity here to strengthen that.”   

One of the ways to do that is to look holistically at the interplay between customers, especially low- and moderate-income households, and demand side management goals.

“Why not try and combine these two issues?” Kenneth Black said. “‘I need to focus on my demand side management goals and need to focus on my customers who are at-risk.’ And tie participation in your energy efficiency and demand response programs with some forgiveness of arrearages.”

In addition to the old standby of reliability, customers are looking at things like resiliency against climate change for the grid and their homes, enhancing safety, energy efficiency and electric vehicles, all areas in which utilities are positioned as experts.

“It’s important to note: all roads lead to the customer,” Black said. “The future utility needs to hold on to and grow their long-established customer relationships and trust they have with their customers.”

Utilities also can leverage the growing interest in distributed energy resources, electric vehicles and energy efficiency to partner with their local communities and demonstrate their commitment by investing in economic development, possibly by targeting small businesses as vendors and partners.

For many years, consumers and regulators expected utilities to simply maintain their wires and pipes and manage supply to meet demand. However, in recent years, utilities are expected to move into energy-adjacent spaces and enhance the customer experience through value-added services.

Customers are looking for new benefits, such as reducing their reliance on gasoline with electric vehicles, improving their indoor air quality or increasing their home’s resilience with battery storage systems and generators. Although flexible load programs have traditionally focused on managing devices such as water heaters and air conditioning compressors, grid-interactive devices make it easier to run them whenever the cost is lowest, the energy is greenest or the time is most convenient to avoid scheduled power outages. If utilities aren’t leveraging their expertise in these spaces, disrupters will step in.

According to Bill Flynn, technology has not only changed the industry, but it has changed the way it is regulated as well. “There is more opportunity for stakeholders outside of the utility world to get involved in the process of regulation,” Flynn said. “There’s a lot more information that utilities and regulators are taking in. We’re no longer under the radar.”

Regulators also are having more frequent dialogue and looking for engagement, so utilities need to be proactive, and let regulators and other community stakeholders know they are good corporate citizens.

“You should never take anything for granted – that regulators should just know that these (initiatives) are taking place out in the community,” Flynn said. “They don’t.”

Watch the entire roundtable discussion below. For more information about HomeServe, contact us.