The AquaHawk Blog

A blog about customer portal solutions for utilities
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Right Information. Right Customer. Right Communications Channel. Right Time.

SDGEWhat is the essence of effective customer engagement for utilities? Caroline Winn, Vice President of Customer Services and Chief Customer Privacy Officer at San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) sums it up perfectly when describing their consumer engagement programs:

“We have found that to be successful, it is crucial to offer the right information to the right customers through the right channels at the right time to encourage participation.” 1.

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AmCoBi Featured in WaterWorld Magazine – Poor Man’s Fixed Network

WaterWorld CoverNo longer able to afford the payments on their beautiful $700,000 Colorado mountain home, a couple packed up their belongings, discontinued the electric and gas service, and left the neighborhood after the bank foreclosed. Shortly after, a cold front lasting several days hit the community. Freezing temperatures were followed by seasonal highs and then more cold weather.

This graph shows usage data for a single account that was flagged as having a leak. The leak went uncorrected for several days.AH2 Leak-Example2

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How to Establish Clear Customer Value with your Customer Engagement Solution

BGEIn 2010, Baltimore Gas & Electric, an investor-owned utility, put together a plan to implement an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meter reading system for 1.2 million electric customers and 640,000 gas customers. The price tag? A whopping $835 million that would inevitably be passed through to customers. The good news, the utility highlighted, was that the project could qualify for $200 million in ARRA stimulus funds.

It’s an understatement to say that BG&E got a little push back from its customers. Even the Maryland Public Service Commission said, “Whoa….not so fast.” Phil Carson, wrote in the Intelligent Utility Daily, that in order for BG&E to win approval, “Maryland regulators insisted that the utility establish clear customer value for its AMI project.” 1.

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New Release! Customer Engagement for Water Utilities – White Paper

WP Customer Engagement1Breakthrough Technologies that Improve the Customer Experience

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. This couldn’t be truer for water utilities and the idea of customer engagement. Water providers have an exciting opportunity to use new technologies, data, analytics, and the science of persuasion, to create a higher quality experience for customers. Utilities can meet their customers’ demands for more choice, greater flexibility, and actionable advice. And they can even provide the motivation clients need to participate in worthwhile activities like conservation.

To download this free white paper, click here.

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How Effective are ET Controllers?

hermitcrab etcontroller smThere is an excellent research study titled, Evaluation of California Weather-Based “Smart” Irrigation Controller Programs that discusses smart controllers, also known as ET (evapotranspiration) controllers, and how effective they are at conserving water. “Smart controllers are a new generation of irrigation controllers that utilize prevailing weather conditions, current and historic evapotranspiration, soil moisture levels, and other relevant factors to adapt water applications to meet the actual needs of plants,” the study noted.

The study analyzed a substantial amount of data for 2,294 smart controllers installed in Northern and Southern California. While this report is information-packed and lengthy (309 pages, document size = 4.73MB), the gist of the findings can be learned quickly from the Executive Summary.

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Have you Considered Water Budget-Based Rates?

Cut budgetThere’s an informative report titled, “Water Budget-Based Rate Structures – Powerful Demand Management Tools” written by Peter Mayer of Aquacraft, Inc. that you can find here:  http://www.aquacraft.com/node/50. It provides a comprehensive explanation of water budgets and water budget-based rates, how they’re used, the benefits and challenges, and recommendations on how water providers can implement them successfully.

Here is a brief summary of some of the main points in the report:

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Those Water Leaks Can Be Pricey

water-leak wideWater providers around the country routinely communicate to their customers the amount of water that can be lost unnecessarily by small, continual water leaks that result from dripping faucets/showerheads, broken toilets, holes in a sprinkler system, etc.

The EPA’s WaterSense website estimates that “the amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. That’s equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.”

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