Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ March 3, 2016
Not to be outdone by ONZO, a data analytics company that last month boasted it knew who was using what appliance and when, another data analytics company, Opower, bragged yesterday that by analyzing “500 billion meter reads from more than 60 million households and businesses,” it “puts utilities in the driver’s seat” by “targeting” customers to such a degree that Opower can even predict who is going to telephone the utility.
Hey, the “unmatched analytics” of their “ever-growing pool of customer data” provide utilities with “unprecedented visibility into their customers” and “make it easy for utilities to segment customers across more than 100 demographic, psychographic and behavioral variables.” Psychographic?!
When others and I first called attention to “smart” meter spying five years ago, we were labeled “conspiracy theorists.” Indeed, a former Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) commissioner branded us the “Black Helicopter Crowd.”
Yet via a Public Records Request, I found a 2013 email sent by Laurie Woodall, then a lawyer and policy advisor of the disgraced former ACC Chair Susan Smith, to six others at the ACC Utilities Division — including the Utilities Division Director. The email was an article written by “smart” meter manufacturer Elster (a brand Arizona utility APS uses). The article stated that “smart” meter data “… can be used to work out the times of day the householder is absent from a property, as well as the types of electronic appliances they own.”
So the ACC knew that “smart” meters are surveillance devices but maintained a criminal conspiracy of silence and denial about this violation of the public’s right to privacy.
In December of 2014 the ACC compounded their criminality by voting to charge a fee to those APS customers who, in order to avoid warrantless surveillance, refused “smart” meters.
In successfully appealing that ACC decision, I pointed out that payment to avoid harm or the threat of harm defines extortion. The victory was only temporary however since the corrupt and incorrigible ACC encouraged APS to file another extortion fee in APS’s rate case coming up this June.
By the way, APS has lied repeatedly by constantly denying the spying capabilities of the “smart” grid. APS has stated, “The automated meters give APS no indication of who our customers are, what they are doing, nor can they determine what appliances customers are using.”
But now we have two data analytics companies in as many months bragging just the opposite of what APS has been telling us and what APS’s supposed regulators, the corrupt ACC, have been denying for years.
So everyone, enjoy your “cross channel branding” and “highly targeted” “customer journey.” And don’t count on your elected ACC commissioners to do jack for you or your rights any time soon.
Opower’s Orwellian press release:
Opower Announces Opower 7, Upgraded Platform with Business Intelligence for Utilities
Capabilities make it easier for utilities to harness & apply powerful customer analytics
MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Opower (NYSE: OPWR), the global leader in cloud-based software for the utility industry, today announced Opower 7, the newest generation of its industry leading customer engagement platform. The upgrade includes a significantly expanded set of advanced business intelligence tools that let utility managers draw useful, actionable insights from their ever-growing pool of customer data.
“Opower has been finding increasingly sophisticated ways to put our massive data engine to work for utilities,” said Opower CEO Dan Yates. “We’ve recently launched products like Behavioral Demand Response, Bill Advisor, and Marketplace—all of which are anchored on Opower’s unmatched analytics. Opower 7 puts utilities in the driver’s seat, giving them the power to glean insights to improve their Demand Side Management, marketing, customer care, and other programs.”
Opower 7 is built on the world’s largest residential energy data analytics platform with over 500 billion meter reads from more than 60 million households and businesses, and 100 utilities across 4 continents. The platform combines CIS, CRMS and smart grid/MDMS data to create a holistic view of each customer. The latest platform enhancements include:
- Enhancements to Opower’s personalization engine and advanced segmentation and targeting capabilities which make it easy for utilities to segment customers across more than 100 demographic, psychographic and behavioral variables
- Proprietary call center analytics to help utilities predict which customers are most likely to call into a service center so that utilities can proactively engage them
- Enhanced capabilities for cross-channel branding and customization and providing differentiated experiences across the customer journey, such as new mover and seasonal editions
- Additional partner extensions to give utilities access to more pre-integrated applications, including an online marketplace where customers can compare more than 600,000 energy-using product and service offers from hundreds of retailers
Opower’s platform and advanced business intelligence capabilities combine energy usage data with location, weather, and parcel data; utility account information; and third-party demographics. The platform also incorporates Opower’s advanced analytics including load archetypes, giving program managers unprecedented visibility into their customers and the ability to conduct highly targeted and personalized outreach campaigns.
Opower (NYSE: OPWR) is an enterprise software company that helps utilities elevate the customer experience. Energy providers use Opower’s customer engagement platform to deliver proactive, digital communications that raise customer satisfaction, manage energy demand, and lower service costs. Opower’s software is deployed to 100 utilities worldwide and reaches more than 60 million homes and businesses. For more information, please visit www.opower.com and follow us on Twitter at @Opower.
This release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding benefits from the use of Opower’s solutions. Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for Opower represent Opower’s views as of the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. While Opower may elect to update these statements at some point in the future, Opower specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
Alex Kotran, 330-607-5859