AGL trial helps customers take charge of energy usage

An innovative new service trialled by AGL customers has highlighted the potential for them to eliminate waste and save money by turning appliances off rather than leaving them on standby mode.

The trial from July to October gave 3000 customers with digital electricity meters in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia greater insight into how energy was being used in their homes by breaking down energy consumption by specific household electrical appliance categories.

AGL chief customer officer Melissa Reynolds said customers wanted more control and visibility over how they used energy and were interested in getting a breakdown of their usage.

“This trial gave customers data-led, personalised estimates about how much energy was used by each appliance category, what the approximate cost was and how it contributed to their overall bill,” she said.

“Using innovative technology that allowed us to analyse meter data and produce details of energy use by appliance categories, we produced Energy Insights reports that were emailed to customers both mid-bill cycle and with their bills.

“More than 60 per cent of customers who provided feedback said they planned to or had already taken action based on the insights from the trial.”

Ms Reynolds said appliances like televisions, computers and phone chargers left on standby can make up 10 per cent of a power bill.

“Our research suggests in some cases standby consumption can make up as much as 25 per cent of the customer’s bill,” she said.

“We recommend using smart powerboards which turn off multiple devices at once, so when you shut down the TV other appliances will switch off too.”     

The initial market for this service is estimated to be about 450,000 customers with digital meters.

“While the breakdown can only provide an approximation of the energy usage of each category, feedback indicates that customers value this additional information which can help them understand where they are using energy and look for ways to avoid wastage and save money and provide transparency,” Ms Reynolds said.

“We’re excited about delivering services like this which provide greater value for our customers.”

The new service has been introduced as part of AGL’s customer experience transformation program and follows the introduction of self-service meter reads, which allow customers to read their own meters, keep up-to-date with costs and avoid estimated bills.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO Rosemary Sinclair said the AGL Energy Insights pilot is a positive development.

“It provides clear direction about how consumers can take charge of their energy consumption to identify how to save money on energy use they do not value,” Ms Sinclair said.

“Information that is timely and easy to understand can make a real difference.”