First with On-Line Energy
Note: Central and South West merged with
In mid September
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO),
along with its parent company. Central and
South West Corporation (CSW), became the first
utility in the country to offer its customers
in home energy surveys over the Internet.
Called HomeVIEW™, this service gives
residential customers a chance to examine
their energy usage patterns and translate them
into cost savings.
While PSO has always
offered home energy audits, the utility
realized that scheduling conflicts and
customer convenience were major barriers to
customers' taking advantage of the service.
With HomeVIEW™, customers can do the audits at
their leisure without having to miss time from
work, says Stan Whiteford, a spokesperson for
designed by utility services firm Volt
Viewtech (Anaheim, California), HomeVIEW™ is
more interactive than most programs, according
To access the
survey, customers must enter their utility
company name and their account number to keep
the analysis secure and confidential. In
addition, customers are advised to have
available their last 12 months' natural gas
utility bills. After clearance, they are
queried about their home (i.e., square
footage, insulation ratings, number of
windows, etc.), appliance usage (e.g., VCRs,
stereos, computers, etc.), heating and
cooling, and lifestyle. Customers receive 12
months' electric billing data; they also have
the option of including other energy sources
(e.g., natural gas) so that a complete picture
of their energy use is produced. The program
is rate-specific, using the customers' actual
electric rate to analyze and calculate energy
After the survey is
completed, participants receive within minutes
a two page report including energy efficiency
With over four
million customers, CSW has made the program
available systemwide. Customers serviced by
West Texas Utilities (Abilene, Texas), Central
Power and Light (Corpus Christi, Texas), South
Western Electric Power Company (Shreveport,
Louisiana), and CSW (Dallas, Texas) can all
use the service. The program also takes into
account 15 weather zones representative of the
diverse weather throughout CSW's territory.
CSW does not
currently track the number of inquiries on
specific portions of their home page and is
not certain at this point how many customers
have accessed the survey which has been in
operation less than one month. They can
determine the number of hits their home page
in general is receiving: at press time, the
CSW home page is averaging roughly 8,000
inquiries per week.
In its first weeks
of operation, HomeVIEW™ is receiving very
favorable customer reaction, Whiteford says.
"They especially like that they can do a lot
of the energy efficient recommendations
themselves." And, as mentioned, convenience is
also a key benefit to customers.
discovery CSW has made in the process is that
a number of customers in the six utility area
are not sure of the name of their utility. A
few customers have contacted the company's 800
number after entering the wrong utility name
and not being able to proceed with the survey.
HomeVIEW™ can be found on CSW's Internet home
page at http://home1.viewtechfinancialservices.com/csw/intro.htm.
Energy Services Marketing Letter,Vol 2.,
No. 10, October 21, 1996.