Utilities Play Power Games With Consumers

Knowledge is power. Maybe that saying can directly apply to the future of energy as consumers show more interest in renewable sources of power and basic education regarding the array of new energy sources hitting the marketplace. Whether it's residential solar, EV charging, combined heat and power (CHP), battery storage micro-grids and net metering, utilities need to better communicate with customers in order to retain them. That position is beefed up by the numerous opportunities in home energy management, which are simply mind-blowing for the average power consumer to comprehend. One way utilities can better connect with consumers is through gaming, a sector very much alive judging by pre-orders for Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One console.

In the energy market, SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) has introduced a Solar Discovery Game on Facebook to help promote solar energy through gamification that can lead to badges, points, leaderboards, and prizes. Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL  ) , which taps into OPWER gaming solutions, has used gamification to engage customers, something privately held Simple Energy is also a big player in. There is actually going to be a gamification summit next June in San Francisco so the move to gain user attention through gaming appears to have staying power, and that's something utility players can't afford to miss. This could bode well for energy software analytics company APOGEE Interactive (NASDAQ: APOG  ) , which already counts American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP  ) , Con Edison, Entergy (NYSE: ETR  ) , and Southern Company among its clientele. 

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