Securing an affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy sector is a huge challenge.
Those that engage customers will win. They will flatten the curve, increase profitability and reduce churn.
The Moroku GameSystem is the platform for this work.
Origin Energy in Australia recently announced a partnership with US start-up OhmConnect to flatten the peak load energy curve. The platform provides rewards for reducing energy use during periods of peak demand. Customers earn points that can be converted into cash.
Origin CEO Frank Calabria says Origin must do more with products and services into the future and change customer engagement. “We want to create competitive advantage by making energy easier, cleaner and smarter over time for our customers.”
The investment comes as Origin’s own electricity customer accounts have been sliding, down by about 19,000 in the December 2019 half. With more renewables coming, the ability to be able to flexibly adapt and manage the cost of energy for people and create new products and services is key.
Ohm Connect, which has half-a-million users in the US and Canada, paid out $3.2 million in rewards during the last northern summer, reducing power use by more than 387 megawatt-hours. Origin is hoping the new experience, which drives frequent participation by customers, will result in demand response gaining more traction in households.
The project is focused on flattening the peak load curve by setting customers challenges for key peak times of the day and rewarding them for doing that; Hit the target, collect points, convert points to cash. It’s a classic cash back reward scheme. Its a linear, save this amount of energy, get paid reward scheme. It’s a great start and illuminates the way forward.
Reward schemes are used to motivate individuals to perform specific tasks in exchange for a reward. Credit card reward schemes are among the best known. Such schemes are characterized by providing extrinsic reward for a behaviour. They are good and have been very successful, but they tend to run out of steam as do many video games, requiring a constant re-leveling in reward, challenge, difficulty, surprise, violence or whatever levers the scheme designer pulls.
Alternatively, game design incorporates intrinsic reward, the idea that there is something inherent in the task that is worthy of focus, attention and becomes the epic mission. Sometimes we do things just because we want to get better at something; something like saving the planet.
Incorporating game design strategically provides a focus on the epic, incorporating a broad array of game mechanics, placed within an overall game design. Whilst reward schemes are linear, mono-player, game design is premised on the fact that life is not a straight-line race but a maze, where different people play for different reasons and have a more diverse set of skills and motivations. As the diagram shows below, reward schemes are transactional, whilst game design, because of its use of intrinsic reward, triggers an emotional response based on a set of shared values. Most of us respond well to some savings, but motivations like saving the planet and doing so as a community where we all get to uncover the challenge and grow together as we do are more powerful.