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Innovative research pilot gives customers the power

An innovative research pilot asking customers to reimagine how and when they used electricity has been acknowledged at the Australian Utility Innovators Awards.

The Power Ahead research pilot tested a new way to charge for electricity and earned Horizon Power the Best Customer Engagement Project award at an event last night in Melbourne.

More than 400 Port Hedland customers met Horizon Power’s challenge head-on at the start of 2017, with the help of an app that allowed them to monitor their electricity use. In return, they received bill credits for remaining under their allowance during peak times.

Most participants were able to make changes to how and when they used electricity, with some able to reduce their peak electricity use by over 20%.

With the research showing customers supported changes that empowered them to have more control over their electricity bills, a new pricing plan was announced earlier this month that is the first of its kind in Australia.

Each plan includes a fixed amount each month, based on the customers’ historical electricity usage during peak periods, and a low variable charge to smooth out costs over the year so their power bills are more predictable.

Using a free app, customers aim to keep their consumption during peak times under their chosen plan’s allowance, earning themselves bill credits in the process.

Horizon Power Project Director of Retail Strategy Geoff White, said the customer engagement during the research pilot had been integral to developing the pricing plan.

“MyPower pricing plans were announced earlier this month in Broome and Port Hedland and will revolutionise how customers use electricity, the control they have over their power bills and how they interact with their energy utility,” Mr White said.

“The pricing plans have generated extensive interest and will commence on 4 December.”

The Australian Utility Innovators Awards celebrate successful innovators across the digital utility sector for their contribution to a sustainable utility sector.

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