Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Tepco uses Bidgely AI to personalise consumer recommendations

Steve Rogerson
January 30, 2020



Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) is using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide consumers with a breakdown of home energy consumption by appliance category for the first time in Japan. The technology comes from Californian firm Bidgely.
 
Annual energy reports powered by AI have been introduced to a subset of Tepco. The reports also include rate plan and other Tepco-provided programme and service recommendations specific to an individual home based on analysis of smart meters and other data.
 
“Working with Tepco marks our entrance into the Japanese market with the country’s largest utility and our first large-scale deployment together after collaborating for two years on customer-facing solutions,” said Bidgely CEO Abhay Gupta. “We commend Tepco for being an early mover with AI and their efforts to enhance customer engagement, bringing forward a modern energy reporting programme that not only adds immediate value to their smart meter programme but is also a powerful customer retention tool.”
 
Using Bidgely’s UtilityAI, the annual energy reports will be sent to customers with their contract renewal from Tepco as an way to help drive improved customer retention. The reporting applies AI techniques to customer data to disaggregate energy usage down to the appliance level, which is then processed into useful, consumer-friendly home energy information served via the annual reports. Feedback from most early recipients of the personalised reports shows they found it useful.
 
“We have been watching the trend of AI and disaggregation closely as it gains traction in other parts of the world,” said Takako Okuda, head of CX promotion at Tepco. “We see personalised energy reports as a unique opportunity to further actively engage with our customers and differentiate ourselves around additional valuable services for them to better manage energy usage and spending.”
 
Tepco has around 29 million customer accounts across Japan, including the Tokyo metropolitan area. It is in the process of deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for all customers in its coverage territory by March 2021.
 
Bidgely is an AI-powered SaaS company that helps utilities create business value and accelerate their path towards zero carbon by delivering a personalised customer experience. The UtilityAI platform transforms multiple dimensions of customer data – such as energy consumption, demographic and interactions – into accurate and actionable consumer energy insights. These insights can provide each user with personalised recommendations, tailored to their individual personality and lifestyle, usage attributes, behavioural patterns, purchase propensity, and beyond.
 
From smart thermostats to EV chargers, solar PVs or personalised and ToU tariffs, UtilityAI recommends value-added products and services to each customer. With roots in Silicon Valley, Bidgely has more than 14 energy patents and over $50m in funding. It retains more than 30 data scientists.