Ameren Illinois recognized for Innovative Energy Project of the Year
The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is a professional society of over 11,000 members in 78 countries that promotes scientific and educational interests of those engaged in the energy industry. Each year, AEE recognizes achievements in energy within its 15 regions.
Recently, Ameren Illinois was recognized as AEE’s Region III Innovative Energy Project of the Year for re-tooling their Home Efficiency Income Qualified (HEIQ) offering to assist underserved customer populations during the COVID-19 crisis.
2021 Innovative Energy Project of the Year Award – Ameren Illinois
To keep customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ameren Illinois and energy efficiency program implementer Leidos quickly revamped a program focused on underserved communities: the Home Efficiency Income Qualified (HEIQ) offering. Pivoting away from in-home energy assessments, the new approach featured a free Safe and Virtual Energy Efficiency (SAVE) kit containing the same energy-saving products that would typically be installed as part of an in-person assessment. The revamped program also offered cash incentives to encourage customers to virtually connect with Leidos for equipment installation guidance. This new virtual strategy safely kept customers engaged in energy efficiency while delivering cost savings during an unprecedented time.
Ameren Illinois’ successfully adapted their HEIQ offering with innovative delivery strategies:
- Provided free SAVE kits: The SAVE kits were provided at no cost to customers and contained energy-saving products including LED bulbs, faucet aerators, and advanced power strips.
- Offered cash incentives to encourage virtual assisted installation: Customers who attended a webinar on how to install their energy-saving equipment received a $75 cash incentive. A $150 cash incentive was given to those who completed a one-on-one assessment with an Energy Advisor using video conferencing tools. With this option, an Energy Advisor provided installation guidance on SAVE kit equipment and conducted a virtual “walk-through” of the home to identify additional energy-saving opportunities.
- Partnered with Community Based Organizations (CBOs): By working directly with CBOs on education, referrals, and SAVE kit distribution, customers gained access to savings with minimal effort. CBO partners were responsible for distributing more than 6,000 SAVE kits directly to customers — roughly two-thirds of the total kits distributed.
- Streamlined participation requirements: While the previous approach had been in-person home energy assessments, the virtual offering succeeded by finding creative ways to remove barriers to customer participation while addressing the challenges of the pandemic. For example, rather than requiring customers to complete an application, provide proof of income and home ownership, and schedule an energy assessment, our streamlined approach allowed customers to simply indicate interest through one of our local CBO partners.
- Provided a one-stop shop: The streamlined HEIQ offering positions CBOs as one-stop shops for customers — a source of assistance and information on matters ranging from bill payment assistance to Ameren Illinois energy efficiency incentives.
The virtual HEIQ offering and SAVE kit served more than 8,500 income-qualified customers between June and December 2020 and reduced customers’ annual energy consumption by over 220,485 KWh and 256,270 therms — equivalent to 582 homes’ energy use. As a result of this virtual approach, and the flexibility and support of the program partners, Ameren Illinois and Leidos were able to sustain momentum and continue delivering the benefits of energy efficiency to customers.
For more than 30 years, Leidos has been providing utilities across the country with high-quality program implementation support and expert energy engineering services. And when challenges arise, we are ready to help our clients pivot to continue meeting their customers’ needs.