2024 PLMA Award Winner - Pacesetter Program: 

Evergy with Oracle

PLMA Trophy 

Transition to TOU Rates Program 

Evergy created and implemented a strategic plan to transition 550,000 Missouri residential customers to time-based plans in less than one year's time.

This plan, implementation, and results are regarded by the Missouri PSC as setting the standard for utility time-based plan transitions and something all utilities considering the transition could learn from and model.

When Evergy received an order from the Missouri Public Service Commission in December 2022 to enroll every Missouri residential customer on a time of use (TOU) rate by December 31, 2023, time was immediately of the essence. With only 13 months to comply, the pressure was on. 

Evergy had just six months to develop, test and implement a highly technical, highly complex, multichannel digital education initiative and ten months overall to begin converting customers.  The Evergy team knew they could just put all of their customers on one, default TOU rate and meet the commission order. However, they also knew that for its 550,000 residential customers, that was unlikely to be a satisfying experience and likely to be an enraging one. The team recognized that adapting to change, coupled with the sense of losing control of how and when they used electricity could anger and confuse many of its customers – particularly senior citizens, who make up almost 40 percent of the state’s population. A rate plan that worked for one customer could end up costing another more money. It was for all of those reasons the company decided to offer several flexible time-based plan options.

Evergy wanted customers to know they still had a choice and could select the plan that best fit their family and lifestyle. But that brought with it a different set of challenges – how do you engage customers proactively so they would pick a plan and not end up on a default plan? And how do you select, develop and implement all of the technology required to achieve this in such a short amount of time? To address this, Evergy enlisted Oracle Opower to embed its Demand Flex products and services across various channels, including web pages, mobile apps, and outbound communications. This multi-channel and multi-tool education campaign launched in just six months from receiving the order – an unheard-of timeline. One of the key digital products implemented is the online Rate Comparison tool, embedded on the Evergy website and in the Evergy mobile app, that helped customers make the time-based plan decision that was right for them. By making it easy for customers to access the rate information and personalized rate comparison via self-service, this led to a much lighter lift for the Evergy Contact Center in the implementation process. 

About the PLMA Awards Program
PLMA's Awards Program, held each year, recognizes industry leaders who, in the previous calendar year, created innovative ideas, methods, programs, and technologies to manage end-use loads, meet peak load demand, and support the successful grid integration of distributed energy resources. The overarching goal of the PLMA Awards Program is to identify and promote industry initiatives that can potentially benefit multiple organizations. To facilitate learning, each award winner is invited to present their work and successes, as well as the important lessons learned, via a 1-hour webinar for all PLMA stakeholders. 

PLMA webinars are presented live online, published on its YouTube Channel, and broadcast over its podcast, "PLMA: Load Management Dialogues" which is available from whereever you get your podcasts. Please check the PLMA Calendar to register for an upcoming webinar. 

Over the past 21 years, PLMA has presented ~110 awards to utilities, product/service providers, end-users, and individuals responsible for demand response efforts targeted to the residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customer markets.