Origin Energy are a leading provider of energy to homes and businesses throughout Australia.
Like most energy providers, Origin have a problem associated with energy use during peak periods. Typically, this is in the evenings when most people are home. The lights are one, heaters or air-conditioners are running, the washing machine or dryer is operating, and the TV is entertaining.
Despite advances in battery mass storage, most electricity is still produced to meet real-time demand. This requires heavy investment in generators, wires and poles to ensure enough electricity can be generated to meet forecast maximum demand. That is why power is almost always available when the switch is flicked. This approach is highly inefficient, as electricity generators cannot be easily turned on and off to meet fluctuates in demand. The bigger the peaks, the more investment in infrastructure is required to meet the demand, even if that demand doesn’t eventuate. The outcome is higher electricity bills.
Origin have recently launched an innovative rewards program, Spike, which attempts to address this issue. Origin have identified that by reducing the size of the consumption peak during peak periods, the costs of electricity generation can be lowered, helping them to reduce the amount they need to bill customers (while, presumably, increasing company profits).
Spike utilises gamification to encourage customers to actively reduce their energy consumption during peak periods. Using a concept called ‘Spike Hours’, Origin sends participating customer a text or email informing them when their Spike Hour will commence. Customers are also provided with an energy reduction goal for the Spike Hour based on estimates from previous similar periods.
By achieving the energy reduction goal, customers earn points, which they can redeem for rewards, including PayPal credit and gift cards.
Customers can also earn bonus points and prizes during promotional periods (‘Mega Spike Hours’), and climb status tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond).
The program is currently only available to customers with a Smart Meter, however Origin indicates it will be available to customers with standard meters later this year.
Loyalty & Reward Co love this application of gamification theory to help solve a real-world problem. It is clever, well-designed, easy to engage with and delivers multiple benefits.
If you have a chance, switch your energy provision to Origin and give Spike a test drive. It’s a great opportunity to reduce your environmental footprint in a fun way, and Origin will reward you for your success. Australia (and the world) needs more corporate initiatives like this.