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We can all agree with Ben Hood when he said this about electricity: 

“Electricity hopefully should be like an Apple product. It just works and you don’t have to think about it.”

The problem, though, is millions of Americans do have to worry about their electricity. From high energy bills, to understanding the complexity of  switching to solar and wind power, consumers around the world are struggling with the burden of not knowing the best and or cheapest alternatives to their current electricity providers. Ben is hoping to bring some answers to the table for those folks. 

Ben is the co-founder and CTO of WattBuy, a platform that helps people take charge of their electricity, and on this episode of IT Visionaries, he explains why deregulation is helping to solve some of the problems consumers have faced for quite some time.  Plus, Ben talks about why the data WattBuy is gathering now will benefit consumers in the future.

Main Takeaways

  • Regulate This: When it comes to electricity, there are a few states within the U.S. that do not regulate electricity. This means that consumers have the option to choose their provider. WattBuy works to streamline this process by providing consumers with estimates on what electricity providers are best for them.
  • The Answer Lies Within the Data: When you are trying to solve complicated problems, such as estimating the cost of electricity, the more data you have, the easier it is to solve your problem. Utilize as many third-party vendors as possible in order to gather the best information possible.
  • 1.21 Gigawatts? What the Heck is Gigawatt?: You must always be educating yourself and your consumer. If your goal is to help consumers save as much money as possible, you have to educate them on why the prices are the way that they are.

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For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.


We can all agree with Ben Hood when he said this about electricity:

“Electricity hopefully should be like an Apple product — it just works and you don’t have to think about it.”

The problem is millions of Americans do have to worry about their electricity. From high energy bills, to understanding the complexity of when is the appropriate time to switch to solar and wind power, consumers across the world are struggling with the burden of not knowing the best and or cheapest alternatives to their current providers. That is a strife that Hood is hoping to alleviate.

Hood is the CEO of WattBuy, a platform that helps people take charge of their electricity, and on this episode of IT Visionaries, Hood discussed why deregulation is helping to solve those problems and why the data they are gathering now will benefit the consumer in the future.

Hood said that the beautiful thing about the WattBuy platform is its ability to allow people to access cheaper and cleaner electricity. This happens by the consumer simply inputting a bit of information, such as a name and an address. Once users input their information, they will be able to see things like local utility provides, empowering them with the resources they need to make the most cost-effective purchase.

While the product sounds enticing, the crux of the issue is WattBuy can’t yet provide this service to everyone. In fact, the company is currently limited to about 46 million households of an estimated 122 million in the United States. So why does less than 40% of the country have the service? Hood said it is because those homes lay within deregulated areas.

“For about 46 million households in the U.S., they have something called deregulated electricity options,” Hood said. “That means that they can choose who produces their electricity. So they can choose their specific supplier and they can make other decisions about their electricity… So, if you’re not in one of those deregulated electricity states, then you are really only getting some information that allows you to make decisions.”

The goal is to help those individuals who have the option to choose their electricity providers make the most informed decision possible. WattBuy helps individuals estimate what their electricity usage will be and the cost of their monthly bill. 

While the issue of taking on electricity companies may seem fierce, Hood believes that if you have enough data, any problem can be solved. So he and his team at WattBuy went to work acquiring that data set

“[The problem was it] was really difficult to figure out, okay, what am I going to pay?” he said. “How am I going to save money? If you sat down with your bill, with your telephone bill, you could figure out exactly which one of those is going to be the best plan, but it’s difficult. That same thing is happening right now with electricity in these deregulated states.”

In those states, though, there were still issues, including the confusion surrounding the complexity of an electricity bill. So one of the biggest efforts WattBuy had to undertake was simply educating consumers on the cost of electricity. For example, it was necessary to explain why someone would see electricity spikes at certain points of day, break down the cost per kilowatt, and the lay out what exactly is peak pricing.

“One of the things that was driving us a little bit is getting the right information out to the right people,” Hood said. “[Consumers could save money] by setting your connected thermostat to a demand response system or a time of use system. Then we could actually start to have all the benefits of this electricity usage without actually having the detriments, without having to pay the costs, because we can just apply sort of smart systems or smart data to the problems.”

So how does WattBuy monetize its product? By working with other companies such as moving concierges, Moving.com. According to Hood, those outlets allow customers the ease of setting up their utilities, moving schedules, and other things all through the click of a button. This allows those companies to gather mass amounts of information, while working with third-party apps like weather applications, and smart meters that energy companies have begun to implement over the last few years. And while this does help WattBuy stay in business, it all adds up to achieving a simple goal of helping consumers save money.

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

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