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Not everyone gets to say that their job helps people and the environment. As Vice President of Analytics & Data Science at Arcadia, I love that my work involves both. The environment part is, of course, a given. By giving consumers an option to seamlessly make the switch to clean energy, Arcadia members are making a big impact.

For decades, the industry has operated in a very particular way, often resting on their laurels at the expense of everyday households.

But, it’s also a really exciting time to be in the energy space. For decades, the industry has operated in a very particular way, often resting on their laurels at the expense of everyday households. As a tech company, Arcadia has been able to come in and shake things up, providing members with a more modern experience. Our Analytics & Data Science team has been at the heart of this work.

Data has been crucial to building the Smart Rate program, which monitors member’s power bills and finds them lower rates for energy. When a member signs up with Arcadia, we’re able to analyze individual energy usage giving us unique insights into how people use energy and how best to purchase clean energy for them. We’ve also seen how different retail electric suppliers operate across the country, recognizing for example that they have a tendency to raise rates after a certain period of time.

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Let me explain by sharing this example: Sandy has a choice between two electric suppliers in her hometown. Company A sells power at 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Company B sells power at 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, and also owns a bunch of creaky old coal plants. Sandy opts for A, because it’s cheaper and there is an environmental benefit. All goes as expected for a year, or maybe even two years, and then, Sandy’s power bill surges. Turns out, she’d been paying a fixed rate price for a set amount of time. But now that that time is up, the company can charge her whatever it wants, and unless she monitors her bill closely, she won’t know that it’s happening.

I’ve seen this happen time and again, with consumers being charged as much as 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. With Smart Rate, we put a stop to that. Thanks to our technology, we’re able to go through hundreds of thousands of bills, identify who is overpaying and correct that by moving them to a lower available rate. We advocate on their behalf for better rates and manage those rates on an ongoing basis so that our members don’t have to give it a second thought.

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Using our members’ data, we’ve also been able to analyze electricity usage trends caused by weather patterns. This is an area where Arcadia brings a unique perspective to the table. Historically, utilities have operated in their own silos in their own distinct regions. Arcadia, on the other hand, is able to derive insights across the nation, because we’re collecting utility bills from members in all 50 states and in Washington, DC.

Two summers ago, we looked at members’ usage patterns during a heatwave, analyzing energy usage in July and August in Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California. We found a direct relationship between the excessive heat and an increase in energy usage as cooling systems worked harder to keep living spaces comfortable. Using our members’ usage data, we were able to identify exactly how much more people were spending on electricity as a result of this heatwave. Quantifying this increase is important because it enables us to put a direct price tag on climate change for individuals, which helps us drive home the importance and urgency of putting more clean energy on the grid and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.

I believe we’re at the precipice of unlocking even greater potential when it comes to residential energy usage.

Our unique perspective as a nationwide platform allows us to identify these sorts of trends and strengthens the arguments for clean energy across the country. I believe we’re at the precipice of unlocking even greater potential when it comes to residential energy usage. In the future, I imagine that we’ll be able to analyze a consumer’s energy consumption on an individual basis and make personalized recommendations to help them become more efficient and reduce their power bills. As we’re able to do that at scale, we’ll see a society-wide impact on power consumption, which will enable increased adoption of clean energy.

I know I’m a little biased when I say that the work our Analytics & Data Science team does is core to the value that Arcadia offers. But I stand behind that belief, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead when it comes to helping people and helping the environment.

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Owen Quinlan

Owen Quinlan is the Vice President of Analytics and Data Science at Arcadia.

Washington, DC