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AESP Energy Award Review Series: The Ameren Illinois Market Development Initiative

image credit: Ameren Illinois

After announcing winners of the 2020 AESP Energy Awards earlier this year at the 30th Annual AESP Conference in Anaheim, California, AESP held a number of webinars to allow utility professionals near and far to hear more about the great initiatives and gather inspiration from the successes of these industry leaders.

Wanting to also recognize the achievement of these utilities, representatives from Energy Central were excited to listen in to these webinars to learn just like the rest of the AESP community.  Hoping to spread the great messages further to those who were not able to make the webinar, we’re following up with a review series to the Energy Central / AESP ‘Energy Efficiency Community’ of those award winners. Today, I’m excited to share what I learned from the winner of ‘Outstanding Achievement in Customer Engagement’ Ameren Illinois, and their Market Development Initiative.

Presenting on this topic was Kristol Simms, Director of Energy Efficiency Strategy & Innovation. Kristol shared the background, progress, and roadmap created in this ‘shot-in-the-arm’ to low-income households and communities, which were centered with residential customers in mind via initiatives like deeply discounted efficient bulbs, a comprehensive home efficiency program, and more. The focus was also placed on small, minority-owned businesses to thrive via energy efficiency educational efforts and initiatives.

The key principle that the entire program was built around was putting people first and prioritizing customer accessibility above all else; any other needs were designed around those first and foremost. With that in mind, Ameren approached energy efficiency by working with community-based organizations to identify customer touchpoints, finding ways to reach customers where they already were. Through their market development initiative, Kristol noted that Ameren Illinois was able to focus on community partnerships, educational events, direct installs, and workforce development in a way that achieved the following goals:

  • 58 jobs created with local businesses and community organizations
  • 29 students participated in an internship program
  • 54 scholarships handed out
  • The expansion of 5 small, local, and diverse businesses
  • Over $16 million spent on small, local, or diverse businesses programwide

To learn how to replicate these immensely powerful successes, you can read more about Ameren Illinois’s story at


Benoit Marcoux's picture
Benoit Marcoux on Apr 27, 2020

I'm always amazed at how difficult it is to get utility customers engaged. Ameren Illinois has 1.2 million customers, yet about 50,000 customers were engaged (if I add all the numbers above). That is  4% of the customer base, and this is still a (relatively) succesful program. 

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