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That’s a wrap! CS Week 2024

Read what the GridX VP of Marketing & Partnerships, Brad Langley, really thought of CS Week 2024

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How many CS Weeks have you attended?

My first CS Week was back in 2014 when I was running communications at Tendril, a leader in the home energy management space at the time (now Uplight). I had been in the energy space for a few years having run the clean technology practice at a public relations agency. But this was really the first time I represented my own company at a conference. I was pretty excited. So excited in fact that in speaking with a member of the media, I named a utility customer I didn’t have permission to name. It resulted in a great article but I ended up in a bit of hot water.

So, in doing the math…if you omit the COVID year and my time spent at Oracle when I was in product marketing and didn’t attend CS Week, this year marked my 8th. I feel like each time our approach to the show gets a little better and I can say with confidence that this was probably our best one yet. We gave dozens of demos, hosted a party with 300 people in attendance, had a really slick looking booth, rolled out our new touch screen demo experience and introduced Deci (our new mascot to the world). I left Fort Worth feeling really good about our showing.

What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve noticed over the years?

Billed as the world’s largest show focused on utility customer service professionals, they have been ahead of the curve on the importance of focusing on the customer in utility operations. So I give them credit for that and for consistently examining related topics. The show has historically been focused on call center operations, bill pay and customer information systems. And while those topics are still prevalent, we’ve started to see a lot more on customer engagement, DERs and renewables, and of course AI.

Next year we will probably see one of the biggest changes in the past several years with CS Week rebranding as IUCX (Innovate UtilityCX). This move speaks to the evolution from customer service to customer experience and I am excited to see how that influences their content…throughout the year and in Phoenix in 2025 for their annual event.


Part of this year’s excitement was PSEG Long Island’s CS Week Expanding Excellence Award for Innovation in Digital Engagement. GridX played a part in the success of their TOU rollout. How did it feel to see all of that go down on the main stage?

In a word? Tremendous. I am so happy for PSEG Long Island and love seeing them get the recognition they deserve. The industry needs examples to follow as we transition to time varying rates and all the work that PSEG Long Island did in terms of research, analysis and marketing provides a really strong blueprint for success. You can read the press release to learn more but they enrolled more than double the customers anticipated, helped them save an average of 10% on their bills and shifted load by 4-5%. That is certainly award worthy.

Beyond that, I really enjoy the people on the project team there. Brian Kurtz and Nayan Parikh have been a pleasure to work with. And they were genuinely happy to receive this award, which made it all the more meaningful.


What was the biggest buzz word this year and why was it AI?

Artificial Intelligence was certainly a hot topic. The industry is clearly at an inflection point as they explore how to best deploy AI into their customer service operations.

While this may come across as a bit of a “homer” answer, rates was also up there in terms of buzz. At my first CS Week with GridX back in 2022, we had to do a lot of explaining on the emergence of time varying rates. We almost had to convince people that this was coming and they needed to be ready. Now I feel like that is well understood and we spend more time explaining how we can maximize these implementations by helping utilities design, analyze, market and bill those rates. Add in the PSEG Long Island award for their time-of-use rate program, which they received in front of the entire conference, and I say rates are also at the top of mind for lots of utility customer service professionals.


What advice would you give first-time CS Week attendees? 

Take advantage of all the great content. There are the keynotes and main sessions that everyone knows about but CS Week has done a great job building events within the main event. Like the Key Account Forum, which brings together utility key account managers to discuss trends and learn about the latest technologies aimed at helping them. There is also the Executive Summit, which attracts utility VPs and c-level executives to talk about the strategic issues facing utilities.

And don’t be afraid to spend a fair amount of time on the exhibit floor. The vendors there are all friendly and eager to help. Plus many of them have cool giveaways and swag, which I know is a big draw.

Lastly, be sure to attend the GridX evening event. We’ve got one every year and in Fort Worth we partnered with West Monroe and Hansen to rent out an awesome place called Thompson’s Bookstore. It was four levels with a speakeasy in the basement, casino and cigar lounge. Need I say more. Now, to start planning for next year to up our game.


What did you learn that you didn’t know before you got to CS Week?

Admittedly I wasn’t able to attend many sessions between working the booth and meeting with customers and partners. So, I’ll flip that and address a few things that being there reinforced for me.

  • Utilities are increasingly pursuing time varying rates to achieve their decarbonization and customer service goals. They understand the value in providing customers with accurate bill insights to ensure a seamless transition. One of our most popular product demonstrations was GridX Empower, which uses APIs and widgets to present a range of bill and rate analysis insights to customers. They can see their bill to date, optimal rate and stack different DERs to help make clean energy decisions (among many other features).
  • Utilities are seeking ways to better serve their large business customers (key accounts) by helping them optimize their energy spend, answer what-if scenarios, and understand the impacts of electrification. GridX Advise is a terrific solution to address this need and people that saw the demo walked away thinking about all the cool things their key account managers could accomplish by using it.
  • PSEG Long Island really did a fantastic job with their TOU implementation. It was a multifaceted effort led by some really talented and cool people. We are proud to partner with them.
  • We have a rock star team! The GridX marketing, sales and product folks that executed this show are some of the best in the business.
  • Our booth is only second best to Kraken, which I heard from a few people. Can’t say I blame them…those octopus tentacles are pretty cool.

Hope to see you all there next year! If we can be of any help in the meantime, don’t hesitate to let us know.


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