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Rappahannock Electric Cooperative Introduces New Personalized Video Communication to Members

ATLANTA, Nov. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When the weather changes, so do home energy bills. But how much of the change is really due to the weather, or the days of service in the billing period, or changes in the consumer's energy-use habits? Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) members across Virginia can now find out watching quick, personalized videos created from their home's profile and billing data.

Partnering with Apogee Interactive, REC introduced the new video messaging through emails this month to a group of 2,000 members. REC elected to use Apogee's video messaging platform to deliver customized bill explanations for each member. Apogee's software can also be used to generate customized video messages regarding personalized utility program offers, weather-event alerts, outage communication, energy efficiency tips and other customer-tailored offerings.

REC requested feedback from its members at the end of the video with an online survey and the results were resoundingly positive, reported Todd Jordan, Director of Member Solutions for REC. Ninety-five percent of the respondents found the information easy to understand and 94 percent said they found the information useful. Overall, 92 percent felt the video format was an effective way to communicate changes in their bill.

"These short, animated videos explain changes in the bill that month for each member, showing the impact of weather and other factors in dollars and cents," explained Jordan. "It's engaging and accurate because it's using the member's own home profile, billing data, local weather and housing construction norms for our region," he explained. "The more our members understand their monthly energy use, the better equipped they are to make choices and changes in their energy use or the energy efficiency of their homes."

Apogee's energy and bill analysis software has powered Rappahannock's website bill analysis tool for several years. A recent integration of a new video technology with that software now enables the creation of customized video bill explanations. "Video is becoming the medium of choice for getting more information. Studies show a video link will generate a 50 percent or better open rate, while reading content on the same topic typically garners a lower readership rate," said Susan Gilbert President and Chief Executive Officer of Apogee Interactive. "We're delighted to assist Rappahannock in expanding its communication channels with its members and to help in educating consumers on what contributes to their monthly energy costs."

Apogee's personalized video messaging solution can be delivered by email, embedded in consumer portals and delivered on mobile devices, Gilbert added. In addition, the same analysis software and video technology can be also utilized within a utility's outage management system to provide customized outage messaging and to promote services or programs to specific members.

REC will continue to expand distribution of the personalized video messages to members over the next several months.

APOGEE Interactive Inc. (www.apogee.net) is the leading provider of online energy analysis, website and mobile applications to 650 electric and gas utilities across the US, reaching more than 56 million customers. Apogee was founded in 1993 and pioneered electronic applications designed to increase a utility's customer engagement and energy efficiency. Today its predictive energy analysis software consistently ranks highest for accuracy and usability. Apogee's clients include leading investor-owned, public and cooperative energy companies such as Con Edison (ED), American Electric Power (AEP), Entergy (ETR), Southern Company (SO), NSTAR (NST), Marietta Power and Water, Salt River Project, and Jackson EMC.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (www.myrec.coop) is a member-owned utility that provides electric service to more than 158,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the cooperative operates and maintains more than 16,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

CONTACT: Karen Morris, kmorris@apogee.net, 678-684-6801

Source:Apogee Interactive, Inc.