Power Management Study Reveals Tech Providers Not Fully Compensated for Service Calls
The first Power Management Study shows residential dealers sell nearly $1,700 in power management/conditioning equipment per project.
As the deployment of robust home networks becomes almost ubiquitous for home technology integrators including residential security dealers, it is elevating the need for managing power in the home more efficiently.
Sure, home technology providers have been installing power management and conditioning devices for years, but the primary sales focus has always been on creating “clean power” for A/V quality purposes or assuring reliable AC power to avoid interruptions in security systems service.
Today, the sales pitch is primarily focused around power management for the protection and performance of the home network. But to what extent are integrators deploying power management devices? And are they benefiting financially from remote management services?
Recently and for the first time, CE Pro — SSI’s EH Media sister publication specializing in residential automation, A/V, lighting, security and other connected technologies — conducted a Power/Energy Management Study, in conjunction with whole-home energy management provider RoseWater Energy Group, to investigate these questions.
In general, the results, which came from 198 responding residential dealers, reveal that power problems are somewhat widespread, causing service truck rolls on a semi-occasional basis. Most times, however, they are not being fully compensated for those power-related service calls.
Meanwhile, dealers report they are continually seeking solutions to the problems via various avenues, whether those answers come from surge protectors, generators, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) or even energy management hubs.
How Widespread Are Power Problems?
According to the study, residential dealers report the average number of power outages per client, per year is four. While nearly half of customers (47%) experience very few power-related problems, 53% of respondents say clients endure power problems at least once every three months.
Beyond that, they note that 13% of customers have more than 10 power outages per year and another 10% suffer with eight to 10 outages annually. Among the technology systems that dealers report are most affected by power problems are (listed from most to least affected):
- Home Networks
- Smart Home Controls/ Home Automation
- Home Theaters
- Security Systems
- Indoor/Outdoor Lighting Control
Interestingly, survey respondents report that power reliability itself is the fourth-most important technology system to their clients. Meantime, dealers say that power reliability (or lack thereof ) is second biggest threat, behind the performance of home network, to the overall performance of an integrated technology system installation that includes multiple subsystems such as automation, lighting, A/V, alarm, surveillance, HVAC, etc.
So the need is there. More than 85% of survey takers say their clients would “definitely” or “probably” benefit from having some level of improved power quality/reliability.
Meanwhile, more than nine out of every 10 integrators (93%) say power problems are a source of frustration for their service departments because they are not being properly compensated for truck rolls caused by power issues.
General power outages caused by utility problems are cited as the most problematic, followed by lightning strikes and internal surges/spikes caused by other devices in the home (e.g., appliances).
When these power issues crop up, dealers say they often have to roll a truck, yet they are unable to bill to their satisfaction in most cases. Indeed more than one-third (34%) of survey respondents say they either don’t get paid or rarely do for addressing power issues — 11% report they are “never” compensated for a service call related to a power problem, while 23% of dealers say getting paid for a service call related to a power surge is “infrequent.”
Solving the Power Issues
While dealers believe they are getting the short straw for power-related service calls, they do seem to have success offering power products to homeowners. According to the study, an average of$1,695 worth of power management equipment is sold per project.
Surge protectors are the most frequently installed power management devices. In total, 96.4% of dealers install them. Battery backup/ UPS are the second-most popular devices to deploy. In all, 92.3% of dealers install UPS devices.
After those two solutions, there is a big dropoff in terms of what dealers actually offer their clients. Nearly one-third (31.2%) report they have never installed a backup generator. More than one-quarter (26.6%) say they have never even called an electrician to do some rewiring.
Interestingly, when it comes to determining which are the most effective power management devices to install for clients, UPS devices are cited first. Those are closely followed by backup generators (though it requires an electrical license to install them).
Meanwhile, many cutting-edge providers foresee energy management hubs, like those made by RoseWater Energy, as an up-and-coming solution for their clients. In the study, dealers cited energy management hubs as the fourth most valuable device to install for clients to solve their power needs.
These whole-house power management hubs are still a relatively unknown category for other dealers, however. More than half (56%) have never considered installing such a device. Such systems store power onsite and can run a home from internal batteries, free from the power grid.
That lukewarm data from dealers seems to jibe with customer demand at this time. Residential installers report that just 24% of their clients are interested in alternative energy systems.
Remote Notification Becoming Ubiquitous
The final portion of the study covered the remote connectivity abilities of today’s power management devices and how that can help dealers be more efficient by reducing truck rolls, and elevate the overall client experience. According to respondents, remote management is becoming common.
Nearly nine out of every 10 dealers (88%) say they communicate remotely with their customers’ home systems; power conditioners with technology like BlueBolt from Panamax/Furman are facilitating such interaction as well as remote IP diagnostics platforms that are gaining traction like Ihiji’s Invision, SnapAV’s OvrC and others.
In fact, 5% of survey respondents say they communicate weekly with customers’ smart homes, while another 4% are remotely connecting two or three times per month.
Lastly, residential dealers say they would welcome any remote management system that sends email or text messages when problems occur. Almost half of respondents (49%) said such a notification would “definitely” be of value.
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