New Ernst & Young LLP Power & Utilities’ advisors to specialize in smart grid and customer engagement
Dallas, 14 November 2011 — Utilities across the globe are expected to invest as much as $200 billion in smart grid projects by 2015. In response, Ernst & Young LLP announced that two leaders in the utilities industry have joined the firm with extensive experience in helping those companies improve customer satisfaction and deploy new smart technology.
Stephen Thiel has more than 20 years’ experience in business transformation and strategy. Now an Executive Director with Ernst & Young LLP’s Advisory Services Power & Utilities practice, Mr. Thiel has helped utility clients develop smart grid roadmaps, demand response strategies, operational improvements, approaches to enhance energy trading, and has helped deploy new smart technology for utility clients.
Catherine Zhou, a Principal in the Advisory Services Power & Utilities practice, brings over 15 years’ experience advising companies on how to manage customers, drive satisfaction and improve business performance. She leads customer experience transformation projects, leveraging digital media, marketing and business intelligence.
“One of the messages we have heard consistently from our clients is that they need guidance on how to better engage with consumers,” said Dana Hanson, Advisory Services Power & Utilities Leader. “Stephen and Catherine both have proven track records of helping utilities improve customer satisfaction and deploying new smart technology.”
The global EY organization recently surveyed the heads of household in 13 countries about their understanding of smart technology and their appetite for smart-enabled services. “The Rise of the Smart Customer” found:
- Consumers around the world have a neutral to poor relationship with energy suppliers. Many complained of poor customer service and issues with billing, which is a challenge for utilities pursuing smart projects.
- Consumers acknowledge that suppliers are dependable, but utilities are viewed as having lower customer service ratings compared to other home service industries.
- Consumers are optimistic about controlling energy and saving money with smart meters, but have concerns about privacy and the financial benefits.
- Consumers are reluctant to purchase other services from energy suppliers and need to see a credible brand before investing in smart services.
Thiel, Zhou and others on Ernst & Young LLP’s Power & Utilities team focus on these findings.
Prior to joining Ernst & Young LLP, Thiel was the Smart Grid Leader for IBM Global Business Services. He also has worked for EPRI, FAME, Entergy and Glaxo Pharmaceuticals. Thiel received his MBA from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Zhou worked at Accenture prior to joining Ernst & Young LLP. She specialized in customer experience and digital analytics. She is the co-author of The Social Media Management Handbook. Zhou has a MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.
About EY's Advisory Services
The relationship between risk and performance improvement is an increasingly complex and central business challenge, with business performance directly connected to the recognition and effective management of risk. Whether your focus is on business transformation or sustaining achievement, having the right advisors on your side can make all the difference. Our 20,000 advisory professionals form one of the broadest global advisory networks of any professional organization, delivering seasoned multidisciplinary teams that work with our clients to deliver a powerful and superior client experience.
We use proven, integrated methodologies to help you achieve your strategic priorities and make improvements that are sustainable for the longer term. We understand that, to achieve your potential as an organization, you require services that respond to your specific issues, so we bring our broad sector experience and deep subject matter knowledge to bear in a proactive and objective way. Above all, we are committed to measuring the gains and identifying where the strategy is delivering the value your business needs. It’s how EY makes a difference.
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com. EY refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.
This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a US client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
# # #