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Direct Energy Wins Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's Best Practices Awards

Houston, TX  –Direct Energy is the winner of the Underserved Markets Award in Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative's Best Practices Awards, for its digital Neighbor-to-Neighbor bill assistance program, that uses a unique platform from Gridmates. The new Best Practices Awards program was developed throughout 2017 by a committee of Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) members to recognize practices, programs and strategies from electricity providers that are shifting the focus of the energy industry to the consumer.


“The digital transformation of Direct Energy's bill assistance program has opened the door for millennial and Generation X consumers, in particular, to directly support their neighbors and others who may need energy assistance, like in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” said Patty Durand, President & CEO, Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative. “I applaud Direct Energy on leading the way in showcasing how digital innovation can be used to engage customers in improving their communities.”

Direct Energy’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor program was originally started in 2003, and was only open to current customers to contribute until 2017, when the Gridmates platform was integrated and the program was made accessible to anyone who would like to contribute. Direct Energy worked with Gridmates to create an online contribution center to collect monetary donations, which are calculated and translated into kilowatt-hours and the number of days of electricity the donations provide. Contributions are distributed to 34 community action agencies across Texas, and the program has assisted more than 57,000 customers pay their electric bills. The new platform enabled Direct Energy and Gridmates to quickly create an avenue for contributions after Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast. To date, more than 15,000 users have visited the site to donate and learn more about the program.


 “It is an honor to receive the Underserved Markets award from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative,” said Manu Asthana, president, Direct Energy Home. “We lead the industry through energy innovation and connected experiences that make a difference in people’s lives. Our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program is just one example of how we are doing just that. Gridmates’ simple platform provides a kick-starter-like experience in helping bring together our customers to help those in need quickly.” 

Gridmates’ cloud-based platform allows users to crowdfund to help end energy poverty. The platform hosts many capabilities, including donations processing and an energy calculator.

“We began this journey with a vision to change people’s lives,” said George Koutitas, Founder and CEO, Gridmates. “We are honored to influence the ability to provide energy donations to the 48 million people in the United States in energy poverty. Our goal is to target Millennials and GenXers, the largest buying sector in the United States. Most, if not all their lives, are in the digital age, and they demand smart, easy, online transactions.”

For more information contact:

Melissa Hand
Specialist, External Relations

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with nearly five million residential and commercial customers. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE: CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia and 10 provinces in Canada.

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