CPS Energy was front and center at the Start@ETS pitch competition and energy thought summit in Austin on Tuesday. As a co-sponsor of the event with Austin marketing agency Zpryme, our utility’s leadership was invited to participate in various aspects of the summit, which has been around since 2015 and serves as a haven for new ideas and technology in the energy industry.
“We approached Austin Energy six months ago about doing something between San Antonio and Austin to really build this energy corridor between the two cities,” said Jason Scarlett, Director of Enterprise Architecture and Innovation for CPS Energy. Jason served as a judge on one of the pitch panels. “We really wanted to do something in the area to promote this new energy economy and Austin Energy asked us if we would be willing to sponsor this event, and we immediately said yes.”
This event highlights the pattern of innovation that CPS Energy has forged, including soliciting ideas from customers and employees on how to integrate new technologies into its business.
“This is really an idea sharing summit,” Jason said. “We’ve put on a customer centric competition and solicited ideas from employees so this is really a continuation of that.”
Karen Kirwan (pictured above), Chief Information Officer for CPS Energy, was a keynote speaker at the summit. She spoke on customer data and the importance of protecting it.
“We fiercely protect our customer data,” Karen said. “But I prefer to migrate us from ultimate protector to steward. We bring information back to customers to improve their businesses and livelihood. It’s an innovative way.”
This cutting edge event was capped off with a prize of $10,000 given by CPS Energy to Yotta Solar, a company that produces small, thermally-regulated batteries that operate directly behind solar panels. This eliminates the need for additional batteries or space for energy storage.
Events like Start@ETS are great examples of the efforts CPS Energy is making to integrate new technologies and ideas into its offerings to customers.
“CPS Energy has a People First strategy,” Karen said. “If there’s something that we can do that benefits people and allows them to take advantage of these incredible technologies to improve their quality of life, I don’t think that’s bad. We aren’t your grandfather’s utility.”