At FirstEnergy, we’re developing a culture that enables leadership and employees to share and implement innovative ideas that move our company forward while solidifying our role as an industry leader.
Our Innovation Center provides a technology-forward, collaborative space to help us reimagine business processes and explore new and inclusive ways to solve problems – even enabling work between remote and onsite teams to gain broader perspectives. Combined with the Innovation Center, our new Digital Factory organization is facilitating cross-functional teams in areas such as advanced analytics and automation to develop innovative solutions that enable the company to improve processes, embrace new technologies and promote data-driven decision making. Collectively, these efforts are moving FirstEnergy forward to a digitally-enabled future by introducing a more agile, design-thinking approach.
Empowering Customers through Innovation
In 2022, the Digital Factory partnered with the Customer Experience team to enhance online payment options for our customers. The Digital Factory team conducted customer research and tested the new designs with them throughout the process to build a digital product our customers asked for. One main goal of the payment initiative was to increase the self-service options available for our customers. As a result, we added more modern and mobile payment methods such as ApplePay® and GooglePay™. Additionally, new features like Guest Pay make one-time payments easier while Partial Pay and Boost Pay help customers keep the lights on when finances are tight. For additional information, please visit our Customer Experience page.
TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
FirstEnergy participates in a variety of efforts to support the research, development and deployment of advanced technologies that can enhance reliability and resilience and enable a low-carbon future, Additionally, we participate in industry collaborations designed to guide energy transition strategies, support equitable decarbonization of the economy and inform climate change responses.
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): We also stay informed of the latest energy research through active memberships in research institutes. EPRI is among our most important partnerships. FirstEnergy participates in numerous EPRI research programs focusing on transmission, distribution, generation, the environment and sustainability.
Energy Impact Partners (EIP): We participate in venture capital investments through EIP, a global investment group leading the transition to a sustainable energy future. These investments are focused on transforming the utility industry through the development of emerging industry solutions and close-to-market utility technologies. Our participation provides insight into future industry trends and opportunities, as well as exposure to innovative technologies that can benefit our customers, our company and the environment. For example, FirstEnergy participates in EIP’s Elevate Fund, which is focused on investing in companies founded or run by diverse talent that are driving innovation within EIP’s core mission of advancing the low-carbon economy, including through supply decarbonization, electrification, tech-enabled infrastructure, reliability and resilience, and intelligent demand.
Additionally, FirstEnergy works with coalitions and universities through consortiums and direct research projects. For example, we are participating in a federally-funded renewable energy study being conducted by the Smart Electric Power Alliance for the West Virginia Office of Energy. As part of the stakeholder working group, we’re developing a study that outlines natural disaster outage risk and the ability for strategic deployment of microgrids that provide enhanced resiliency to critical infrastructure across the state.