Tokyo, May 27, 2014 - Rakuten, Inc. has agreed to trialling “Rakuten Check,” a smartphone-based points program that rewards users for visiting participating merchant outlets with EnneVision®, the demand response service for condominium buildings from NTT Facilities, and power producer and supplier ENNET Corporation. It has also agreed to offer Rakuten Super Points to complex residents who agree to cooperate with power saving requests.
NTT Facilities is rolling out a “Condominium Energy Service” that will provide an aggregated high-voltage power purchase, transformer, and distribution service to contracting condominium residents and thereby discounted household electricity tariffs. EnneVision® is an additional service to assist residents using this service with their energy conservation. The service involves sending contracting condominium residents an email when a power shortage is forecast, requesting their cooperation with power saving.
This summer’s initiative adds “Rakuten Check” to the existing tools that encourage people to go out in order to save power. It offers Rakuten Super Points to condominium residents who agree to receive power-saving requests and excursion promotion campaign information when they turn off their power, leave their homes, and check in using Rakuten Check at a participating store.
From January to March this year, Rakuten in conjunction with ENNET piloted “Warmshare,” which cut household electricity use by encouraging householders not to use their heaters and instead to gather in designated places outside of the home. By using the Smapo (1) app offered by Rakuten Group company Spotlight Inc., users were awarded double points and other benefits for “checking in” at participating stores. The pilot showed that points are a strong incentive in responding to power saving requests, and that a user-friendly smartphone app with messaging and location functions could boost the performance of a demand response program. It was this result that led to the decision to enact a trial service this summer that will harness Rakuten Check in a demand response program for identified residential consumers.
The service launching this summer will give Rakuten Super Points to NTT Facilities to customers living in condominiums for checking in to specific venues while out in response to requests to go out at times of peak power demand. Campaign benefits are expected to include double points.
Rakuten Check is one of the biggest O2O services in Japan, with 61 brands and around 1,100 participating stores. Earning Rakuten Super Points is the incentive for using this service. These can be redeemed with any of Rakuten’s various services. By harnessing these existing Rakuten ecosystem platform features, it is possible to boost motivation for “leaving home to save power” among a large pool of customers. The app's messaging function also makes it harder for customers to miss power saving alerts, and can be linked to limited-time bonus points promotions to boost the incentive to leave home during power demand peaks.
In the U.S and Europe, where electricity markets are largely liberalized, advanced behavior-based residential demand response programs that do not require the installation of smart meters have proven more popular than the typical residential demand response programs in Japan which rely on smart meters. Rakuten Energy is bringing best practices from the West promptly back to Japan and rolling out new services that mesh with the Rakuten ecosystem service platforms. Teaming up with power producer and suppliers and Comdominium Energy Management Systems aggregators, it is focused on building an energy services platform ready for the planned 2016 full liberalization of the residential electricity market.
■Overview of NTT Facilities
Company name： NTT FACILITIES, INC.
Established： December 1992
Description of business： Consulting on buildings, power supply equipment, planning, design, security, maintenance, etc.
Headquarters： Minato Ward, Tokyo
Representative： Kiyoshi Tsutsui, President and CEO
■Overview of ENNET Corporation
Company name： ENNET Corporation
Established： July 2000
Description of business： Electricity purchasing and retailing, power generation
Headquarters： Minato Ward, Tokyo
Representative： Hiroaki Ikebe, President and CEO
1. See press release, ‘Rakuten Acquires Spotlight Inc., Provider of “Smapo” Redeemable Points’