As a group, we thought about what an average consumer would want in an app from their utility company. We then took inspiration from our favorite apps (such as Google Fit, Robinhood, and Primanti's Bros) as to how we could best translate these goals into a mobile app.
What it does
The app allows you to pay upcoming bills from your phone. It can also send push notifications about upcoming bills, as well as large amounts of energy usage.
You can set a monthly spending budget to set a soft "limit" on the amount of electricity you plan to use during that cycle. It allows you see a breakdown of your bill by appliance, theoretically integrating with smart home technology.
Lastly, while using the app you're always one click away from a text conversation with a live support agent. This is an easy way to report outages by taking a picture of the damage, which also sends Dominion the latitude and longitude of the incident.
How we built it
We divided tasks based on our respective skill-sets.
Michael Bullington, our "CTO" and Computer Science major, created the app using Google's Flutter framework. We started out with something called React Native, but quickly switched over after lackluster progress. You can read more about this in Michael's Personal Contribution section.
Matthew Corlew, Marcus Putz, and Jackson Horigan, all Mechanical Engineers with a wide skill-set, worked out the details of the project. They also helped to form the branding and presentation used through the project, and brainstormed ways to improve Dominion's energy grid.
Challenges we ran into
- Team member being inexperienced or new to programming.
- We tried to redesign the preexisting grid but found out later that we have a lack of knowledge in the exact details about the grid.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're incredibly proud of the design of our app, and feel it well meets what a customer would want from their utility company.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the specifics of Dominion's energy grid.
It is a lot harder to put power lines underground than we originally believed. They are filled with oil to act as insulation as well as a thermal conduit, a factor we did not know previously.
We also learned about Dominion's smart meter initiative, and is progressively rolling out to their customer's.
What's next for My Dominion
Fixing any problems with the App and going farther with design.