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PROSPECTIVES Interview: David Jacot

Posted By Adeline Lui, Monday, July 24, 2017

This article is republished from the July 2017 issue of Strategies, AESP’s exclusive magazine for members. To receive Strategies, please consider joining AESP.

PROSPECTIVES: David Jacot, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power's Director of Efficiency Solutions

John Hargrove: In a nutshell, what is the energy efficiency industry in California like right now?
David Jacot: We are very aggressive with new goals and targets under SB 350 which was passed last year. This law mandates doubling of energy efficiency by the year 2030. No one knows exactly what that means but it is going to be aggressive and the California Energy Commission is working mightily right now to figure it out.

John: At LADWP, you work with local government which often has very different priorities from the PUCs who oversee IOUs. What are some of the unique political challenges you see in communicating the value of energy efficiency to your decision makers?
David: Investor-owned utilities implement energy efficiency programs often at the mandate of the PUC. We are not regulated by the PUC but by the Los Angeles City Council. It is different in that there are multiple benefits that come from energy efficiency that may be of more interest to the council members. Energy efficiency is used as a component in our energy resource plan and delivers a very cost effective supply-side resource. But beyond that, there are a lot of non-energy benefits that factor in and accrue due to our investment in energy efficiency. Those non-energy benefits can often be more interesting to stakeholders than the energy benefits themselves – such as the creation of green job opportunities for our local work force; and equity of access across all customer segments and socio-economic categories. There is also a public policy mandate for low income energy efficiency, to help those constituents as well.

John: You mention that energy efficiency is considered a supply-side resource. Tell me more.
David: One of the things I am most proud of at LADWP is that we have quantitatively internalized the value of energy efficiency as a supply-side resource. We have been including it in our Integrated Resource Plan for six years as part of the supply mix to meet projected needs. To some extent, for many IOUs, energy efficiency is a regulatory mandate or a customer satisfaction play. But when it comes to getting counted as a hard resource, it is heavily discounted, if it is counted at all. At LADWP, we treat it as a dependable resource. In our loading order for resources, we rank energy efficiency as number one.

John: What is an example of a way you have overcome political challenges you see in communicating the value of energy efficiency to your decision makers?
David: We have a nation-leading partnership with Southern California Gas Company. They serve 20 million southern Californians, four million of whom are in our service territory. We have a joint agreement and 19 programs under that agreement where together we deliver gas, electric, and water efficiency programs. We just celebrated the fifth anniversary of that partnership. We coordinate with other utilities, especially on information sharing and the implementation of statewide programs with single administrators. With such broad collaboration and a diversified value proposition, efforts such as this tend to transcend political skirmishes and challenges and get everyone on board.

John: Has LADWP implemented customer-engagement programs, and what is your experience with them?
David: We presently have a number of customer engagement programs achieving broad recognition, such as our comprehensive home retrofit program performed free of charge and targeted to our lower income homeowners. We also attend to grassroots-level community capacity building through our Community Grants Program which enlists CBOs in each Council District as well as across the city to get out the energy and water efficiency message. We are in the process of building a more robust customer engagement strategy across all touch points through the process of journey mapping for our customer programs. We are also planning to deliver a city-wide peer-comparison-based behavioral conservation program.

John: What are some of the barriers to advancing energy efficiency in LADWP - and how have they been overcome?
David: The SoCal Gas partnership overcame many issues of resources. Hiring for the civil service process can be problematic. We were able to work with SoCal Gas and put together programs quickly that we did not have the internal resources or the contractual ability to do quickly on our own. There are things that a municipal utility can do quickly that an IOU can’t, like moving money from an unsuccessful program to one that is higher performing. IOUs can do things more quickly than we can, such as contracting for certain types of work. By working together we are able to implement several programs more effectively than either of us could do on our own, that at the same time bring additional benefits for our shared customers.
John: California is in the forefront of water conservation. What kind of future resource planning is LADWP doing to ensure its water future?
David: The drought which has been extreme for the last five years, was alleviated by this winter’s rains. But, we all know this being southern California, the water won’t stick around for long. We have managed to keep water consumption at the same total aggregate level over the last 30 years, even though Los Angeles has added a million people inside the city boundaries. We have brought down the per capita daily consumption to 104 gallons per person which is the lowest in the country for any city of over one million people. We have made long term efforts to reduce indoor usage and most of those opportunities are now saturated. The largest share of our customers’ use is outdoor irrigation and that also happens to be our largest opportunity to reduce water use going forward. In terms of resource planning, LADWP is also working to enhance our local water supplies, particularly storm water, recycled water and groundwater – all critical to increasing our water resilience and reducing our dependence on imported water.
John: How does LADWP view itself compared to other utilities?
David: LADWP is very unique. For a long time, we thought that we were as big as the IOUs but since we were not regulated by the PUC we didn’t really mesh with them. We knew that we were a POU, publically owned utility, but we were so much bigger than the rest that we didn’t feel we fit with them either. What we have done over the last few years is to say no, both of those perspectives are wrong. We are members of both groups and we need to be out there leading. We are an IOU-scale POU which gives us access to a lot of resources and the ability to lead, that a lot of the smaller POUs don’t have. At the same time, we are unrestrained by the bureaucracy of the IOU regulatory model, so we can really get out there and do aggressive things. Not only that, it is our responsibility, given our position, to do just that.
John: Looking to the future of EE in the next five and 10 years, what do you see in the way of technological advances and how will they impact the landscape of EE?
David: One big thing continues to be the full conversion of lighting to LED. The technology just gets better and better. There is tremendous energy savings which also drives cooling loads down. We expect to see total residential saturation very quickly. We are trying to accelerate that by doing giveaways. We did one last year and we will do another this year. Two LEDs for every household in Los Angeles; 1.4 million homes, 2.8 million LED lightbulbs. Utilizing a contractor, we delivered them door to door over the course of 13 weeks. At one point, over 80,000 homes per week. The average household has 30-40 light sockets. Conceivably we could run this program twice per year for 10 years or more. If people are putting the bulbs in when they get them, we could singlehandedly transform the market in a relatively short amount of time.
The other thing is, LEDs are so long lasting that we foresee a time, not too far away, where brick and mortar retailers are going to stock less and less product. We expect it to migrate to more of a web- based or Amazon type commodity. If the product lasts 15-20 years before burnout, retailers are not going to assign it that important shelf space.
John: What unique considerations should there be when integrating EE into DER and the Grid?
David: Traditionally they haven’t been coordinated that well in our programs or utilities in California, in general. The solar industry was pretty adamant about killing off any energy efficiency retrofit requirement as a condition of solar incentives. The compromise reached was quite watered down in terms of only requiring an energy efficiency audit. But even for that, there’s really no enforcement mechanism for it so we know that a lot of the solar is going into inefficient homes and the solar systems are often being sized bigger than they need to be if a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit was undertaken before doing the solar project. That was a state law and years ago we weren’t able to get a tighter tie to the loading order in that. So, where does that leave us? To some extent we do have the oversizing of some of the solar systems, although they are technically right sized if they haven’t done any energy efficiency. If they do the energy efficiency work, then they will simply be feeding more energy in to the grid.
We look at distributed energy resources as five things: distributed solar, distributed battery storage, demand response, electric vehicle chargers, and energy efficiency. The first four are controllable and dispatchable. Energy efficiency is not. Energy efficiency is fundamental, or foundational to being able to optimize the grid and to accept the other four. It is baseload reduction and it can be targeted geographically. We are working with our power system to see how we can do an extra push in those grid-congested areas. Energy efficiency can be done any time and it will result in additional capacity on the system.
John: What do you see are the key trends disrupting the industry today?
David: One big one for us is California’s push towards 100 percent renewables. There is a bill that has been proposed to mandate this by 2045, which is less than 30 years away. There certainly is going to be support for California to do something bold like that, especially in light of the new national administration. I would not be surprised to see that pass. That will completely up-end the utility model in California. The utilities will survive it. There will always be a need for utilities to tie everything together but it will look a lot different than it does today. The big question for both IOUs and POUs is, what does that do for their revenue models, costs, rates, reliability, valuations (for IOUs), and bond ratings on Wall Street? That’s a big question for all of us.
John: Give me a description for the utility 25 years from now.
David: Twenty five years from now, continuing the trend of decentralization, we will probably be getting to the point where the utility connects everything and maybe doesn’t generate anything at all and manages the two-way and three-way power flows like a broker. The utility will still be needed, especially under a 100 percent renewable scenario. I do not envision a model in which everyone is off the grid. Were that to be the case, there would be serious reliability issues and cost issues as well, because not everyone can afford that. The infrastructure will be required to perform in a manner it wasn’t originally designed to do – to incorporate distributed generation and storage, plus massive electrification of passenger vehicles allowing the creation of a virtual, mobile battery. That infrastructure has to be maintained.

Tags:  David Jacot  LADWP  muni  Prospectives  Public Power 

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SmartTech as MarTech

Posted By Adeline Lui, Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This article is republished from the July 2017 issue of Strategies, AESP's magazine for members. To receive Strategies, please consider joining AESP.

SmartTech as MarTech

By Laura Orfanedes

 LauraOrfanedesJULY17Strategies(1).jpgNo longer the stuff of far-off visions or science fiction, the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart homes are quickly becoming a present reality for consumers. Utilities are increasingly embracing the increased connectivity, convenience, and savings offered by a new generation of these smart devices. The promise of new "smart" technologies is significant, including energy and cost savings, demand savings, and improved customer engagement with an outlook toward the fully connected smart home.

Beyond energy savings that can be claimed when installing the device, smart thermostats offer utilities a versatile out-of-the box platform for customer engagement. In this article, we position the idea of using smart thermostats as an actual marketing technology, one that marketers can and should be incorporating into marketing campaigns, just as they do for other marketing and media channels.

The MarTech Industry

Over the past 20 years, while digital transformation has been radically re-shaping customer expectations and experience, an industry has quietly emerged known as Marketing Technology, or "MarTech." Ushered in with the Internet in the 1990s – and the explosion of technology and data that accompanied it – MarTech has grown to become a nearly $30 billion industry with 5,000 companies operating in the space.1,2

Simply defined, MarTech "enables the customer experience revolution by changing the way marketers identify, engage and support customers. It is at the heart of successful digital transformation, linking previously siloed disciplines: product, marketing, sales and customer service".3

MarTech cuts across a wide range of marketing function4, including:

  • Advertising and Promotion: i.e., mobile marketing, display, search, native content, etc.
  • Content and Experience: i.e., mobile apps, content management, marketing automation, etc.
  • Social and Relationships: i.e., call analytics, loyalty and rewards, chat, social listening, etc.
  • Commerce and Sales: i.e., proximity marketing, sales automation, ecommerce, etc.
  • Data: i.e., mobile and web analytics, dashboards, customer intelligence, etc.
  • Management: i.e., collaboration, projects and workflow, Agile management, etc.

MarTech solutions, like the examples listed above, may serve different functions, but they all have one thing in common: they have radically and irrevocably transformed the speed, relevance and reach of marketing campaigns.

Smart Thermostats as Marketing Technology

According to, there are nearly 6,000 different MarTech tools currently in the market5. Some of these solutions are deployed in a large enterprise setting, while others are smaller, software-as-a-service-based tools. These tools come in a range of different forms, including software, downloads, or as cloud-based subscription services.

While smart thermostats are hardware, they are also software-managed and connected to the Internet. In that regard, they share many of the same characteristics - and offer many of the same benefits – as those tools that might be defined as MarTech.

Also, smart thermostats share a similar dynamic with other disruptive MarTech platforms in that "innovation begets another innovation."6 For example, Instagram and Snapchat needed smartphone cameras in order "to become one of the fastest growing communication channels today — and thus give people — and companies — new mediums for outreach."7

Likewise, utilities sought a technological solution to help them and their customers manage energy usage. In incentivizing this technology, they inadvertently opened a new channel for reaching customers with instantaneous and highly personalized communications.

Pathway to Deeper Customer Engagement

While the annualized energy and peak demand savings associated with a relatively low cost measure like a smart thermostat is very exciting for most utilities, the real magic lies in granular data acquisition, control and optimization algorithms, and the connection to the cloud. In short, marketing technology-like features and functionality.

These components provide utilities with a platform for more accurate virtual home audits, home automation, and more personalized customer engagement. For example, ICF is working with SMECO in using advanced analytics with smart thermostat data to identify homes with large potential for savings and then targeting these customers for participation in other utility offerings (Exhibit 1).



This is accomplished by combining customers' propensity to participate in energy efficiency programs with the more accurate assessment of their savings potential that can be determined from analyzing thermostat data. These insights can be delivered back to the customers in a number of ways including home energy reports, a utility dashboard or the thermostat itself (Exhibit 2).



Putting Smart Thermostats into the Marketing Mix

In 2015, Travis Wright, Chief Marketing Technologist at CCP Global, named 13 primary types of marketing technology tools.8

We present these tools (in Table 1 and highlight) and how smart thermostats stack up in comparison in offering utilities similar or proxy MarTech functionality that help them understand, target, reach, engage, and convert utility customers into programs.



Therefore, when placed into the marketing mix, smart thermostats will behave much like a MarTech tool, and offer the same hallmark benefits of digital marketing technologies: speed, relevance, and reach.

Aligning DSM with MarTech

Smart thermostats offer a range of MarTech-like capabilities within a single platform. However, it will be important for utilities to evaluate their marketing strategies and determine how a device traditionally used for non-marketing purposes would support overall DSM program, marketing, and other business objectives.

For utilities to work effectively together in the digital world, marketing managers, DSM program staff, and IT must work in unison. This is often a tall order for many organizations and these multiple departments can often end up in conflict, resulting in delays, missed synergies, and poorer results.

In order to undergo a digital transformation and leverage smart thermostats and other MarTech tools, utilities will have to decide who should be in charge. Should it be DSM program implementation or marketing, or perhaps a different department, or function, altogether?

Some recommended best practices9 include:

  • Making sure all team members – including any outside marketing agencies and implementers – are adequately trained on how to best use the technology.
  • Ensure organizations have allocated the necessary budget for technology procurement, and any recurring data transfer or API fees.
  • Consider assigning a dedicated marketing technology resource to a tool like this to help bridge the gap between these different stakeholders.

By reframing how we, as an industry, see smart thermostats, and applying best practices, who knows...? The result may be that, at the next annual marketing meeting, smart thermostats show up in the marketing plan right alongside Facebook ads, direct mail, search, and email marketing.

Laura Orfanedes is Principal, Energy Marketing at ICF in its Commercial Energy Division, where she delivers energy marketing and strategic communications for utility clients and supports business development. Justin Mackovyak, a residential energy efficiency consultant with ICF, contributed to this article. This article is from the AESP Marketing Topic Committee.

Tags:  ICF  Laura Orfanedes  Martech  smart thermostats 

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The Future of Energy Efficiency in the United States

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 25, 2017

This article is republished from the May 2017 issue of Strategies, AESP’s exclusive magazine for members. To receive Strategies, please consider joining AESP.

The Future of Energy Efficiency in the United States

By Frank Stern, Rob Neumann and Christopher Lau
Neumann(1).jpg Stern(1).jpg Lau.jpg
The role of energy efficiency in the U.S. energy market has grown rapidly -- driven by the need to reduce reliance on large generation assets, to modulate energy demand, and to mitigate climate change. President Donald Trump has not made specific public statements about energy efficiency, but has begun the process to reduce funding for the federal agencies and the national laboratories largely responsible for national renewable and efficiency programs and energy research. Thus, energy industry stakeholders have been left to speculate on the future of national energy efficiency.
However, the direction of energy efficiency is unlikely to waiver. Energy regulation and policy are developed at multiple levels, with federal policy as one of many levers of power. At the international, state, municipal and corporate levels, the momentum to adopt energy efficient technologies is strong. The pace of technology development and the positive economics of energy efficiency investments will continue to drive energy efficiency adoption, independent of federal policy.

Federal Energy Efficiency
The three main areas of federal policy have been Appliance and Equipment Standards, the Clean Power Plan, and the Paris Agreement.

Appliance and Equipment Standards:
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Appliance and Equipment Standards Program sets federal energy efficiency standards. In 2015, the program saved an estimated 4.5 quads of primary energy use, or 5 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. As older appliances and equipment are retired and more efficient equipment is installed, the total savings are expected to grow annually. The energy efficiency measures put in place are cost-effective and save consumers money over the lifetime of the product. DOE currently has energy efficiency standards for over 55 types of products and equipment.
President Trump has not made specific statements that would suggest a stance on the Appliance and Equipment Standards program, which has strong support from both industry and environmental advocacy groups. However, the President’s proposed budget released in March 2017 contains cuts in DOE funding that would likely reduce funding for the office Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Appliance and Equipment standards program, and the national laboratories, which play large roles in researching and supporting residential and commercial energy efficiency technologies. The proposed budget also eliminates the ENERGY STAR® , the voluntary program aimed at encouraging market adoption of more efficient technologies. If federal support of energy efficiency is reduced, the non-federal actors influencing our nation’s efficient use of electricity and power will play an even larger role in our country’s energy future.
Clean Power Plan
Trump directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to start the process of withdrawing and rewriting the CPP on March 28. Notably, the March 28 order did not (1) withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement (described below) or (2) start a process to repeal the EPA’s endangerment finding on carbon emissions, which underlies the CPP.1 But as of April 28, the D.C. Circuit granted the EPA’s request to pause the litigation and the court ordered a briefing on whether the case should be remanded to the EPA or kept on hold. Sending the rule back to the EPA would allow the agency to modify or rescind the rule following its review. The EPA would have to go through its rulemaking process which could take another 12 months or more.
Regardless of these actions, the United States is on a positive trajectory to achieve CPP goals earlier than planned since the nation has largely moved away from coal and toward natural gas and implementing renewables and increased energy efficiency.2 This, coupled with increasing improvements in appliance standards, has led to significant decreases in electricity generation and consumption. Most agree that market forces have already moved toward compliance, and that trend will continue with the ongoing trend away from coal toward natural gas, the ongoing installation of renewables, and the continuing adoption of energy efficiency resources. If natural gas, renewables, and energy efficiency measures are less costly than coal, market forces are likely to dictate the use of the more cost-effective resource.
Paris Agreement
Trump has stated his intention of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, which commits the United States and 194 other countries to lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The CPP is a key means of complying with this agreement. Trump has backtracked since his earlier statements and said he has an open mind about the agreement.3 Several major coal companies, (Cloud Peak Energy Inc., Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp) have asked Trump to remain in the Paris deal, arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests.4 Several major oil companies – Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell plc, BP plc, Statoil and ConocoPhillips Co. have all reportedly expressed support for the agreement, as well as current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.5
At this point, it is unclear which way the administration will go. If the United States withdraws, other nations may impose carbon tariffs on GHG-intensive goods; France and Mexico have stated they are considering this option. This would put pressure on manufacturers to reduce emissions, encouraging energy efficiency.
State Energy Efficiency Initiatives
States that have been aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, including California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Hawaii, are not likely to change the direction of their energy policy and regulation. Several states have recently made announcements about renewed efficiency efforts and increased commitments to energy savings targets. These state policies drive electric and gas utility programs.
In California, Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said they would work directly with other nations and states to defend and strengthen California’s already aggressive policies to fight climate change. The state has had a strong commitment to energy efficiency and this is likely to continue. Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Ohio have also reaffirmed their commitment to efficiency initiatives:
  • This past March, the Vermont House passed a bill that would create state energy efficiency standards if the Federal Appliance and Equipment standards program is eliminated.6 The bill would adopt efficiency standards that mirror federal standards as of January 19, 2017. The existing standards save Vermont households an average of 20 percent off their annual energy bills.
  • The Michigan legislature passed two sweeping bills on December 15, the last day of its end-of-year lame duck session, and the governor has signed them. The legislation extends and improves the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS). The EERS bill, SB 438, officially endorses and extends the state's 1 percent annual energy savings requirement for utilities through 2021. It also removes the existing cap on energy efficiency program spending, adds tiered incentives to encourage utilities to exceed 1.5 percent annual savings, and increases the previous RPS requirement for renewable electricity from 10 percent to 15 percent.7
  • Proposed Massachusetts air regulations announced in December target 80 percent decarbonization by 2050.8 Achieving these targets is likely to require increased energy efficiency.
  • In Ohio, Governor John Kasich vetoed a bill at the end of December that would have weakened the state's renewable energy and energy efficiency standards. This ended a two-year long freeze on the standards and cleared the way for the standards to be reinstated as of January 1, 2017.9
  • In early December, the Illinois General Assembly passed and the governor signed into law a sweeping energy bill that enabled two nuclear power plants to remain operational. The bill significantly increases energy efficiency requirements for the large electric utilities and resets the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is expected to generate more than $10 billion in Illinois over the next 10 years.
Municipal governments—such as those of Los Angeles, California; Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Madison, Wisconsin; New York, New York, and others—are rapidly embracing the transformation to clean energy, driven by their citizens:
  • Los Angeles initiated its Sustainable City Plan in 2015, which aims to reduce energy use per square foot below 2013 levels for all buildings by at least 14 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030.
  • Boulder adopted a new Climate Commitment in December. The goal is to build on the success of Boulder's Climate Action Plan and foster economic vibrancy while reducing overall emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. Reaching this goal means ramping up climate efforts and, in particular, actions to promote energy efficiency and conserve natural resources.
  • The City of Madison, Wisconsin recently announced a plan to move toward 100 percent renewable energy use across city agencies, with interim goals of 25 percent clean energy use by 2025. It also aims to reduce overall energy consumption by 50 percent by 2030.
Corporate Initiatives
Fortune 500 companies are committed to their plans related to corporate sustainability initiatives. This will drive clean energy project development regardless of what happens on the federal front. Five hundred and thirty companies – including Hilton, General Mills and Unilever – and 100 investors – including the New York State Common Retirement Fund and Trillium Asset Management – have signed a statement of support of the nation’s climate change policies in advance of Trump’s inauguration.10
Google announced recently that it would meet 100 percent of its corporate energy demand from carbon-free sources by 2017. A recent article in Japan Times stated, “Google’s efforts are driven not just by a notion of corporate responsibility, but also by business imperatives: Going green is smart, efficient and potentially profitable. That is the way to ensure that such policies are adopted more widely.”11
Forbes magazine recently said, “no matter who the president is, business leaders are committed to a clean energy future.”12 General Electric, Exxon and BP, among other large companies, have corporate clean energy initiatives as well as lines of business that focus on driving increased revenue through renewable resources and advanced technologies.
Technology Improvements
Technological improvements continue to offer consumers opportunities to reduce energy costs and reduce contributions to harmful emissions. A key example is LED lighting. LED prices have declined to a point where this type of lighting is becoming the economical choice in almost every application. The current wave of adoption is focused on the value of ongoing energy savings compared to a modest increase in upfront cost. As the payback periods fall below 2-4 years in more and more applications (in part due to Federal Appliance and Equipment standards), those with decision-making power over what type of lighting to use are forced to consider this comparatively new technology.13
Energy policy and regulation are developed at multiple levels. While the new president and Congress are likely to alter federal policies and regulations, support for cleaner and more sustainable energy systems will continue and may increase at the state, municipal, and corporate levels. Businesses have found renewables and energy efficiency to be good for businesses and to be a driver of revenue growth. Further, energy technology improvements are driving an increase in efficiency. These forces will not be altered or slowed by federal energy policy changes.
Frank Stern is the Managing Director; Rob Neumann, Associate Director; and Christopher Lau also Associate Director at Navigant Consulting.

1 National Review. “What President Trump’s Energy and Climate Executive Order Does — and Doesn’t Do.” March 31, 2017.

2 Annalee Grant, “U.S. May Meet Clean Power Plan's National Goal 13 Years Earlier Than Planned.” SNL, November 28, 2016.

3 Oliver Milman, “Paris climate deal: Trump says he now has an ‘open mind’ about accord.’” The Guardian, November 22, 2016.

4 Reuters. “U.S. coal companies ask Trump to stick with Paris climate deal.” April 4, 2017.

5 SNL. “Coal firms call for Trump to support Paris agreement to shape climate debate.” April 6, 2017.

Mike Polhamis, “Vermont House Passes Backup Bill on Energy Efficient Appliances” VTDigger, March 24, 2017

7 Martin Kushler, “New Michigan law strengthens energy efficiency and renewable energy standards” ACEEE, December 21, 2016.

8 Robert Walton, Gavin Bade, “Proposed Massachusetts air regulations target 80% decarbonization by 2050” UtilityDIVE, December 19, 2016.

9 SNL. “Kasich follows through on veto threat for Ohio clean energy standards.” December 27, 2016.

10, downloaded February 2, 2017.

11 Japan Times. “Google’s commitment to go green.” December 13, 2016.

12 Mindy Lubber, “It’s All About Building A Clean Energy Economy” Forbes, November 10, 2016.

13 Navigant Research. 2015. LED Lighting: Global Outlook.

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It Takes A Village -- letter from AESP Chair

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Letter from AESP Chair, Michael Volker

It takes a village.  A really big, fun, vibrant village

As we begin the new year, I must admit that I am sometimes sucked into watching those year-end wrap up shows.  While one of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching something like “The dumbest criminals of 2016” I think there is some good that can come out of looking back at a year just gone by and taking stock of all the good things we have. 

AESP for example has a lot of people who help to make it “The Community” for energy efficiency in the United States and Canada. 

I wanted to use this chance to pay a little notice to all of those people who help make AESP the place to be. Thanks to everyone who helps make AESP such a great organization.  


Topic Committees and Chairpersons

Implementation – Art Olson, Smart Watt

Pricing and Demand Response – Sharon Mullen, Navigant

Market Research, Evaluation and Greenhouse Gas – Laura Schauer, Illume

Marketing – Kristin Laursen, Michaels Energy

Tools and Technologies – Jamie Byron, Fiveworx

Business Issues and Models – Frank Stern, Navigant

Topic committees are communities of AESP members that share common interests. They meet in person at AESP’s National Conference and stay connected throughout the year by email, conference calls, etc.  Each Topic Committee promotes its specific focus to other AESP members through Brown Bag Webinars, white papers, articles in Strategies, conference presentations, and regional gatherings.


Local Chapters


President – Patsy Dugger, CB&I

Vice President, North  – Rachel Christenson, Selling Energy

Vice President, South – Allison Bially, AESC, Inc.

Treasurer –  Sharareh Moaddeli, SoCalGas

Secretary – Mabell Paine, ICF

Communications Chair – Andy Bayowski, kW Engineering

Social Media Chair – Teresa Davies, PG&E



President – Jamie Peters, EnergySavvy

Vice President – Ariel Braude, Agentis Energy

Treasurer – Emily McGavisk, West Monroe Partners

Secretary – Jim Armstrong, Lockheed Martin

Director of Communications – Celia Johnson, Future Energy Enterprises



President – Lisa Perry, EMI Consulting

Vice President – Jim Perich-Anderson, Puget Sound Energy

Treasurer – Kiley Faherty, Snohomish County PUD

Communications Chair – Penelope Gabor, Franklin Energy

Events Coordinator – Nancy Li, Seattle City Light


Mid-Atlantic (MARCh)

President – Yvette Brown, Clean Markets

Vice President – Alex Mordas, Performance Systems Development

Treasurer – Luke Surowiec, ICF

Secretary – Alison Steele, Conservation Consultants, Inc.

Communications – Karine Shamlian, Clean Markets



President – Paul Bertucci, Franklin Energy

Vice President – Rachel Holmes, ARCA

Treasurer – Kelly Lady, Austin Utilities

Secretary – Paul Twite, Delano Municipal Utilities

At Large – Carl Samuelson, Michaels Energy

At Large – Jared Hendricks, Owatonna Public Utilities

At large – Joel Haskard, CERTs



President – Bill Norton, Opinion Dynamics

Treasurer – Matt Dugan, ICF



President – Dulane Moran, NEEA

Treasurer – Dan Groshans, Cadmus Group

Events Chair – Carter Stafford, CLEAResult

Director – Jessica Iplikci, Energy Trust of Oregon

Director – Bruce Manclark, CLEAResult

Director – Mersiha McClaren, Research Into Action

Social Media Coordinator – Zac Hathaway, Research Into Action


Ontario, Canada

President – Sarah Colvin, ecobee

Vice President – Lenard Hart, Hydro One Brampton

Treasurer – Jeff Quint, Waterloo North Hydro

Secretary – Deborah Bullock, Enbridge Gas Distribution

Information Officer – Tim Sturgeon, Burman Energy Consultants

Events Director – Nathalie McLauchlin, PowerStream

Communications Director – Peter Rowles, Peter Rowles Consulting


Red River

President – Meghan McCoy, CLEAResult

Vice President – Ashley Mitchell, Texas New Mexico Power

Treasurer – Matthew Romero, CLEAResult

Secretary – Jesse Ander, Grundfos Pumps

Communications Director – Steve Ellison, ICF

At Large – Dawn Casey, Public Service Company of Oklahoma

At Large – Steve Mutiso, AEP-Texas


Rocky Mountain

President – Tyler Hammer, Nexant

Vice President – David Alspector, Navigant

Treasurer – Meghan Sposato, Navigant

Secretary – Vikram Sridhar, Nexant

At Large – Katie Ryder, ESource

At Large – Steven Morgan, Boulder Energy Engineers

At Large – Jane Hummer, Navigant



President – L.K. Browning, Columbia State

Vice President – Cyrus Bhedwar, SEEA

Treasurer – Frank Wickstead, ICF

Secretary – Sheryl Shelton, South Carolina Electric & Gas

Volunteer Coordinator – Alexis Goldman, ICF



President – Alan Work, Evolve Technologies

Vice President – Roger Kliemisch, Consultant

Treasurer – Norma Elizondo, Evolve Technologies

Secretary – David Bruder, Lockheed Martin

Chief Information Officer – Chris Baggett, APS



President – Bobbi Fey, ICF

Vice President – Latisha Younger-Canon, Navigant

Treasurer – Claire Cowan, Seventhwave

Secretary – Katie Mueller, Franklin Energy

Communications – Erikka Byrge, Seventhwave

Chapters create an active, supportive community of energy efficiency professionals and provide members with a forum to exchange ideas, discuss trends and collaborate on projects.  Chapter members meet on a regular basis and have abundant opportunities to learn, lead and network!


National Conference Planning Committee

LeAndra MacDonald, Nexant – Co-Chair

Amanda Townsend, Oncor – Co-Chair

John Augustino, Honeywell

Brad Gunter, Florida Power & Light

Tim Michel, PG&E

Raegan Bond, PowerStream

Mike LaScola, AEP-Ohio

Trish Walker, Liberty Utilities

Jamie Byron, Fiveworx

Charley Budd, CB&I

Sherry McCormack, SWEPCO

Kurt Hauser, Missouri River Energy

James Linder, Tennessee Valley Authority

Cheryl Bowman, CenterPoint Energy

Bill Clemens, DTE

Matt Gibbs, Evergreen Consulting

Bobby Robertson, CLEAResult

Laura Schauer, Illume

Jeff Pratt, Oglethorp Power

Julia Dalla Rosa, ecobee

Kristin Laursen, Michaels Energy

Megan Campbell, Opinion Dynamics

The National Planning Committee plays a huge role in designing unique conference session formats, suggesting dynamic speakers, industry content, and hot topics at AESP’s National Conference. The role and duty of the AESP National Program Planning Committee is to review the abstracts after they have been reviewed and scored by respective Topic Committees.


AESP Board of Directors

John Augustino, Honeywell

Dave Backen, Evergreen Consulting

Chris Baggett, APS

Raegan Bond, PowerStream

Charmaine Cigliano, Orange & Rockland Utilities

Bob Collins, Independent Electricity System Operator

Sara Conzemius, Illume

Jeff Ihnen, Michaels Energy

Erika Lontoc, Enbridge Gas Distribution

LeAndra MacDonald, Nexant

Danielle Marquis, AM Conservation Group

Sherry McCormack, SWEPCO

Mike Mernick, ICF

Tracy Narel, ENERGY STAR®, U.S. EPA

Tim Michel, PG&E

Vicki Nichols

Bill Norton, Opinion Dynamics

Laura Orfanedes, Fiveworx

Sam Sirkin, Recleim

Michael Li, U.S. DOE

Elizabeth Titus, NEEP

Amanda Townsend, Oncor

Michael Volker, East River Electric Power, Board Chair

Lynn Westerlind, National Grid

Greg Wikler, Navigant


AESP Staff

John Hargrove, President and CEO

Suzanne Jones, Chief Operating Officer

Claudia Huss, Vice President Member Relations

Shannon King, Vice President Finance and Administration

Kim Burtraw, Director Events and Technology

Adeline Lui, Director Marketing and Communications

Quinn Parker, Director Content and Research

Kara Kelly, Events Supervisor

Kyle Krone, Marketing Coordinator

Ashley Scharnitzke, Content Coordinator

April Tourangeau, Administrative Assistant




Tags:  AESP Chair  Board  Chapter  Michael volker  Planning Committee  Staff  Topic Committee 

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How to Navigate an AESP Conference

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 28, 2016

Congratulations!  You’re going to be attending your first AESP conference.  There’s so much to do before you even get to the conference such as register for the event, book your hotel room and make your flight reservations.  But then what do you do once you arrive?  What if you’ve never been to a conference before?  Will everyone know someone there?  How do you meet folks? How can you maximize the value from attending this conference as a new professional?   If only there was a quick outline to follow. Well, guess what?  We have something just for you to read.  


What to do before the Conference:

Review the conference agenda before attending and look for conference sessions that would bring you the most value in attending. Create a schedule for each day of the conference so you will not miss anything. (AESP provides an app for the National Conference and sometimes for the Spring and Summer. When available this can help with creating a schedule.)


Review the exhibitor list and create a list of the exhibitors you want to visit (Learning about the industry not only can come from the conference sessions, but also from visiting and talking with the exhibitors.) NOTE: The exhibitors are there to talk about, and showcase their products for the attendees. So don’t be shy, they want you to stop by their booth.


Review the attendee list prior to conference (try the app – the attendees are listed there and you can even schedule a meeting through it). Look for clients and/or partners that you would like to meet with. If appropriate, send them an email scheduling a time to meet while at the conference.   And don’t forget you will receive a directory of attendees when you check in at the AESP Registration Desk. 



What to do during the Conference:

Attend all of the networking events - this is a great way to meet other people in the industry.


Attend the New Professional Event where you will meet people like yourself that are new to the industry and facing some of the same challenges as you.


Stick to your conference schedule that you created earlier because you don’t want to miss any of the valuable sessions.


What to do after the Conference:

Create a report of the value received while attending the conference (what you learned, who you met with, what business leads were generated, etc.). This will allow you to show your management the value received in hopes to be able to attend the next AESP Conference.


Keep in contact with those you met while at the conference. You never know who might be helpful to you in the future. 


And finally—get involved! There are Local Chapters and Topic Committees, and AESP offers E2E (Experience2Exchange), a mentor/mentee program.  Join the AESP and the New Professionals LinkedIn groups.  Check out our Resource Library.  Learn from our free member Brown Bag webinars.  You can tweet about your experience.  So many things to do, see and learn. 



 Now that you are a conference expert, hope to see you at our next event!


Mark Gentry, Utility Sales Director for Ecova, has over 32 years of experience working with utilities and other energy efficiency programs. This article was contributed as a conference ambassador on behalf of the AESP New Professionals Scholarship. 

Tags:  New Professionals 

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AESP’s 27th National Conference - New Professional Scholarship Application

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 17, 2016

AESP’s 27th National Conference
New Professional Scholarship Application


Are you the next AESP scholarship recipient? Four scholarships are available for AESP’s National Conference in Orlando, Florida, February 13-16, 2017 at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The scholarships INCLUDE registration for the conference, a pre-conference training course of your choice and if you’re not a member, we include a one year membership (total value $2015). PLUS a conference ambassador so you can learn, network, and fully experience AESP’s National Conference. This year’s National Conference is Destination Innovation, so be on the forefront of energy efficiency and submit your application.


Qualifications for the New Professional Scholarship are:

· 1-5 years of Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, and/or Smart Grid experience.

· Must be working full time in any of the following energy-related areas: electric or natural gas utilities, co-ops/munis, regulatory or non-profit entities, public benefit groups, vendors, manufacturers, or consulting firms.

· Have approval for travel to attend the conference. Note: travel and lodging costs are NOT included in this scholarship.

· Scholarship recipients will be required to submit feedback to AESP on what was learned at the conference and how they benefit from it. Recipients are required to attend the New Professionals event on Monday February 13, 2017. It is also encouraged to attend a Topic Committee meeting or Chapter event while at the conference. Recipients may be asked to write an article for AESP, and/or post on social media.

· Disclaimer: Please be aware that by submitting this application, you consent to your photo, video, name, and/or likeness being used, without compensation, in all media, whether now known or here after devised, for eternity, and you release AESP, It’s Successors, Assigns and Licensees from any liability whatsoever of any nature.

If you meet the above qualifications, apply for the scholarship by emailing the following information (please limit responses to 100 words per question), as well as a 50 word biography, to by November 7, 2016.


1. How did you first become interested in the energy industry?

2. In what other industries have you worked prior to the energy industry?

3. What other industry conferences (energy or non-energy) have you attended, and what was your level of participation (i.e. attendee, exhibitor, committee member, etc.)?

4. How do you plan to leverage the National conference to achieve your goals, both personal and professional?

5. Which pre-conference training courses interest you most and why? Please rank them in order of your preference. The courses are:

Build It and They Will Come – Program Planning, Design & Implementation
This hands-on course covers a variety of program implementation and program management topics such as program operational processes, developing Requests for Proposals and contractor selection, using program tracking data and understanding evaluators.  The course includes several modules that begin with a high level overview and transition to group exercises that dive into the details, data and issues that program implementers face every day.    Participants will review and use program operations manuals, program tracking data, and program documentation to solve practical and common problems, and to simulate common program management issues.  Class discussions will draw out useful insights and experiences from participants.  Instructors are experienced in the real world successes and failures of program management at utilities and consulting firms.  This course is designed for the DSM professional with at least 2-3 years of DSM program experience.

Critical Thinking – Enhance your skills for decision making, leadership and communications
This workshop is founded on an understanding that leading business today requires the ability to bridge differing opinions, ask crucial questions, and having the know-how to overcome territorial domains; without it poor decisions almost always result. Indeed, the ability to think logically and comprehensively to evaluate a situation (critical thinking) is vital for optimum decision-making. Key areas of focus include learning, bias, reasoning, questioning, fallacy, the process of critical thinking based on the work of The Foundation for Critical Thinking, and intellectual growth. The workshop is presented in an engaging and fun manner in order for participants to increase their thinking awareness as the first step to sharpening their thinking skills. It is akin to the baseball player asking Why do I have to keep my eye on the ball? I have already done that once. If we are not aware of our thinking, we have no chance of improving it. The overarching goal of this workshop is to provide the motivation for participants to become less self-centered and more fair-minded thinkers.


6. You will be provided a conference ambassador so you can “jump right in.” What type of person do you prefer to be your mentor, any constraints? How do you plan on taking advantage of your mentor’s expertise?


7. I certify that my supervisor will allow travel time to this conference.  His/her name is________________________ and can be reached at_________________________.


 8. Include the following information so we can contact you, if selected.

Phone Number


Company Name

Job Title

Company Address


 9. Are you interested in participating in a live focus group during one of the conference sessions?

 10. BONUS: Have a soft spot for boy bands? Apparently so does Orlando. Both the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync got their start in Orlando. Give us your best energy-saving tips…in the form of boy band lyrics.

Tags:  National Conference  New Professionals  Scholarships 

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National Energy Efficiency Day is October 5

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 28, 2016


National Energy Efficiency Day is October 5

For the first time ever, a group of national and regional energy organizations, as well as a slew of other energy groups and companies (both for-profit and non-profit) have come together in a big way to launch a National Energy Efficiency Day this October 5. It is a collaborative effort from all levels of the industry to promote energy efficiency. AESP is participating too, so watch the hashtags #EEDay2016 and #AESP16 and join in the conversation!



Why AESP is participating in #EEDay2016?

As a professional development association, it is a part of our mission to help the energy efficiency industry progress. AESP is the premier organization for professionals in the energy efficiency industry. 

AESP is joining in the movement and encouraging our members to do the same this October 5 to promote the positive impacts of energy efficiency. 


Moving Energy Efficiency Forward

EEDay 1


How to participate in #EEDay2016!

1. Follow AESP on Twitter - @aespinfo to see our activities on October 5.

2. Follow the #EEDay2016 and #AESP16 hashtags to watch what AESP and others are saying.

3. Join the Conversation - Tweet your own message that promotes energy efficiency to your audience using #EEDay2016, or retweet one of ours! You can download the Energy Efficiency Day Toolkit here and access tons of other resources online.


Tags:  #EEDay2016  Energy Efficiency 

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Recap of 2016 Summer Conference

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 15, 2016
All the stats you need to know about AESP's Summer Conference!

Tags:  Summer 2016 

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Have A Question from Last Week's Co-op Webinar?

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 26, 2016

There was a lot of valuable information shared at AESP’s August 23 Brown Bag webinar on “DIY or Vendor – Co-ops and Energy Efficiency Programs” and attendees had a lot of questions for our speakers that we could not cover in the short time we had. To continue the conversation, our speakers kindly agreed to answer all the questions that were posted, below. AESP wishes to thank our speakers Thomas, Laura, Lisa, Phil, Toben and Alicia.

Thomas Kirk, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

What key elements are included in an RFP? 
Key Elements: Full Description of each is in Volume 2 of our guide

 - Program Summary
 - Scope of Work/Services
 - Proposal Requirements
 - Evaluation and Award Process
       - Selection Criteria
       - Timeline

This will change from co-op to co-op. But a demonstrated ability to work with residential members will be key. Co-ops are very concerned about maintaining the positive member relationship. A contractor would need to show that they will be consumer-centric.

Where does environmental compliance stand in terms of selecting implementation contractors?
In states where this is a requirement and co-ops fall under state regulations it will be important. In other areas, the important factor will be implementing programs that support the co-op's goals of providing services to reduce the total energy expenditures of the end use member. 

Have you found that it is difficult to get contractors to work in extremely rural areas? I've heard that they sometimes say the additional travel and outreach is cost prohibitive.
Yes, we have heard this as well. In low density areas it can be hard to not only find an implementation contractor but it can also be hard to find qualified trade allies. These co-ops tend to use internal staff to perform audits and use direct install or rebate programs. 

How do you ensure that an implementation contractor will represent all your programs, not just the one they are hired to manage?  Is there a customer service requirement that is included in contracts? 
These would need to be covered in the contract. Some co-ops only use the contractor for very specific programs and then use co-op staff for other programs. It will depend on the mix of programs being used by the co-op. 

Is NRECA is interested in developing overseas (such as Brazil)?
Possibly, we have an active international department. Contact me for more details.

Where would I find NRECA resources?
Thomas Kirk:


Laura Matney, Wabash Valley Power Association

Has Wabash pursued Ductless Heat Pumps in either residential or commercial settings?
We’ve had lots of requests and some fair amount of confusion about ductless heat pumps this year, so we’re evaluating them for inclusion in our residential program for 2017.   Recommendations are due from our program design consultant in September. For commercial use, we do pay rebates on these items under our C&I Custom program.

How many G&Ts are there?  How many run EE programs for their member co-ops?
There are 65 G&Ts in the USA

The number of G&Ts who run EE programs can be a moving target, and not all run them for their member co-ops. Some co-ops offer EE without the support of their G&T.  And some co-ops do not belong to a G&T.

According to the following website, 41 G&Ts offer EE programs:

Are your Wabash LED/CFL programs direct install or retail/customer rebates?
They are retail/customer rebates.  

Is the implementation contractor allowed to reach out directly to end use customers in your service territory or is it only projects that you/your co-ops bring to them?
Projects come into the program through the co-ops and through trade allies (lighting contractors, HVAC contractors, etc.) The IC regularly reaches out to TAs to build and maintain relationships to foster projects. The IC does not currently perform outreach directly to retail members.  

Did Wabash conduct an RFP to select the vendor?
We issued an RFP to select a vendor for our BNC (Business New Construction) program.   Franklin turned out to be the winner.

We did not issue RFPs for our other programs.

Can you talk about the process you use to determine whether you should offer a program to your members? For example, how do you determine and value the non-energy benefits that the programs create? Do those non-energy benefits factor in to the overall cost/benefit analysis? 
A very simple question to a very complicated question is that we work with our power supply group and program design consultant to determine the value of measures.   We use the TRC test as our primary guide, however we do run other tests as well. Sometimes we’ll offer a measure with a TRC of less than 1 if the entire portfolio of programs will perform with a TRC of over 1.

Valuing non-energy benefits is a very difficult process and there is much deliberation in the industry about this.   The main NEB WVPA looks at is “Member Satisfaction”.   In order to gauge this we ask satisfaction questions during our EM&V process.   

Currently NEBs do not factor into our overall cost/benefit analysis

What value does WV add to the equation, if the IC provides all program services?
The IC does not provide all program services. 

  • WV maintains oversight of the programs,
  • Resolves disputed rebates
  • Approves/disapproves over-incentive cap request
  • Sets the goals and budget for the programs
  • Provides direction to the IC (for example: in 2017, one of our goals is to increase the amount of non-lighting projects in our custom program.)
  • Maintains authority to hire/fire the IC

The IC is charged with the day-to-day processing of the program, but WV sets the program parameters, budgets, goals and makes sure the IC is doing its job.

WV also pays for all of the programs, including the cost of the IC and the incentives paid.

What's the LED Dusk to Dawn program?
At the request of our co-ops, WV started this program to pay incentives to our co-ops who own dusk to dawn lights that are leased to their members.   WV will pay $75 per fixture if the co-op is a) replacing a non-LED fixture with an LED fixture; or b) putting in a new LED fixture where none existing before.   All LED fixtures must appear on the DLC (Design Lights Consortium) approved list.  This rebate is only paid to WV co-ops; it is not paid to retail members.

How much assistance have you had to provide to get your IC a foot in the door with commercial customers? Do your co-ops do the initial introduction and then step out?
The co-op is always the lead for the IC. It’s actually preferred by WV and the IC that a co-op rep always attend meetings with a C&I member. If the co-op allows, the IC can go to a meeting without them, but it’s not the preference. The IC is there to be a technical expect; not to take the place of the co-op as a key account representative.

If the IC receives a request directly from a co-op C&I account for a meeting or assistance, the IC will always loop in the co-op.

If the IC receives a project lead from a trade ally, the standard operating procedure is that the IC ask the co-op’s preference on contacting the C&I account.

Some co-ops allow it; others will not.


Phil Zimmer, Delta Montrose Electric Association

What efficiency programs would you suggest NOT sending out to an implementation contractor?
I don’t know that there are any programs that I wouldn’t contract out.  Every program and situation has different requirements and goals.  As long as the contractor can fulfill the goals and requirements, I wouldn’t hesitate to use them. 

How does your 100% financing work through the CO-Z program?
The “old” CO-Z financing was a second mortgage of sorts, with up to 30 year terms.

The “new” CO-Z Loop Tariff is a program where the loop for the Geothermal system is owned by DMEA.  We then “rent” the loop back to the owner of the house/electric service at a very attractive rate.  DMEA saves money in demand charges on GX heated homes, so it’s a “win-win” scenario for both the cooperative and our members.

Have you been able to cross-promote energy efficiency with your “Fiber to the Home” efforts?
Yes. The “Fiber to the Home” is a new venture, so it’s just now getting ramped up.  It does allow us to “cross-promote” programs, as we already have the attention of the member.

Any plans for following up the Great CFL with a Great LED giveaway? Do you find you have adequate retail support of LEDs for homeowners?
We now offer 50% rebates to our member for the purchase of LED bulbs.  We do give away LEDs at trade shows, annual meetings, energy audits and the likes.  The “math” does not support a system wide giveaway like the CFL program, as the energy savings isn’t near as large going from CFLs to LEDs as it was going from incandescent bulbs to CFLs.  We have provided rebates for over 14,000 LED bulbs over the last 1.5 years, so it appears that members are readily adopting this technology.

Does “location” play a part in not using contractors as much? (i.e., lack of contractors in rural areas)
Yes!  We often find it difficult to find contractors for programs requiring work at member homes/businesses here in rural Colorado.  Travel costs are sometimes prohibitive.  However, programs involving data mining, marketing, etc. can readily be sent to contractors via the web.

Can you elaborate on your recent experience with Elevate and the Pivot Group? (Lessons learned)
This has been a very positive partnership.  The Pivot Group has valuable experience marketing and training in the communications field.  Their expertise has proven to be very valuable and time saving.  Our entire workforce has sat in on trainings regarding Elevate Fiber, so that we may all be knowledgeable and helpful to our member-owners.

They also communicate with us readily and frequently.  This aids in handling issues and opportunities quickly.


Alicia Rigler, Sharyland Utilities 

Do you have any strategies to help increase participation in rural service territories?
On the commercial side, we’re pursuing two strategies. First, because a lot of our customers are in the oil and gas and agricultural industries, we have the Customized Commercial Market Transformation Program through which our program administrator provides one-on-one guidance to customers regarding the measures that will be most beneficial for them. Second, we’ve initiated the Open for Small/Medium Business Market Transformation Program to make it easier for contractors to provide on-site audits for customers and provide real-time savings estimates. With these programs we’re hoping to lower the barriers to entry for both customers and service providers.

Has Sharyland had any success in duplicating programs offered by larger IOUs in Texas?
All of our standard offer programs were designed to mirror programs provided by other IOUs in Texas, and on the residential side we’ve had a lot of success.  On the commercial side, we’ve just initiated the Open for Small/Medium Business program, which has also been offered by other IOUs in Texas.  The goal is to increase service provider participation and we now have three service providers signed up to participate so we’re hopeful the program will be a success.

Do you think Sharyland will ever consider administering its programs in-house?
I think with the administrative cost caps that we have in Texas, it would be pretty difficult for us to administer programs in-house and maintain the diversity of programs that we have.  If we ever do decide to bring programs in-house, I think we would start with one program to test the waters.

What, if any, disadvantages do you think there are to only having third-party administration of your programs?
I think the biggest disadvantage is that our employees in our service divisions aren’t as familiar with the programs as they might be if we ran them.  If we did have more of a program management presence in the divisions, I think our participation levels might benefit because our employees are members of the community with families and friends that are also our customers.


Toben Galvin, Navigant

What is the difference between a process evaluation and impact evaluation? Is one better for cooperatives?
An Impact Evaluation quantifies and verifies energy and demand savings results, and determines the cost effectiveness of programs. Impact Evaluations findings can be used to verify savings claims of implementation contractors, to ensure they are meeting contractual targets, and to prioritize program resources to align with priorities and goals. Process Evaluations assess customer satisfaction and identify improvements in implementation processes to improve program delivery efficiency and/or improve participation rates. Where Impact Evaluations primarily focus on the technical and engineering analysis of savings claims, Process Evaluations study the motivations behind customer actions and customer experiences with program processes. Impact and Process Evaluations provide different types of feedback, and both will provide value to cooperatives. Process and Impact evaluations don’t need to be completed concurrently (unless required by regulations), but when conducted simultaneously they provide the clearest picture of a program’s effectiveness.  

Can you share some best practices on how to work with an implementation and evaluation contractor?
Evaluation: The evaluation contractor should be a trusted advisor that can advise on the full program design and evaluation cycle.  Spend time vetting an evaluation contractor that has the experience in the cooperative environment, and a wide range of capabilities outside of evaluation including program design.

  • Articulate your goals for the efficiency programs; request the contractor tailor the evaluation to the goals of an individual cooperative, and reasons for offering the program.
  • Design and Evaluation contractors should advise on continuous program improvement opportunities, and when a major redesign may be warranted.
  • Structure the contract into major initiatives (Impact Evaluation, Process Evaluation, Utility/Technical support, Implementation Contractor support, Program Design, and Ad Hoc assistance).
  • Include Co-op member utilities in the evaluation process. Make sure the member utility’s concerns are met, especially regarding relationships with key customers.
  • Design and Evaluation contractors support cooperatives with the Implementation Contractor selection process (developing RFPs, soliciting proposals, facilitating selection, etc.).

Implementation: The implementation contractor is an important advisor; providing feedback on program design and representing cooperatives to their members. Their contracts can be substantial, cooperatives should carefully choose one that can meet their specific goals. Cooperatives should ensure implementation contractors are held accountable to Key Performance Indicators.

  • Incorporate program goals into Key Performance Indicators.  Consider bonuses for hitting KPIs.
  • Insist on a robust tracking system.
  • Make sure relationships with co-op member utilities and their customers are respected and prioritized.
  • Meet weekly with them to go over major projects and any concerns.
  • Implementation Contractors should have an outreach arm to engage with trade allies.

If you enjoyed this Brown Bag Webinar, please join us for a deeper dive into co-op energy efficiency at our Online Conference November 15.

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Call for Abstracts AESP Online Conference on Electric Co-ops and Energy Efficiency

Posted By Kyle Krone, Friday, August 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Call for Abstracts

AESP Online Conference
Doing It Differently -- Electric Co-ops and Energy Efficiency
November 15, 2016


AESP is looking for speakers for an upcoming Online Conference in November, who can share knowledge on program design and implementation, marketing, customer engagement, evaluation and data management that is relevant to Distribution and Generation & Transmission cooperatives. 

Topics related to the following:

  • Innovative program design specifically related to small businesses, small data centers, energy audits and agriculture (indoor and outdoor)
  • G&T and co-op incentives – lessons learned in collaborative program design
  • Co-ops and regulation
  • Energy Management and Smart Devices
  • Customer engagement and marketing
  • Program evaluation including cost-benefit analysis
  • Use of 3rd party implementers
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Engaging rural customers
  • Mobile technology and tools
  • Data management and analysis
  • Case Studies: implementation and best practices
  • Other topics related to cooperative implementation of energy efficiency and demand response programs  

If you are chosen to present, you will need a webcam and PowerPoint presentation for your session which will be videotaped about two months prior.  Each speaker has 15-20 minutes to deliver his/her presentation and on November 15 your prerecorded presentation will be delivered. You will be required to call in on November 15 for Q&A.

Submitting the Abstract

Email the following information in a Word document to by 5 pm, Monday, August 31:

  • Proposed Session Title:
  • Session Description (about 150 words):
  • Value to attendees:
  • Three key takeaways:
  • Presenter Name:
  • Title:
  • Company:
  • Address:
  • Phone:
  • Cell Phone:
  • Email:


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