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Engaging Small and Micro Businesses in Energy Efficiency Programs

Chaitanya Srinivaspura's picture
Sr. Manager - Utilities Vertical Brillio

Expertise in Defining Problem Statement and crafting Digital Solutions addressing key pain areas of Utility clients. Passionate about crafting persuasive solutions with underlying Digital...

  • Member since 2016
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  • Jul 2, 2016
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Engaging Small and Micro Businesses in Energy Efficiency Programs

Small / Micro Business are Ignored

Energy efficiency as a concept seems to have had success for both retail and C&I customers, but Small and micro businesses customers remain a formidable segment to reach for many Utilities.

In fact, Utilities have specific programs to promote  participation for the retail customers, and dedicated energy mangers in the case of C&I customers. However micro businesses seem to be ignored.

Case for Promoting Programs to Small Micro Businesses Segment

  • Segment accounts for significant portion of utility’s sales
  • Small and micro businesses account for close to 30% of total US electricity consumption
  • Just saving commercial lighting can realize significant energy savings
  • Hence within the commercial sector, “small/micro” and “medium” sized customers make up a strategic target for efficiency programs given the significant energy-use from this segment.

Why is it difficult to engage Micro Businesses?

Cost effectiveness relative to other commercial and industrial programs in the portfolio

  • Studies has shown that energy efficiency programs for micro businesses tend to deliver energy savings at significantly higher first-year costs per kWh saved as compared to programs in the C&I segment.

Some researchers have shown that micro business customers tend to participate at lower levels in efficiency programs unless the program proactively reaches out to this segment and addresses some common barriers that include

  • Information or awareness of the opportunity to benefit from savings
  • Capital to make the investment
  • Availability of time and resources

What is needed to engage Micro Businesses?

  • An energy management solution that is easy to install
  • Solution/technology that is affordable and not capital intensive
  • Should be easy to operate and understand
  • Technology has to be engaging and agnostic
  • Provide enough information and details on savings
  • Results should be shown on a daily or hourly basis to encourage participation
  • Last but not the least create awareness that Micro businesses can cut their electricity bills significantly by participating in such programs

Technology and Utility companies need to work in tandem to design programs and technology solutions leveraging the latest technology and tap in to this segment that can easily contribute in to significant energy savings.

Chaitanya Srinivaspura's picture
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