Aug. 19, 2014
12 p.m. CDT
One area where municipal utilities, electric co-ops and rural community organizers have an edge over their big-city neighbors is in reaching small business owners to help boost individual energy savings and local economic development.
Even in a middle-sized city, it is not too hard to know dozens of your utility’s small business customers. You see them at civic clubs, at church, at your kids’ ball games—or when you visit as a customer for retail or service help.
What a different experience from New York’s ConEd. Just a few years ago, the utility admitted to signing up only a few hundred small business customers for energy savings programs from the 250,000 it serves.
So, bask in your small-town communication skills! Imagine how many small businesses you could reach and what a high percentage that is of your total community. But don’t bask for too long. There is a difference between reaching customers and achieving program success. That is subject of Clean Energy Ambassadors’ (CEA) Aug. 19 Lunchtime Webinar, Lessons Learned about Small Business Energy Savings.
The theme is “Lessons Learned” because there’s no better wisdom than that gained in the field. Moderator Jill Cliburn will be joined by Joni Livingston, Energy Services manager for Missouri River Energy Services (MRES). The public power joint action agency serves much of CEA territory. Her MRES Bright Energy Solutions program has done a great job of reaching small to medium-sized commercial customers through a variety of channels, including working with local Chambers of Commerce. The program includes seasonal marketing campaigns, including one that is just right for the upcoming fall season.
Participants who don’t come from an MRES community will find Joni’s remarks helpful in customizing their approach for small business customers. Of course, if you are in an MRES community, this could be a timely reminder to tap into the resources that the joint action agency offers.
Cliburn’s presentation will focus on technical tips and advice about customizing the right approach for your community, drawn from Energy Matters for Small Business. The updated guide, authored by Cliburn and published by American Public Power Association (APPA), has been one of APPA’s top selling resources since it was first released six years ago. Utilities buy it in bulk to share with their small business customers during energy audits or at meetings with Chambers of Commerce and civic clubs. It is also a “must-have” resource for all utility staff, as everyone from front desk representatives to the linemen should have a reference to answer the questions they face as they mingle with small business people in the community.
Cliburn will highlight five items to answer the question, “What’s changed on the small business energy scene since 2009?” These include changes in the advice you need to give small business energy customers about lighting, controls, and window systems. You’ll also learn more interactive, convenient, and fun ways to turn engagement into action. By the time this lunchtime seminar is done, you should be ready to start a low cost fall campaign that meets both utility and small business goals.
Register today for Lessons Learned about Small Business Energy Savings. There is no cost to participate in the monthly Lunchtime Webinar series. Clean Energy Ambassadors presents the webinars to highlight issues that affect consumer-owned power providers serving rural areas and small towns in the Great Plains and the West. Discussions are lively and informal opportunities to share ideas with peers. If you have any questions, please contact CEA at 406-969-1040. Source: Clean Energy Ambassadors, 7/30/14