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Top-Down Engagement: How Utilities Can Better Engage Hard to Reach C&I Customers

Abstract

Encouraging small business customers to participate in energy efficiency programs can be difficult due to their distributed nature within utility service territories. The top-down engagement model is an innovative and effective method to engage small businesses in a way that addresses barriers unique to their business model, capitalizes on the inherent marketing efficiencies associated with a brand or community network, and utilizes a scalable approach to common energy measures. Eversource has used this strategy to engage with both franchises and independent small businesses with marked success. In the case of franchises, Eversource engages with corporate franchisors creating brand-specific comprehensive energy efficiency incentive offers which are then promoted to franchisees. For independent small businesses, municipal officials are approached and are leveraged as known and trusted authorities to create a targeted messaging campaign to presoak their main streets constituents with the benefits of the energy efficiency programs, garnering greater participation. In either case, engaging with high-visibility brands or getting buy-in from municipalities increases awareness of energy efficiency programs within the communities where these businesses reside, setting participants apart from their competitors, and in turn raising the bar for how low-margin businesses can increase their competitiveness. Eversource’s work with Dunkin Brands and the Chelsea Main Streets initiative will serve as case studies for this strategy.

Presented By

Noel Chambers C.E.M., C.M.V.P., C.D.S.M.
Consultant, Energy Efficiency
Eversource Energy

Noel Chambers is an energy efficiency consultant for Eversource Energy. In this role, he is responsible for the design, development, and implementation of strategic initiatives which can be leveraged to help meet the ever increasing statewide energy efficiency goals. Some of the initiatives that he currently manages are Franchise Business Customer Engagement and Onsite Operator Training. He is also responsible for coordinating the Building Operator Certification trainings on behalf of Eversource.

Prior to his role at Eversource, he was a senior engineer at RISE Engineering where he performed commercial and industrial energy audits supporting National Grid’s natural gas efficiency program. As part of this role he also worked closely with the Rhode Island Housing Authority to audit, propose, and implement efficiency upgrades for public housing authorities throughout Rhode Island under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Noel is an active member of the North East Chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers and The Northeast Chapter of the Association of Energy Service Professionals. He has been certified by the Department of Energy as a Qualified Steam System Specialist, and by the Associate of Energy Engineers as: Certified Energy Manager; Certified Demand Side Manager; and Certified Measurement and Verification Professional.

Noel earned his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.