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Joe Plummer

At Franklin Energy’s office in St. Paul, Minn., Joe Plummer provides technical analysis and consulting services for a variety of utility and government clients. As an energy engineer, his duties include custom rebate analysis, energy audits, TRM development and applied research and development studies. He has continued to expand his knowledge by earning a Certified Energy Manager title and master’s degrees in both environmental policy and electrical engineering. Before joining us, he was a senior regulatory and technical analyst in energy with the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Recent Posts

Leave No City Behind

December 04, 2017 Joe Plummer

Through an acquisition, Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, a rural electric cooperative headquartered in Albert Lea, Minn., tripled in size overnight. Jumping from 6,000 members to 20,000, this growth was a blessing in terms of economic growth. On the flip side, the utility’s mandated spending and energy saving requirements from the state of Minnesota suddenly tripled, putting pressure on the utility to up its energy efficiency game in a big way.

The co-op wisely considered that the end game wasn’t just energy efficiency – it was also customer relations. A lot of the new members probably weren’t even aware that their electricity provider had changed – and they certainly weren’t aware of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services’ energy efficiency offerings.

But what was the best way to reach all these new customers?  Both mass and direct marketing have their limitations when it comes to reaching such a large market with so many individual businesses. Instead, a small business blitz approach was used. 

What exactly is this tactic, and why was it so effective?

Lights Out on the T12: How to Make the Switch

September 06, 2017 Joe Plummer

If we were a diner, T12s would be 86’d off the menu. But in our industry, it’s not as quick as a chalkboard erase or menu reprint. Our program teams need to get out there – they need to provide education and outreach to serve up savings and bring better efficiency to the table, business by business. The U.S. federal government has regulations putting an end to T12 fluorescent lighting – but they only apply to the import or manufacture of it.  

Regulation isn’t a stop button. There are many businesses across counties and cities operating without that knowledge or understanding of how much lighting efficiency can help them. It’s not something top of mind when you’re managing staff, budgets, local regulation, tax compliance, and services or products. Even more, T12s have been around since the 1930s; so, while they are outdated, they’re what many individuals are accustomed to using.  

But it’s a cost for companies not to make the switch. A typical 4-foot T12 lightbulb is 40W and will cost an average of $15 per year to operate. This could be replaced with a 15W LED tube, which would cost only $5.60 per year to operate and last 2.5 times longer. The actual cost to a business depends on the number of T12s they have and how many hours they use them, of course – but the bottom line is more Watts equals more dollars.