PORT WASHINGTON, Wis., Feb. 26, 2019 -- Franklin Energy (Franklin), a leading provider of energy efficiency and grid optimization solutions, announced today that the small business and agriculture programs it developed for Michigan energy provider Consumers Energy have been recognized in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy's (ACEEE) Fourth National Review of Exemplary Energy Efficiency Programs.
The proven results of the Consumers Energy Small Business Energy Efficiency Program in a hard-to-reach market provide a replicable model for increasing participation and customer satisfaction among small businesses and nonprofits. Between 2015 and 2017, the program nearly tripled the number of enrolled customers — from 7,179 to 20,018 — and was rated highly in customer satisfaction — 9.1 out of 10 — by third party evaluator EMI Consulting.
"Successful utility programs are built by closing communication gaps and establishing rapport with customers through highly personalized engagement," said Paul Schueller, founder and CEO of Franklin Energy. "The programs we've created with DNV-GL and implemented with Consumers Energy ensure that no energy user is overlooked, setting a new standard for customer communications and saving millions of dollars in the process. We are grateful to work with a client like Consumers Energy that is willing to try new ideas and provide an opportunity for innovative program designs to grow and thrive."
The program found that free walkthrough energy assessments and direct installations for smart thermostats and other energy-efficient measures were effective ways to establish initial connections with small-business customers and increase education opportunities. Customers also receive upgrade incentives for LED lighting, refrigeration, water heaters and more. These installations have produced nonenergy benefits for customers like improved workplace comfort, employee productivity and aesthetics.
The Consumers Energy Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program offers prescriptive rebates for USDA Tier 2 audits and 43 technology measures to meet the unique needs of highly differentiated agricultural sectors. Since its establishment in 2011, the program has helped commercial and residential agricultural customers complete 969 energy efficiency projects, earning $4.7 million in incentives and saving them $3.7 million in electricity and natural gas costs.
Customers participating in the agriculture program include dairy farms, greenhouses, cash-crop operations, orchards, fruit storages and grain-drying facilities. Program energy advisors meet in-person with these customers to conduct walk-through facility assessments and offer assistance with rebate application paperwork. The program also works with Michigan State University on its audit rebates, which overcomes perceived trust barriers by validating program credibility with the customer. Working with trade allies and other agricultural industry leaders helps the program reach more customers.
About Franklin Energy
Franklin Energy delivers flexible energy efficiency and grid optimization programs that enable utilities to achieve their highest-priority goals. The company's integrated in-house services and proven software provide deeper personalization and insights, acting as a true partner to utilities. Franklin's NGAGE platform is a scalable end-to-end technology that seamlessly integrates utility portfolio programs into a single interface for more efficient management and more effective customer engagement. The company is celebrating its 25th year serving the utility industry, with solutions implemented by more than 1,000 experts in 58 offices across 26 states and provinces.
About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.