When most of us think about energy efficiency solutions, we generally think in terms of technologies. We have it quite literally down to a formula. We default to replacing older, inefficient equipment with smarter, more efficient technologies – or installing controls that conserve energy when we don’t need it. And it works. For residential and small business customers, it’s the effective go-to solution for energy efficiency program design.
However, for large commercial building owners or manufacturers (often coined as Commercial and Industrial or C&I customers), there’s another factor that comes into play. Power.
Power is the rate in which we use energy. Think of it like this: You’re driving a certain distance (which would be the total energy used), yet you will arrive at different times depending on your speed (that would be the rate at which you’re consuming energy), aka, the power you use.
But why does power cost customers? The short answer is because it costs utilities – due to the resources needed to support such a high demand. This is significant for C&I customers – because while energy (kWh) costs remain relatively stable, thanks to energy efficiency programs and improved public awareness, the cost of power (kW) continues to rise on customers’ bills because of market demand and regulatory changes.
The fact of the matter is, power represents a substantial portion of C&I customers’ energy bills. Just how much? According to USDA, it accounts for 30-70 percent of commercial customers’ electric costs (USDA, 2016) – a significant opportunity for savings, whether they’re on the low or high end of that spectrum.
The success of On Demand Savings programs depends on the ability to shift customers' attention from managing energy consumption to managing power. This requires education, motivation, the right program plan and the right tools – including industry expert consultations and a real-time energy dashboard that alerts customers when their power demand is on the rise.
Is your interest “peaked?” Download our On Demand Savings program whitepaper to see how utilities are helping customers save on demand charges – including the real-world challenges and solutions of pilot program success stories.
Kate Servais, Program Manager
Kate Servais goes above and beyond to find solutions that work. Her primary focus is finding the best way to help utility customers save energy. She does this by working directly with customers, contractors and utility decision makers to design and execute demand reduction programs. Kate’s extensive experience with engineering solutions gives her the upper hand when pursuing energy innovation. Kate holds a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering with a specialization in sustainable design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.