<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1941600816167938&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

BLOG

New Strategies for Supporting Supermarkets in Demand Response Participation

When you walk into a supermarket, it’s never silent. There are usually squeaking carts being pushed, children asking their parents for candy, and cashiers making small talk with the shoppers. However, even if you were to be the only person standing in the store, it still wouldn’t be quiet. You would be able to hear the buzz of the lights overhead and the humming given off by the vast amount of appliances used to keep food fresh. With aisle after aisle of electricity-hogging refrigerators and freezers, supermarkets seem like they would be demand-response program superstars. And yet, few grocers participate in utilities’ demand-response initiatives.

Leave No City Behind

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?

Sizing Up Small Business

How big is a small business? The short answer: it varies. The change can be quite dramatic from program to program; in fact, we saw the size limit vary from 60 kW to 400 kW in a recent review of ten electric programs.

Determining small business size can be difficult, and that doesn’t even take the issue of gas programs into account. They can have sizes anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 therms per month. What does all this uncertainty mean? Can you tell a 100kW commercial business by looking at it? Probably not.

Lights Out on the T12: How to Make the Switch

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.  

7 Tips for Overcoming Participation Barriers in Small Business Energy Efficiency Programs

For most gas and utility companies, small businesses make up the vast majority of accounts within the commercial and industrial customer base. It makes sense, then, to target energy efficiency programs to your retail, grocery, restaurant, office and other smaller, nonresidential customers.

But as the new ACEEE report “Big Opportunities for Small Business: Successful Practices of Utility Small Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs” points out, that can be easier said than done.

THE FOREFRONT OF INNOVATION

Want to stay abreast of regulatory updates, inspiring innovations and thought leadership related to grid optimization? Welcome to our blog, where Franklin Energy’s experts come to delve into everything you need to know to stay at the top of your game in our ever-changing environment.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts