Build a Better Relationship with Your Electric Utility
How would you like reduced energy costs and improved electric supply reliability for your business? Building and maintaining a relationship with the local electric utility can help customers reach these goals. Having spent half of my 40+ year career as an industrial/commercial electric utility customer and the other half as an electric utility Account Manager, I've developed a few electric utility relationship tips:
- Identify a single point of contact with the utility. For large Commercial, Government and Industrial customer, this may be a Key Accounts Manager. For smaller business customers, this may be a Business Service Center.
- Assign a staff member to be the customer's single point of contact with the utility.
- Communicate frequently with the utility.
- Invite the utility to visit your business for a tour. Ask the utility to speak to your staff about energy efficiency, reliability, rate schedules, rebates, etc. Let the utility know the importance of reducing energy costs and how an outage impacts the business.
- Visit the utility at their business office, district office and operations center.
- Work with the utility to better understand how the electric service gets to your business. Understand the external and internal electric grid.
- Understand your electric energy rates and how energy is used.
- Set reliability expectations with the utility. When there is an outage, ask for a follow-up report on the cause and what preventative action is being taken.
- Develop other utility relationships in the Operations, Reliability, Energy Efficiency and Executive groups.
- Give more than you receive. For the relationship to work, it must be mutually beneficial. Find ways to help the utility.
- Be proactive. Take responsibility for maintaining the relationship.