Sometimes, smart energy management is best left to the experts. At many commercial or industrial businesses, the position of “Energy Manager” doesn’t exist – but that doesn’t mean the company wouldn’t benefit from the expertise of an outside energy consultant.
Energy consultants benefit your business in a variety of ways, and hiring one may be one of the best energy partnerships your company makes. Below are a few reasons why retaining an energy consultant for your business is a smart choice:
Most energy consultants come from engineering backgrounds and also have experience in management, allowing them to excel at industrial or commercial energy management in both the boiler room and the boardroom. Before you hire an energy consultant, make sure he or she has this balance of strong education and real-world management experience.
Reputable energy consultants are also certified or licensed by the Public Service Commission or Public Utilities Commission in each state – ensuring they have the necessary managerial, financial and technical skills to make wise decisions for your business. Also check to see if your potential energy consultant is a member of industry groups (such as the Association of Energy Engineers) or if he or she participates in federal programs such as Energy Star.
A competent energy consultant is also responsible for getting your business the best pricing and planning options for your energy needs, whether that be a provider comparison or more exotic deals such as locked-in prices or plans with mitigated energy risks.
Especially in deregulated markets, your newly retained energy consultant should start his or her work by looking into lower-cost contracts with other energy providers. Even in regulated markets, an expert consultant should still be able to procure better terms and conditions on your energy contract. Once it comes down to bids from different energy suppliers, your energy consultant should be able to develop and administer the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to ensure your business receives the best deal.
Retaining an energy consultant also allows you to engage with a professional without the cost of putting him or her on your payroll full-time. There is no need for extra training and he or she is still monitoring the energy market prices on a full-time basis (even when not working directly for you). In addition, you aren’t giving an internal team member part-time responsibility in an area where they lack expertise.
Once your energy consultant has helped you take advantage of supply opportunities, he or she should also start to monitor and audit your energy costs and consumption. Effective commercial or industrial energy management requires consistent supervision of your energy data and utility bills, and your energy consultant should be able to identify billing issues or errors and fix them so that your company doesn’t pay a dime more than needed.
A professional energy consultant also helps you reduce energy costs and consumption by working with the large commercial or industrial systems at your facility, helping you with everything from lighting solutions, compressed air, HVAC systems, steam, electrical systems and building insulation. After identifying these potential energy savings, your energy consultant should help you analyze and understand upfront capital investments, maintenance costs, tax implications and long-term energy savings.
The most difficult part of energy risk management for any in-house personnel is the fact that the energy industry is broad, complex and constantly on the move. An energy consultant should have a strong understanding of fluid market conditions and should keep your business abreast with new technology, regulations, tax code changes and industry opportunities.
Have more questions about hiring an energy consultant? Need help selecting the right energy consultant for your business? Click below to contact SJE and get your questions answered today.
If you are a consultant looking for reliable service and dedicated resources for account pricing, contact our inside sales dept.