By Vince Bradley, Founder, President & CEO, World Telecom Group
One kilowatt hour of electricity is no different than another kilowatt hour of electricity, so while selling competitive electric supply (kWh) reduces a customer's bottom line, nothing will do so more than Demand Side Management.
These projects audit variances in energy use (kWh) and reveal whether a customer is a good candidate for energy efficiency measures (i.e. retrofits, demand response, and on-site generation). DSM projects save money on the electric bill through load reduction and controlling peak power spikes(kW), which can account for 50 percent of a customer's blended energy rate.
Approaching a customer with energy-efficiency projects like retrofitting outdated lighting instruments and HVAC systems and installing on-site generation capabilities (i.e. solar panels) can reduce their monthly energy bill by up to 16-20 percent. This means less electricity needed to perform operations and reduced dependency on the electric supplier. This is the value to the customer.
However, the prime question that remains is what does this mean for you as a channel partner? The first way DSM projects benefit the partner selling, is that they further strengthen the bond with the customer. There is no better way to be the hero than by not only lowering a customer's electricity rate, but essentially reducing their total energy consumption on a month-by-month basis. Secondly, many DSM projects can have sizable price tags associated with them. However, many customers may not be aware that their are generous federal and state tax credits that can many times reduce the cost of implementation by up to 50 percent. The customer gets a large reduction in the price and you, the partner, collect a commission equivalent to 3 percent of the total cost of the project. Many of these projects carry six-figure price tags, so if you are not broaching this opportunity with your client base you may be leaving money on the table.
Last but certainly not least: Since electricity is only available in 30 percent of U.S. states, you can get into the energy business today via DSM since it is available nationwide (ex- retrofitting)! So much for barriers to entry in the energy business as this has been the No. 1 objection that we have heard over the years.
Vince Bradley is CEO of Commerce Consulting Corp. dba World Telecom Group (WTG) , one of the largest telecom master agencies. Bradley is on the board of directors for Technology Channel Association (TCA), the only nonprofit association in the Agent Channel. He also is a member of the 2009-10 PHONE+/Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board .