Have You Revisited Your Energy Strategy Lately?

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For most business leaders, evaluating inventory, employees and customer feedback is a normal part of keeping the organization running smoothly. In the same way, it’s critical to regularly evaluate your energy needs – from procurement to consumption.

The problem?

Many businesses don’t do it. Or at least they don’t do it often enough. Many organizations only revisit their energy strategy when it’s time to sign a new contract

But as your business expands, restructures, adopts new technology and responds to customer needs over time, your energy needs probably change, too. 

Depending on the amount of energy you buy and the complexity of your procurement and efficiency tactics, you may need to review it multiple times per year. Many large organizations monitor energy purchases and consumption on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis. Others hedge purchases monthly, and stay on top of seasonal trends. Smaller businesses tend to lock-in for longer terms, and revisit their strategy infrequently.

And let’s be honest, for many business owners, there isn’t much time to give it more attention. 

That’s why we’ve put together a simple checklist.

Here's what you should ask yourself when you review your energy strategy:

1. Are we meeting our energy goals?

Energy buying starts with setting a goal. What are your organization’s concerns, objectives and priorities? 

Some organizations seek price stability in order to manage the budget. Others aim to beat the budget and create year-over-year savings. For certain businesses, it’s all about increasing the proportional of renewable energy sources in their portfolio.

Whatever your goal, make sure to check-in on your progress toward it. If your current strategy isn’t moving the needle, it may be time for a change. 

2. Are we using significantly more or less energy?

Check in on how much energy you’re actually using. If your load has significantly increased or decreased, you may be eligible for new pricing structures or benefits.

If you don’t have your own equipment to monitor consumption in real time, you can probably get some help from your energy supplier. For example, Direct Energy Business customers can see their usage online anytime using MyAccount. You can also install sensors that give you a real-time data about the energy your organization consumes.

3. Have we moved or opened a new location?

With a new space comes new energy challenges and opportunities. 

Older buildings tend to be less energy efficient, but there are ways you can retrofit the space for maximum efficiencies. Newer buildings may offer benefits such as digitized heating and cooling or even renewable energy generation, which can vastly change your energy strategy.

4. Have we installed new equipment?

If you've installed new equipment to simply replace older, inefficient equipment, you can probably expect your energy bill to fall. In fact, updating to newer, more efficient models is a very effective way to reduce waste in your business.

However, if the equipment is new to your organization entirely, you might see your bill go up due to increased energy usage. 

5. Have our hours of operation changed?

If you’re buying energy on a variable or index rate, the amount you pay may be affected by your hourly consumption profile.

Electricity and gas are usually the most expensive during the peak hours of weekdays, when homes and businesses are collectively using the largest load. If your operating hours have changed, you may find that your energy costs shift, too. For example, manufacturing facilities that are able to operate on weekends or during the night can expect to save quite a bit month-over-month on their energy bill. Adding more hours – especially on weekdays during the daytime – is likely to cause your bill to increase.

6. How are we doing with energy efficiency?

Are you controlling unused space? Is there space throughout your facility that isn't being used on a regular basis? Knowing how to control energy flow to that space--keeping lights turned off; decreasing the temperature control in that area--is critical to saving energy throughout your company. 

Are you choosing energy-efficient equipment? From office buildings packed full of computers to industrial facilities filled with equipment, choosing the right equipment for your office can make a big difference in your total energy picture. 

Do you know how to detect and reduce energy vampires? Many devices and appliances continue to draw a small amount of energy while plugged in, even if they're not being used. By unplugging energy vampires, or using smart power strips, you can help reduce your energy usage considerably.  

7. Am I still getting the best deal?

When you signed on with your energy supplier, they may have been positioned to provide something that other energy providers couldn’t: a great rate, consistent service, or superior market insight, for example. 

You may find that the stellar customer service you need from your energy provider has declined over the lifetime of your contract, or that a particular service provider is no longer the cheapest in your area. Making a change could offer substantial benefits to your business. 

8. What are our customers’ expectations?

Many businesses are discovering that renewable energy is more practical and affordable than ever. If renewables aren’t already part of your strategy, it may be time evaluate whether there’s a place for them. By taking another step toward running a renewable business, you may be able to draw new customers and enhance your public image.

 

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