In addition to addressing the impacts of climate change and evolving energy sources, utilities are adapting in how they provide their services. According to a 2014 American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) blog post (“Utilities are Frightened of a Death Spiral. They Shouldn’t Be.”) and related national conversations, the industry needs to make substantial changes in the interest of quality service, competitive pricing, and reasonable returns on investments. Building off our history and experience in energy and water services, Brendle Group has made it a strategic priority to assist utilities in these evolutions and transitions in the coming years.
Fort Collins Utilities in Colorado, for example, is considering the utility industry through a new paradigm of serving customers in ways that provide co-benefits to utility providers. This perspective is based on a new business model where the utility offers enhanced services to customers and diversifies revenue streams along the way. The model promises substantial positive change for the municipal utility and its customers related to service scale, depth, ease, speed, accessibility, and expenditures. For example, a small commercial customer may want to implement a bundle of several projects related to energy efficiency, water efficiency, and renewables. This emerging model would give the customer the option to get this done in a fast way that offers economies of scale pricing benefits and financing options and, in turn, offers the utility a new revenue source. It also offers a way to accomplish myriad desired outcomes – those already mentioned as well as accelerated achievement of efficiency and renewable energy goals. Customers benefit from simplified service offerings and diversity of choice. And the community benefits on many levels, from economic health and livability to environmental health.
Partnering with Fort Collins Utilities as it evolves, we are helping to design programs, identify ways to engage customers and increase offerings, and incorporate service delivery and financial modeling. Early and exciting results suggest strong returns along with increased levels of energy efficiency and renewable energy, customer cost neutrality, and equity.