Five Important Considerations for Small Business Customer Engagement

Feb 17, 2014

The small business sector has been a hotly debated topic when it comes to utilities looking for ways to meet increasingly aggressive demand side management and energy efficiency goals. On paper, there appears to be great energy savings potential. But is there opportunity and means to engage this customer sector in energy efficiency initiatives/programs?

Here are five of the most typically asked questions we hear in this arena and our (short and simple) responses (spoiler alert: the short answer is YES, it IS possible to engage and achieve significant energy efficiency savings from this sector!).

Small business engagement - five questions for consideration:

  1. When it comes to energy efficiency initiatives, aren’t all commercial customer needs relatively the same?
    Small businesses actually have very specific challenges related to participation in DSM engagement. Diligent research and understanding of these challenges is paramount for the program planning process and is a key to ultimate engagement success.
  2. Given the many challenges and barriers to small business engagement, is engagement and savings even possible?
    It is possible and we’ve seen it happen consistently – when done with the right forethought, planning, design and management.
  3. Would savings be significant enough to help my utility meet our energy efficiency goals?
    Absolutely! Strategically designed solutions can help utilities start achieving immediate savings.
  4. Even if we manage to engage interest, will it be sustainable for ongoing savings?
    Yes!  If you’ve done your homework, every single program can absolutely be designed and delivered to tap into large and often “hidden” opportunities for further and ongoing savings beyond the installation of initial measures.
  5. Savings can come at a cost – is there a way to design an engagement approach that is cost effective?
    Absolutely. On the front end, thoughtful program design based on a sound research and discovery process is essential. And if you’re appropriately addressing the numerous (and sometimes complex) needs of this sector, the secret to reducing program administrative costs lies in smart program delivery and leveraging enabling systems/technology to streamline program management.


At roughly 22% of the U.S. electricity usage market, the upside potential of energy savings in the small business sector is enormous.