Any business needs to budget for electricity. Extrapolating from the past is probably the only easy way to do it. Very few businesses have the wherewithal to actually understand. But at least for large budgets, it can pay off to do so. Staples, for example, has a Department of Energy and Environmental Management.
One important aspect of energy management is the rate we pay for electricity. We barely think about it, because making sense of it is enough to make anyone's head spin. Hand on your heart: do you understand how the price for electricity is determined?
Because it is so complex, many decisions are taken by experts, but of course it would be desirable to have a democratic process involving the input of customers. In 2008, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Order 719, encouraged regional administrations to commit “to responsiveness to customers and other stakeholders, and ultimately to the consumers who benefit from and pay for electric services.” The relevant body here is the ISO New England, whose remit is to “ensure the day-to-day reliable operation of New England's bulk power generation and transmission system, to oversee and ensure the fair administration of the region's wholesale electricity markets, and to manage comprehensive, regional planning processes.”
This has led to a Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) in New England, meeting four times a year mainly with a view to “examine and inquire about quantitative and qualitative information about cost impacts of proposed initiatives in the region”.
The CLG meets next time on December 6, 2012. Large consumers, trade associations, and chambers of commerce should probably get involved. Organizations from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut are particularly welcome, since they are currently underrepresented.
Arne Hessenbruch is a Danish expat and the founder of Boston Denmark Partnerships, where he connects Danish companies with an interest in doing business in Boston.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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