Utilities’ green power programs cater to non-residential customers, study finds

ATLANTA, May 21, 2002 — Non-residential customers account for up to 38% of green power sales, and energy companies are jumping to fulfill this need: 8% more utilities are offering C&I customers green power this year than in 2001, according to new research.

Chartwell’s 2002 survey of 50 energy companies regarding their C&I product/service offerings found that 36% are offering green power to C&I customers, another 16% are in the planning stages of a C&I green power program, and 14% are considering implementing one.

The study, published in Selling Green Power to Non-Residential Customers, a new industry report, also reveals that municipally owned utilities are much more likely to offer green or renewable power to their C&I customers than cooperatives or investor-owned utilities (IOUs). In addition, whether an energy company’s market is deregulated or not has no bearing on the rate at which IOUs offer renewable energy.

Although the transaction cost may be higher to market green power to a large customer, it can nevertheless be more cost effective. The cost to acquire that customer, on a per kWh basis, can be much lower than for mass marketing to residential customers. In addition, large customers have secondary marketing or marquee value. The promotion or recognition of a large customer purchasing green power can raise public awareness of the option, legitimize the choice, and encourage residential and other non-residential customers to buy green power.

According to the report, marketing green power to C&I customers requires a strategy that should take into account the impact of the extra cost of green power, providing ways to mitigate that increase in costs, public relations benefits, civic responsibility, impact on employee morale, first-mover advantage, the bandwagon effect, internal champions and accreditation.

Selling Green Power to Non-Residential Customers, which is available from Chartwell, is part of The Chartwell New Products and Services Research Series. Membership in the research series is available. For information, call 800.432.5879 or 404.237.9099, or visit www.chartwellinc.com .

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