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An Energy Company: Where the Average Desk Job Turns into Pandemonium

DeskI’d venture to say that many, if not most, things in life are not planned and happen beyond our control. Education, relationships, families, and vocation occupy the majority of our lives. Some plans work out, and some don’t. That rule applies to me. I started my career as a graphic designer, and now I work for a demand response company. It’s best not to question these changes, but embrace them.

Having worked at Energy Curtailment Specialists (ECS) for over two years, I’ve found myself in a whirlwind of learning, changes, and most importantly, success. I’ve come to fully understand the importance of energy reduction; from planning to implementation, and results to repetition. A viable energy efficiency plan for a business is only as good as the people it is dependent on, making education, guidance, and dedication requirements for anyone involved. So let’s take a look at a day in the life of an energy associate; the very one who, time after time, breeds success.

A typical day starts like many other jobs do; most are pretty standard. Greetings with coworkers when you walk in, the morning cup of coffee or tea, discussions about the local football team’s latest loss (sorry, Buffalo fans – you know who I’m referring to!), and checking of email. On a walk to the break room to drop off your lunch, conversations will vary. You’ll hear Customer Relations answering client inquiries, Sales discussing demand response and other energy reduction strategies with CEOs, Human Resources planning and implementing a great benefits package and addressing employee concerns, and Metering ensuring accurate readings from customer smart meters. Heck, you’ll even see the graphics guys whipping up a new eye-catching mail-out, and the Marketing team ensuring that information is up-to-date on the corporate site. And last, but not least, you’ll witness exemplary articles being written and posted on all social media channels by the team’s talented group of writers.

A Glimpse at Our Bread & Butter

The standard day can turn around pretty quickly, however, when a demand response event is called. The calm, planned day turns into controlled chaos before you know it! The Independent System Operator (ISO) calls the event with either a “day ahead” or “day of” notice. Once the locales and times are realized, our team gathers for a brief meeting with instructions on how to alert our customers of this important notice. And then it begins; our customers receive faxes, emails, and phone calls, alerting them of the need to curtail their energy consumption for the time period set forth by the ISO. Meeting the targeted reduction agreed upon in their contract with ECS is critical in order to receive the payments they deserve. For the duration of the event, we continually follow up with clients, most of which have smart meters that are read in real-time, to guide them towards event success. From guidance on reduction strategies, to communicating between staff members at a facility, event callers make this simple process even more straightforward for customers.

What may surprise you is that we also participate in the demand response event!  When our customers reduce energy, so do we! When our air conditioning and lights go out, we’ve already planned ahead and pre-chilled our office, and opened our blinds to rely on the natural light. Not only are we contacting our customers, they’re contacting us; our phones ring off the hook with businesses confirming their participation in the event.

A demand response event can border on pandemonium in the office.  And while it can be crazy, a solid team with impeccable communication is the base of our success. Many hardworking and dedicated employees stay way past their normal quitting time to ensure the remainder of the event continues to run smoothly.

Looking Forward

Demand response is a proven way for businesses to reduce their energy consumption, and that’s why it’s projected to double by 2020. With population growth and greater demand for instant access to electricity, demand response and energy efficiency programs are needed to ensure a stable electric grid for everyone. There is a strong feeling of accomplishment when an event is done. You’ve worked hard to help your clients, and have participated in the future of energy reliability.

Sometimes life is funny. Changes come around faster than you can fully adjust. You take each one and run with it.  And the chance to work in the energy field is one I enjoy and am thankful that I embraced.

 

 

Related Articles:

Why Sustainable Business Just Might Save the World
Best Energy Strategies for Businesses: A 4-Point Checklist
Energy Reduction Made Simple with Automated Demand Response

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