Snohomish County PUD worked with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to develop an innovative Master Services Agreement (MSA) that allows both utilities to better serve the small business customers that they share.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of supporting the local small business community. Though the PUD has a long history of providing programs to help small businesses save energy and reduce their bills, up until recently, the PUD has not been able to provide small businesses with a holistic look at both their electric and gas energy-savings opportunities. For many customers, accessing incentives involved working separately with multiple utilities.
“Small business owners are concerned with reducing their utility bills, but they don’t have time to manage incentive programs with multiple utilities” said Sheri Miller, Assistant Energy Efficiency Program Manager. “By developing this agreement with PSE, we can simplify and streamline energy-savings programs to benefit our small business customers.”
The MSA that was recently signed by the PUD and PSE allows the PUD to sell therm (units of gas heat) savings to PSE, and PSE to sell kilowatt-hour savings to the PUD. These transactions occur behind the scenes, so that customers can focus on implementing upgrades that lower their bills, rather than navigating multiple utility incentives and rebate programs. The MSA creates a one-stop-shop approach for small businesses.
The Direct Install program for Small Businesses is the first program to fall under the MSA. This program is implemented by consultant Willdan and provides a free energy assessment to eligible small businesses. Energy-efficiency upgrades such as interior and exterior LED lighting, occupancy sensors and advanced thermostats are then installed at minimal or no cost to the customer. Small businesses that participate in the program will now get to access all of the relevant incentives and energy-saving opportunities through one point of contact.
In the future, the MSA could be used to support other programs, including residential programs that could benefit both PUD and PSE with a streamlined joint approach.
“We’ve now created a mechanism that allows us to partner with PSE to provide the best service to our customers,” said Suzy Oversvee, Senior Customer and Energy Services Program Manager. “In this case, we can help our small businesses save money in a time where they are facing so many outside challenges.”