At the end of October, our team was able to attend the EEI Fall National Key Accounts Workshop in San Antonio. The EEI FNKAW is where national, chain, and multi-site energy users can tackle all of their energy-related needs. Customers are able to learn about the latest public policies affecting the energy industry, meet with their utility account and energy supply representatives, and learn about new technologies, products, and services designed to save them money. From great networking events, to wonderful education sessions, this show is one of our favorites to attend annually, and each year we are able to take away something valuable about our market.
This year’s fall show was very beneficial for all who attended – from wonderful keynotes from Chris Hickling, Ann Scott, and Steve Rosenstock – to breakout sessions that included sustainability, technology, energy and supply knowledge – the show was a great success!
There were a number of trends we heard again and again from customers that were a call to vendors/utilities to start paying attention more to market needs.
Data and Technology
Data has always been a term that companies seem to throw around, but what does it really mean? EEI dove into this topic deeply to help determine what data sets from what technologies are important and how energy managers can utilize their data to help manage their kWh output and manage cost across their enterprise. EEI brought in experts from companies such as Microsoft and Forester to help facilitate the fact that technology is allowing for more data to be accessed from smarter devices to do more smart things that drive the energy and efficiency savings customers are looking for.
Businesses are constantly looking for ways to expand their current offerings, and innovate everything throughout their business model across their enterprise. One thing that was evident this year, was the implementation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations across enterprises nationwide and the unique challenges that it brings to the storefront - from who would pay for the charge, to the high consumption rate. With EV's being more prominent lately, how to manage this is definitely on the mind of many energy managers.
Sustainability has always been something that consumers have coupled with energy, aka "Energy Sustainability." This year, EEI's main focus on sustainability was in the form of renewable energy awareness - and utilizing more wind and solar alternatives and how to store that energy source through the use of batteries. This option is being looked at increasingly in order to harness the power of these energy sources and keep it coming over time as opposed to using it right then.
Demand Management is always a hot topic, especially during summer months, and combating this issue is something that is always on the forefront of Energy Managers' minds. Currently, we are experiencing Economic Demand Response, where the demand management is more customer driven than ever before. Figuring out how to lower costs with current rate changes, tariffs, and the constant evolution of the supply side is of increasing importance. Lowering costs while maintaining and increasing customer comfort has never been more important. Especially since comfort is subjective and difficult to quantify. But finding a way to lower cost while maintaining customer comfort is always important.
Besides these broader topics, attendees met up in the Energy Market Place, where they interacted with utility and trade ally vendors on the trade show floor – and to check out new and upcoming products!
Thank you so much Edison Electric Institute, for yet another wonderful show! See y’all in Seattle in the Spring!