For most of this year, EnerNOC has been focused on international expansion, pushing into emerging demand response markets from South Korea to Ireland.
And now the Boston-based demand-side management firm, which calls itself an energy intelligence software company, has reached just beyond U.S. borders to acquire Pulse Energy, a Vancouver-based startup that provides energy insight for small and large commercial customers.
The move is not about Canadian expansion as much as it is about securing a product that targets a difficult part of the market. It also deepens EnerNOC’s presence in the U.K., where Pulse Energy is working with British Gas to provide energy-efficiency reports to nearly 1 million of its commercial customers. Pulse Energy also has some large customers in North America, including Pacific Gas & Electric and BC Hydro, and is working in Australia.
“From the mom-and-pop store to the largest industrial enterprise customer, we can now help our utility customers unlock value in those sectors,” said Gregg Dixon, SVP of marketing and sales at EnerNOC.
EnerNOC has been trying to grow its business beyond capacity demand response programs in the U.S. for years. It has succeeded in expanding into demand response markets in more than 100 countries. It is also growing its energy intelligence software business, but the majority of the company’s revenue still comes from demand response. Utility programs accounted for nearly 20 percent of its revenue in 2013, but nearly all of that is demand response rather than energy efficiency.
The acquisitions are part of EnerNOC’s broader efforts to change that. The company has been working directly with utilities in the past few years to manage their entire energy-efficiency programs.
“This effort is really about software for utilities,” said Steve Jones, VP of product management at Pulse Energy. “We certainly see a lot of need for a seamless solution across the entire commercial customer base.”
One ripe area for growth is helping utilities build stronger relationships with their small and medium-sized business customers and offer them more services. Pulse Energy offers an Opower-like energy report for commercial customers, along with a remote auditing product.
The firm can help vertically integrated utilities meet their energy-efficiency goals, and it can also help them grow their demand response programs by targeting the smaller businesses that are best suited to cut peak load. With more insight into the customer’s business, utilities can also help prioritize service restoration during an outage, such as focusing on getting restaurants back up before food spoils rather than turning the lights back on for a clothing store first.
For competitive energy retailers, such as British Gas, it is a value-added service for more than 100 different verticals, offering tailored messages that differentiate between similar businesses such as dry cleaners and laundromats.
Earlier this year, EnerNOC also acquired EnTech USB, a global utility billing management software firm that started in the U.K. to serve the growing deregulated energy marketplace. EnerNOC integrated EnTech USB’s software into its energy intelligence platform to provide more detailed information on forecasting energy costs.
Both EnTech USB and Pulse Energy offer EnerNOC entry points into the energy efficiency market. Earlier this year, EnerNOC co-founder David Brewster noted that the company also expects to expand into efficiency in international markets such as Germany.
In the U.S., the acquisition of Pulse Energy will help EnerNOC compete with other energy-efficiency offerings such as Opower’s partnership with FirstFuel and Retroficiency’s offering to the small business community.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.