Retroficiency has inked deals with four new utility clients to deliver more segmented insight and increased participation in commercial energy-efficiency programs using its efficiency analytics platform.
AEP Ohio, Kansas City Power & Light, Puget Sound Energy and The United Illuminating Company in Connecticut join more than a dozen other utilities that Retroficiency is working with.
“It’s all about how can we help them find customers with more savings potential,” said Bennett Fisher, CEO of Retroficiency. For Kansas City Power & Light, Retroficiency will help the utility identify deeper retrofit opportunities with midsize and large commercial customers through project implementer CLEAResult. Puget Sound Energy, on the other hand, is using Retroficiency’s analytics platform to crunch meter data to more quickly identify energy-efficiency targets.
“Even in managed buildings, we still see plenty of operational opportunity,” said Bennett.
Retroficiency, which has been growing its utility business, is just one of many players trying to tap the increasing dollars that utilities are spending on energy-efficiency programs. The majority of Retroficiency's revenue now comes from utilities. Utility energy-efficiency programs could grow from about $5 billion in 2010 to at least $9.5 billion in 2025, according to Berkeley Lab.
Unlike in past decades, it’s not enough to hand out a few light bulbs to small customers and help the largest commercial customers with retrofits. In many states, energy-efficiency resource standards (EERS) are pushing utilities to segment all of their customers further and engage them on a deeper level.
Last month, FirstFuel raised $23 million for its energy auditing and utility measurement and verification business, and in 2014 it started working with Opower. EnerNOC has staked its future on its energy software business, and acquired Pulse Energy late last year to strengthen efficiency offerings in the small and medium-sized business sector. Retroficiency has partnered with energy-efficiency program implementer CLEAResult on multiple utility wins. There are also traditional players like Honeywell and Johnson Controls trying to capture more efficiency dollars.
Consolidated Edison of New York is one utility client driven by peak reduction. Retroficiency has been working with Con Ed for about a year to help the utility meet a specific goal of deferring the cost of a $1 billion substation through various forms of demand management over the next few years.
Con Ed was able to see a fourfold increase in customer engagement compared to its more traditional marketing efforts, which has enabled the New York City utility to shorten the sales cycle and get customers on board with efficiency projects.
“We see clear benefits of being able to identify the right customers to target at scale and achieving building-specific insights,” said Colin Smart, section manager for targeted demand management for Con Edison, in a statement. “And we believe virtual assessments will be a key part of our energy-efficiency and load-reduction efforts going forward.”
In the case of Retroficiency’s work with Con Ed, it was not necessarily analyzing sophisticated sets of data from smart meters or sensor-laden buildings. “It’s a very diverse set of data,” said Fisher.
Unlike large, class A office space that stretches across Manhattan, the outer boroughs where Con Ed is trying to defer a substation upgrade features a mixed bag of apartments and commercial real estate, much of it small to medium-sized, and much of it older building stock. Most of the utility data is monthly, rather than interval data from digital smart meters.
Con Ed needed Retroficiency to deliver segmentation by savings potential. Retroficiency identified 23 megawatts of peak reduction, nearly half the 52 megawatts Con Ed needs to shed by 2018. The utility is looking to do everything from old-school equipment replacement to new building management systems, battery systems that can be tapped for hours at a time and maybe even a few microgrids.
“We’ve given them a multichannel approach to deal with this,” Bennett said of helping Con Ed identify potential targets quickly. “There’s no one silver bullet.”