Jan 21, 2015

The Situation

With small business customers representing 89% of ComEd’s commercial sector, the potential to secure significant energy savings and increased customer satisfaction from this vast and largely underserved market was tremendous. Nexant worked collaboratively with ComEd’s successful Smart Ideas for Your Business® suite of energy efficiency programs to design and implement the Small Business Energy Savings (SBES) program with innovative and community-based approaches to cost-effectively reach this historically hard-to-reach customer segment throughout the utility’s diverse service territory.

Overcoming Barriers

To engage small business customers and increase participation dramatically, Nexant needed to address the key barriers affecting this target audience, including lack of awareness, time, money, and resources, while keeping costs low. The strategy and program design focused on simplifying the process for small business customers by employing technology, local trade allies, as well as formulating cost-effective ways to broaden program awareness and benefits to targeted underserved communities.

Uniquely Empowering Trade Allies

Developing a network of trained, pre-approved trade allies that also conducted the needed cost-effective, one-on-one customer education and outreach created a powerful sales force that leveraged marketing, implementation and administrative efforts significantly throughout the diverse service territory. Trade allies were trained and equipped to market the program, provide customer education, conduct on-site energy assessments, generate recommendations reports immediately, and install energy efficiency improvements. A strategic marketing campaign and personalized service by local trade allies helped to reduce the skepticism of small business owners and encourage greater participation. Word-of-mouth referrals spread quickly and trade allies increased staff to meet demand. The Small Business Energy Savings Program exceeded the kWh savings goals in the 2012-2014 program years.

Proven Results

250% of Goal

Our Small Business Direct Install program with Nexant produced results that exceeded all our goals. We were successful in getting our small business customers to engage by implementing a program that made it easy for them to participate. Incorporating and leveraging our trade ally network significantly increased responsiveness

David Hernandez, Program Manager for Small Business Energy Efficiency Programs, Commonwealth Edison

ComEd is the largest electric utility in Illinois with more than 3.8 million customers in the Chicago and Northern Illinois area, representing approximately 70% of the state’s population.

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