Partner with Trade Allies
Partnering with Trade Allies
Building a working relationship with trade allies is an essential part for demand-side management (DSM) program success. The electric utility provides an incetive for trade allies to get invloved by giving customers rebates that subsidize lighting technology costs. In an effort to incease their lighting technology sales, the trade allies will market the program, provide technical expertise, and ultimately deliver the lighting technologies to the customers.
For lighting DSM incentive program development, the term "trade allies" encompasses all groups concerned with the sales and installation of lighting components, including contractors, distributors, designers, and manufacturers. Working with these allies is an effective way to spread the word about DSM programs offered by utilities while building trusted relationships with quality companies. These allies will also deliver the energy saving technologies to the customers. For reasons of simplicity and reduced costs, it is highly recommended that a utility use the services of an established lighting technology provider to deliver the equipment rather than the utility providing lighting services and technologies itself.
Trade allies are eager to let their potential clients know about energy savings incentive opportunities because those incentives have the potential to increase sales. Leveraging trade ally partnerships to convey the benefits of energy efficiency is a productive way of increasing customer participation and reducing the marketing and technology delivery burden for the utility. While most utilities are not at liberty to specifically recommend one contractor or distributor over another, it is advisable to have a list of qualified trade allies if customers request suggestions.
How to Get Trade Allies Involved
There are a variety of ways to include trade allies in the distribution of information. Educating allies on the potential benefits to them (increased sales and advertising via utility Web site) and their customers (decreased energy use and eliminating the need for more power producing facilities, thereby lowering monthly costs) is a positive step toward gaining program acceptance from the community. A few methods to get trade allies to learn more about utility DSM incentives include the following:
There are organizations of trade allies that promote utility and vendor collaboration and provide resources for the two to communicate. Some organizations span across multiple cities (e.g., the Northwest Trade Ally Network sponsored by Bonneville Power Association), while others are contained to a single utility (e.g., Rochester Public Utility's list of trade allies.)
Some utilities offer open invitations to local vendors to discuss common customer questions and issues with lighting installations. This is a good way for local vendors to learn about utility-offered energy efficiency programs, share related experiences, and provide insightful feedback from direct customer interactions. Forums also provide good opportunities to gather lists of qualified vendors and offer free training on advanced lighting technologies. ITP has developed an invitation template that your utility can use to invite trade allies to a forum.
Some industrial facilities will have installation vendors that they prefer to utilize to complete the retrofit installations. Contact information for these vendors should be listed on the application form so, when a utility is looking to collect qualified vendors for a suggestion list, these potential trade allies can be contacted directly to gauge their interest in participating.
|Back to Turn-Key DSM Lighting Home|