EMI Consulting Announcements
  • Posted 6.6.18 by Emily Rich, Consultant
    Utility of the Present: Observations from the Efficiency Exchange Conference 2018

    I recently attended the Efficiency Exchange conference in Tacoma, WA along with three of my EMI Consulting colleagues. The conference brings together energy professionals across the Northwest to discuss the evolving world of energy efficiency. The phrase “Utility of the Future” has become commonplace in the industry, and this conference was no exception. The theme was woven throughout the sessions at the conference and popped up in the conversations in between. Professionals in the region are grappling with an industry that’s changing rapidly in terms of technology, policy, finance, and customer preference.

     

    Yet, the big takeaway from this conference is that the Utility of the Future is here now. Utilities are already making strides along the path to a new utility future, and each step is reshaping the industry, making the transformation that has been talked about as if it were on the horizon a tangible reality.

     

    At EMI Consulting, we’ve been taking a deep look at the shifts taking place as utilities transform their business models to meet customer needs in this new context. Below, we cover a few of the examples brought up at the conference that indicate an industry in transition. Innovative utilities are taking these steps as they transition—not all at once, and not all to the same degree—but each one is a clear signal to the industry of a new norm developing.

     

    Transitioning to an Energy Platform

     

    As Val Jenson, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations at Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), mentioned in his keynote address that ComEd is embracing the transition by serving as an energy platform. Rather than generate and distribute its own resources, ComEd envisions itself operating as a network that enables customers to connect with each other through a modern grid. In this future, ComEd would measure value by customer touches through its platform rather than through kWh sold to customers. This paradigm shift reflects ComEd’s circumstances as a utility serving a large customer base with no remaining generation assets.  

     

    Rolling out EV Fast Charging in Seattle

     

    Seattle City Light presented on their electric vehicle (EV) strategy, which includes investment in public charging infrastructure. City Light research found vehicle charging investment to provide a net benefit to all customers and to satisfy strong customer demand for charging infrastructure. By implementing this strategy, City Light provides customers additional touchpoints with their utility around the city, creating, as a result, a new value stream for the utility. Seattle City Light is making this transformation equitably, and in a way that works with their unique urban context.

     

    Using Data to Target Program Offerings

     

    Every customer has distinct needs, and data is now allowing utilities to provide offerings that feel more relevant and personalized to the customer. Two representatives from Tacoma Power talked about how they are using data to segment their customers at a more granular level to better target program offerings to the people most likely to use them. For their weatherization program, for example, Tacoma Power used compiled data sources to map customers and geotargeted accounts most likely to be eligible for the program. This is one example of how Tacoma Power is leveraging customer data to replace one-size-fits-all marketing of program offerings with a more personalized scheme.  

     

    Overcoming Barriers to DR-Capable EV Charging

     

    A Flathead Electric spokesperson talked about the obstacles his electric co-op faced in rolling out an EV program in Montana, including figuring out how to deploy public chargers with demand response (DR) capabilities. This deployment has the potential to change the customer relationship by allowing customers to participate in two-way transactions, where the customer plays a part in demand-side management through EV charging. To do this, Flathead put together a cross-functional team that brought a diversity of perspectives from across utility departments—from engineering to demand-side management to customer service. The integrated nature of this team was crucial in creating a viable program offering that enhances the customer experience.  

     

    While none of these examples alone is a silver bullet capable of transforming a utility, each is an important step in a transformation pathway that is happening right now. We are excited to be part of the Northwest’s current transition to the Utility of the Future.

     

  • Posted 4.17.18 by EMI Consulting
    EMI Consulting Names Wil Marquardt Director of Finance & Operations

    Seattle, WA (April 17, 2018) – EMI Consulting is pleased to announce the appointment of Wil Marquardt as Director of Finance and Operations. He will be
    responsible for driving financial strategy, planning, and processes, as well as business operations as an integral part of the company’s growth strategy.

    Prior to joining EMI Consulting, Wil held senior consulting positions at SumBridge, Strong-Bridge, and Two Degrees consulting firms, and he’s worked with companies as varied as Starbucks and T-Mobile. While the common thread in these engagements was primarily finance and operational management, Wil has also applied his skillset to the leadership of customer experience and technology initiatives. He also held tenure as Vice President at Washington Mutual, where he was charged with several business-imperative directives, including operational excellence and long-term forecasting.

    “Wil’s deep and varied background creates the perfect blend of financial acumen and operational experience needed to help grow and sustain our firm,” explained EMI Consulting President Julie Rey. “His experience as a consultant also brings an understanding of the unique pressures of the space, which I believe is vital for this role.”

    Julie added, “Wil is also an approachable and well-respected person, who has a passion for the environment, which aligns well with our desire to cultivate a Utility of Future initiative.”

    In fact, Wil chose the University of Washington for his MBA specifically for their concentration in environmental management. He explained, "I chose my MBA concentration because environmental sustainability is important to me, and I genuinely believed my career would eventually intersect.”

    “EMI Consulting is in a really strong position – there is significant change stirring in the industry, great business opportunities, and this very committed and talented group of people I get to work alongside will help to realize the goals of a sustainable, clean energy future for utilities and their customers,” said Wil. “I am thrilled to use my background and experience to help drive important growth goals and set the company on course for long-term financial success.”

  • Posted 1.31.18 by EMI Consulting
    EMI Consulting Appoints Julie Rey as President

    Global Consulting Executive to Drive Expansion of Company’s “Utility of the Future” Strategic Service Offerings and Market Share.

    SEATTLE, Wash. – January 31, 2018 – Energy advisory firm EMI Consulting today announced it has hired Julie Rey as president. Recognized for her expertise in driving business growth and supervising global consulting teams, Ms. Rey will be responsible for expanding EMI Consulting’s market share, deepening its strategic “Utility of the Future” service offerings, and managing the company’s growing staff.

    “We’re pleased to have Julie join our leadership team,” said Rob Bordner, EMI Consulting founder and CEO. “It’s an exciting time for our industry. The nation’s energy future is in the middle of a radical shift driven by unprecedented technological innovation, global climate change, and geo-political uncertainty. We see this as a perfect opportunity for the expansion of our clean energy ‘Utility of the Future’ consulting initiatives. Julie’s leadership will be instrumental during this time of company growth.”

    With a twenty-year track record of profitability, premier clients, and consulting bench strength, EMI Consulting is poised to achieve significantly greater success. As president, Ms. Rey will report to CEO Rob Bordner, joining him in defining the company’s long-term strategies and fostering efficient business growth. The creation of this position enables Mr. Bordner to focus on strategic market direction, high-level project conceptualization and design, and new business development.

    “I’m excited about working with this visionary and talented team,” said Julie Rey, EMI Consulting president. “The company is well-known for its in-house strategic and analytical talent, depth of industry partnerships, cutting-edge technological expertise, and passion for delivering the best consulting experiences. Being able to lead the company to greater levels of growth is a fantastic opportunity.”

    Ms. Rey was most recently vice president and market lead for global management consulting firm North Highland Consulting. Prior to that she held positions as managing director for Strong-Bridge Consulting, vice president/business process improvement for Safeco Insurance, and director/Six Sigma Black Belt for Western Wireless Corporation. She brings expertise in leading companies through substantial growth cycles, designing and streamlining service processes, advancing consulting methodologies for enhanced client experiences, training leaders, and improving profitability. Ms. Rey holds a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Washington, and bachelor’s degrees in rhetoric and Italian from the University of California at Davis.

     

    About EMI Consulting
    EMI Consulting advises electric and gas utilities nationwide on business strategies related to new market opportunities, distributed and renewable energy, energy efficiency, and customer engagement. Founded in 1995, the company is recognized for industry leadership in three key areas: strategy and evaluation, data analytics and modeling, and customer experience research. Headquartered in Seattle, the company also employs staff in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Portland, and Los Angeles. More information is available at www.emiconsulting.com

     

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    Media Contact: Wil Marquardt | (206) 621-1160 | wmarquardt@emiconsulting.com

  • Posted 7.24.17 by Matthew Rose, Director
    The Current Value of Demand Response: It All Depends Where You Look

    Depending on where you look, the value and business rationale for demand response (DR) varies. In certain parts of the country, there seems to be a growing focus on DR; in others, market forces are reducing the value of DR. In some areas DR is viewed as a resource competing in capacity markets whereas in others it is a resource included in utilities’ integrated resource planning.

    In the Pacific Northwest, the focus has traditionally been only on energy efficiency, but the current 20-year power plan prepared by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council indicates demand response could offer billions in cost savings. In California, the state’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) now participate in the state’s Demand Response Auction Mechanism (DRAM) program. DR also is unfolding in the Northeast with both utility and ISO programs.

    Despite new areas of DR attention, there are signs that activity levels are tapering off in some of the more mature markets. A review of the current market for demand response points to a fragmented landscape affected by varying aggregator activities, changing market rules, and a capacity market that has notable swings in capacity requirements and value. For a closer look, click here.