Perspective
Our corner office is actually a corner of the country.
Our corner office is actually a corner of the country.

Our home base of Seattle isn't just a place—it’s a point of view. And like the Great Northwest, our outlook is a little different. From here, we can help you see more. Beyond numbers. Beyond conventional wisdom. From our vantage point, information paves the way to insight and metrics reveal more meaning. When your way forward isn't clear, a shift in perspective isn't just refreshing. It’s essential.

See career opportunities.

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world travellers

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parents

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multi-linguals

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cyclists of varying commitment levels

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sailboat skippers

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person who started in Oil before changing course

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Our People.
Our People.

Accomplished. Eclectic.
Client-centric.
Meet the minds of EMI Consulting.

  • Rob Bordner
    Founder & CEO
    Strategy and vision from an energy-efficiency thought leader.

    Drawing on three decades in the energy industry, Rob helps clients develop better strategies by providing a forward-looking, systems-based perspective encompassing the industry’s technical, economic and organizational dimensions. An economist by training, Rob’s experience dates to the early 1980s, when he worked with the pioneering firm that built New England’s first wind farm. Rob founded EMI Consulting in 1995 to combine his passion for sustainable energy with his talent for innovative and insightful research. His expertise and interest lies in strategic planning, energy policy, scenario analysis, systems theory, emerging technology and program evaluation. As CEO, he holds the vision for the firm, mapping growth as he mentors staff. When he’s not working, Rob enjoys listening to live music in small venues, sailing the Salish Sea, backpacking in the Olympics, browsing farmers markets and making wine. Rob also founded two youth-focused ventures—Vashon Independent Scouts and Sharing the Stage—combining his interests in music, the outdoors, mentoring and youth empowerment. Rob is working to reduce his ecological footprint to the size of one off-shore-capable sailboat.

    • Posted 1.19.15
      Insights: EMI Consulting: 20 Years!

      EMI Consulting was founded in the loft of a barn, sharing space with a Saddlebred horse, an ornery Shetland pony, and some polled Dorset sheep.  My objective was to engage my entrepreneurial instincts in the energy field I am so passionate about while also earning a good living, having balance, and spending time with my kids. 

      Twenty years later, as we approach a staff of thirty, creating a thriving and progressive place of work continues to be a top priority.  The loft space we now occupy in downtown Seattle is much larger, devoid of wild chickens in the background, and humming with activity as we work away on over 40 projects with clients in 20 different states.  In my role as CEO, some of the greatest moments come when I am working with our younger staff, many of whom are just starting out in their careers.  They are the future, and each is sure to make their mark. 

      This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working in the energy industry; the rate of technology change and innovation is rapid, and seemingly increasing each week.  Central plants, energy efficiency, distributed renewables, storage, the Internet of Things, and nanotechnology all have a role in this emerging energy system of the future.  I am grateful to all who have contributed to our success, including current and past employees, clients, and our families.  It is a privilege to work with such a great team and to work with such an amazing professional community of clients and peers — many of whom have also become lifelong friends. The work we are doing today to support a clean energy future is good work, work that is worth doing.  And I am looking forward to all that unfolds going forward!  

  • Julie Rey
    President
    Driving growth and delivering outstanding client experiences

    Julie brings expertise in LEADING CONSULTING COMPANIES through substantial GROWTH CYCLES. She has spent two decades working in RAPIDLY TRANSFORMING INDUSTRIES, helping companies to adapt, INNOVATE, and DIFFERENTIATE themselves. Julie believes that the NEW ENERGY ECONOMY holds great promise for utility companies, as well as the rest of society, as the country transitions to a LOW-CARBON ENERGY FUTURE. Julie is responsible for expanding EMI Consulting market share, deepening the firm's strategic “UTILITY OF THE FUTURE” SERVICE OFFERINGS, and managing the company’s GROWING STAFF. Her SIX SIGMA MASTER BLACK BELT reflects a true dedication to quality. She is a LIFELONG LEARNER, holding a master’s degree and two bachelor’s degrees. She and her husband have two teenage boys who are both jazz musicians. She enjoys PLAYING BARITONE SAXOPHONE, taking (amateur) PHOTOS of people out in the world, COOKING world cuisines with her family, YOGA, and SKIING.

    • Posted 1.31.18
      Announcements 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

  • Matthew Rose
    Director
    For 30 years, an energy-industry go-to guy.

    After more than three decades as an energy industry consultant, Matthew is as passionate as ever about helping clients Understand and resolve their issues. His secret? Helping them first clearly articulate their needs and define their vision of success.  A patient, grounding presence, Matthew listens closely and makes sure he and his clients grasp all the Elements of their challenge before delving into solutions. It’s an approach that agrees with his clients: he’s worked with many for well over a decade. Matthew has traveled extensively throughout most of the U.S., nearly all the Canadian provinces, and in Scandinavia and the Philippines. He enjoys canoeing Michigan’s storied rivers, watching hockey, fishing, and playing bluegrass mandolin and guitar.

    • Posted 7.24.17
      Insights: 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.

  • Jeremy Kraft
    Director of Consulting and Analysis
    Improving the nation’s energy efficiency programs, one evaluation at a time.

    Mix a thorough understanding of energy efficiency with a masterful grasp of research methodology, toss in airtight project management and a passion for sustainability, and you get Jeremy. His experience includes program evaluations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine and Connecticut. His current professional interests include helping utilities identify the next generation of DSM programs and working to transform how evaluation research is used within the industry. Jeremy moved to Seattle after 15 years in Wisconsin and won’t shut up about how the cheese is better back home.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: Evaluators as a Partner, not an Auditor

      In our evaluation work, we come across two kinds of requests from utilities and public service commissions. The first kind is the classic summative evaluation. A program has been running for a year or two and the utility needs someone to come in and assess its performance. At the end of the day, the evaluators provide recommendations for program improvements and realization rates to apply to reported savings. The second kind is when a utility is looking for a long-term evaluation partner. Someone that can sit at the table up-front and help the program administrators understand the programs they are running before the summative “evaluation” begins.

      Recently, we’ve been playing this role with clients more frequently and the benefits are tangible. We’ve vetted savings calculation methodologies prior to approval of large custom projects and double-checked application materials against TRMs to avoid realization rate surprises. We've created process flow maps to identify implementation bottlenecks before they occur instead of identifying them retroactively via complaints from participants during a telephone survey. We've conducted web usability tests to understand how trade allies interact with a new portal before it’s launched to maximize uptake and participation with the new offering. 

      In every case, we’re using our skills as evaluators to solve problems before they occur. We still play our critical M&V role – verifying that savings are real and that programs are efficient – but we help programs run better in the meantime.

  • Kara Crohn
    Associate Director
    Evaluation expertise that opens a window onto your programs.

    Besides the focus and high standards you’d expect of a former gymnast, rower and track athlete, Kara has 20 years of experience in research. She serves our clients with a thorough knowledge of program evaluation theory, qualitative and mixed-methods research design, Customer Market Research, evaluation capacity building, and training design and evaluation. Outside of work, she volunteers with the Riverside GREEN Mapping and Integration team to help account for and coordinate sustainability-related initiatives across the city. When she’s not evaluating something, Kara loves hiking with her family and sneaking off to dance classes to maintain the balance, strength, creativity and flexibility she needs to keep up with her sons.

    • Posted 2.25.16
      Insights: Process Mapping Primes the Pump for Successful Program Design and Useful Process Evaluations

      When we embark on a journey with our clients to support program design or to understand what really makes a program work, we start by developing a logic model with them. Logic modeling clarifies program staff’s and stakeholders’ understanding of how the activities they perform will logically lead to the goals they want to attain, and it establishes interim markers of success that can be measured along the way. However, it is often necessary to dig deeper into how activities are conducted to identify places where efficiency can be designed into the program’s operations.

      Process mapping is the tool we use to go deeper. The opportunity cost of not creating process maps is potentially overlooking gaps or redundancies in the program’s activities that could have saved the program money, time, or frustration had they been identified and resolved sooner. With this in mind, we work with program staff and those who interact with the program to collectively map out day-to-day operations; to have a conversation they rarely, if ever, have time for during their day. To get the most out of the exercise, it is critical to have the right people in the room and to foster an environment of exploration that respects differences in perspective.

      From a program design perspective, we use process mapping for locating opportunities to build in efficiency from the beginning, avoid pitfalls, and engender collaboration across job roles. From a process evaluation perspective, we focus evaluation questions on aspects of the program process in most need of feedback and tie performance metrics to critical program process steps. We also map the actual process against the designed process to more thoroughly identify implementation fidelity questions and, ultimately, feed timely design considerations back into the program design cycle.

      Process mapping is a simple tool that requires methodologically rigorous facilitation to produce meaningful results. Facilitated well, staff and stakeholders who participate in the process mapping exercise leave with a deeper appreciation for the work they each perform and some immediate steps to improve the efficiency of their work. They also have a better understanding of how their daily actions will lead to longer-term, farther-reaching goals described in their logic model. 

  • Lisa Perry
    Managing Consultant
    Equally fluent in econometrics and eggplant.

    Lisa offers expertise in both economic theory and research methods, with a focus on evaluating how behavioral responses shape the effectiveness of policies and programs. Her academic background includes application of advanced econometrics, including differences-in-differences regressions, instrumental variables regressions and regression discontinuity. Originally from Michigan, Lisa spent two years in Washington, D.C. before landing in Seattle. She loves exploring the Pacific Northwest's natural and urban wonders, from hiking and camping to farmers' markets and microbreweries. In addition to traveling and playing tennis, she grows vegetables in her backyard and experiments with new ways to cook them.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: How far can energy efficiency financing take us?

      Financing programs should be seen as a valuable complement, not replacement, for traditional utility programs.  Financing programs are one of today's fastest growing types of energy efficiency program, in part because they offer policy makers and utilities the tantalizing possibility of replacing taxpayer and ratepayer funding with private capital. This was an argument I heard applied from states as diverse as Connecticut to Ohio at the 2014 ACEEE Finance Forum.

      The challenge with the idea that financing programs can replace traditional utility programs is that financing by itself does not overcome all of the barriers that traditional utility programs target through rebates, marketing, and education. Take rebates, for example. While financing can help overcome customers’ barriers related to high first cost and lack of capital, these are not the only reasons utilities offer rebates. Rebates can be necessary when a project that is not cost-effective for an individual customer is economical for the utility. This can occur because customers make decisions about efficiency project payback based on their current energy rates, while utilities' cost-effectiveness is based on the higher marginal costs of investing in additional supply or generation. By helping align customers' payback with the value of efficiency for the utilities, rebates can be an important tool to help utilities meet demand at the lowest cost possible. Financing programs do not address the underlying differences in the economics of efficiency for customers and utilities. 

      Of course, money isn't everything. The growing field of behavioral programs is showing us just how much factors other than payback matter to customers. At least as currently designed, financing programs do not provide customers with information, education, and non-financial motivators that utility programs have found can drive efficiency. 

  • Donna Whitsett
    Managing Consultant
    Using her research powers for good.

    How serious is Donna about energy sustainability? Forty miles into her cross-country move from Houston to Seattle, Donna’s car broke down. She abandoned her vehicle, rented a U-Haul and hasn’t owned a car since. When she’s not literally walking the talk, Donna likes using research to inform strategies that encourage people to conserve energy. Handily enough, she has a strong background insocial psychology and a wide range of experience in research methodology and data analysis, including experimental design, sample development, data collection and statistical data analysis. Although Donna grew up in Texas, she developed neither a noticeable accent nor a love of barbecue.

  • Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Senior Consultant
    Our resident process cartographer.

    Hannah has contributed to diverse evaluation and planning projects for utilities across the country. She specializes in process mapping and focuses much of her research on community-based programs and social marketing techniques. Most recently, Hannah helped develop evaluation plans for Consumers Energy’s pilot programs. She also managed an evaluation of a community-based program in Wisconsin and conducted research on CUSTOMER AND TRADE ALLY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES. Currently, Hannah is leading a portfolio-level evaluation for Xcel Energy. Much of her recent research has focused on MIDSTREAM or TRADE ALLY-LED PROGRAMS throughout the country, and she has also evaluated community-based SOCIAL MARKETING techniques in Wisconsin and California. She previously worked in New York City for Seamus Henchy and Associates, a project management firm, and completed graduate work in sustainable community development and behavior. Hannah has lived in Australia and Ireland. She enjoys Washington State’s parks and is partial to hiking, Canoeing, and skiing.

  • Brett Close
    Managing Consultant
    Passionate about data and the people behind them

    Brett has been working in energy efficiency since graduating from college, but he has been thinking about the utility of the future since high school, when he wrote his senior paper about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Brett has always had a passion for connecting the quantitative and the qualitative, the sciences and the humanities. He started college in physics labs but transitioned to a major in public policy analysis with a physics emphasis, and added in a second major of Medieval history (just for fun). Today his work combines advanced statistical methods with thoughtful modeling of the human interactions that drive markets, policies, and programs. When not crunching numbers, he enjoys hiking, baking bread, brewing beer and cider, and traveling the world with his wife and young son.

    • Posted 10.5.18
      Industry Insight Market Transformation off to a Healthy Start with RPP

      As energy efficiency compliance goals continue to increase and savings opportunities for some technologies are increasingly harder to capture cost-effectively, utilities have begun shifting their focus to longer-term market transformation programs.

      These programs seek to transform how markets operate to increase adoption of efficient practices, rather than changing individual purchase or design decisions. The ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform (RPP) program, a nationally-coordinated effort between participating utility sponsors and US EPA ENERGY STAR, is one of the most promising market transformation programs being implemented today.
      EMI Consulting is excited to have the opportunity to work with RPP program administrators across the country and to have completed one of the first evaluations of an RPP program with our report for Consolidated Edison’s program. EMI Consulting’s evaluation approach applied a variety of methods, including shelf surveys, model-level sales data, and combining in-depth interviews with the results of national retailer interviews to develop a comprehensive picture of the program’s operation and its effect on the retail market in Con Edison territory. We found that the Con Edison RPP Program, even though relatively new, is already starting to increase sales of some types of efficient products.

      EMI Consulting is undertaking similar efforts for other utility clients, where we provide evaluation, adoption modeling, and regulatory support services. This reflects another example of how EMI Consulting is on the cutting edge of examining market opportunities for its clients.

      The full report for Con Edison, can be found here.

    • Posted 3.15.19
      Energy Article Monte Carlo Simulation for Better Market Transformation Program Design

      The Challenge

      Planning for a new downstream demand-side management (DSM) program or pilot is always a challenge as there are so many unknowns. What interventions will convince customers to change their behavior to buying efficient products or implementing more efficient projects: incentives, on-bill financing, expert design guidance? How effective will those interventions be and how much will they cost? These challenges are only magnified when developing a midstream or upstream market transformation program because utilities have no direct interaction with the end user, which brings up a whole new set of important questions. How will retailers, manufacturers, and distributors respond to the program? How will customers respond to the changes in the market? What does that mean for changes in program costs and benefits over time? And how will all of these changes impact budgets and program cost-effectiveness? By foregoing direct interaction with customer, upstream and midstream energy efficiency programs offer energy efficiency program administrators an opportunity to achieve large program volume at low administrative cost by shifting the direct interaction of the program from a large number of end-users to a small number of influential market actors (retailers, distributors, or manufacturers). But to do so, they have to give up a measure of control over factors that, nonetheless, impact program success and cost-effectiveness.

      Due to the complexity of these questions and the number of moving parts, program planners often try to assess midstream or upstream programs under a small set of scenarios (e.g., how cost effective would the program be if all costs come down rapidly and market uptake is high vs. all costs remain high and market uptake is low?). But what these scenarios gain in simplicity, they lack in nuance and depth. They don’t provide insight into more realistic scenarios in which some things go well, and others don’t, they don’t directly reflect what planners know about the underlying unknowns in the market, and they don’t accurately reflect how much that underlying unpredictability drives uncertainty in outcomes.

       

      A Possible Solution

      Rather than limiting program design and planning to simplistic scenarios, a Monte Carlo simulation allows program planners to include a variety of realistic cases, showing a range possible outcomes of planning decisions and external factors, and to assess the impact of risk. The capacity of the simulation to account for so many variables allows for better decision-making under uncertainty.

      A Monte Carlo simulation is a mathematical technique that was first developed in the 30s but not in common practice until recent advances in computing power. It allows analysts to account for a vast range of uncertainties through an iterative quantitative analysis process, using random draws from distributions of inputs, much like a gambling game at one of the famous casinos in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Here, instead of throwing the dice a few times to estimate how a program will react under different scenarios, modern computers allow Monte Carlo simulation to “throw the dice” thousands and thousands of times in order to build both a range of possible outcomes and even the probabilities that they will occur for any choice of action. This type of simulation provides a program designer with the outcomes of the most aggressive and conservative scenarios, along with a range of possible outcomes for everything in between, ensuring that program design decisions can take into account the range of possible outcomes and analyze the overall systemic risks and opportunities for their portfolios.

       

      Under the Hood: How Monte Carlo Simulations Work

      Monte Carlo simulations work by building ranges of possible outcomes through the substitution of values from a probability distribution for any specific component that has uncertainty, as well as sets of other fixed inputs. In the case of a midstream program design at a utility, these components could be sales volume, the dollar amount of a rebate, or the administrative cost of the program. A Monte Carlo simulation will sample values at random from a probability distribution over and over again, which will give each uncertain variable in a program design a range of different probabilities of different outcomes occurring. Depending on the number of uncertainties and the ranges specified for them, a Monte Carlo simulation could involve tens of thousands of iterations before it is complete, building a probability distribution of a range of possible outcomes along the way. This distribution provides a much more comprehensive view of what may happen when compared to traditional risk assessments, because it tells a program designer not only what could happen, but how likely it is to happen.

       

      Monte Carlo Simulations in Midstream Program Designs

      Monte Carlo simulations are used in a broad range of industries, from astronomy to insurance, but can be particularly useful in program design. As an example, EMI Consulting recently implemented a Monte Carlo simulation to help a utility evaluate the prospects of cost-effectiveness for their Energy Star Retail Products Program (ESRPP). The ESRPP Program is a nationally-coordinated, midstream program design aimed at influencing retailers to alter their product assortment and to sell, promote, and demand more energy-efficient models of home appliances in specific product groups (e.g., clothes washers, dryers, and refrigerators). Utilities and other organizations (“Program Sponsors”) across the U.S. have partnered to develop and implement ESRPP. Each participating Program Sponsor pays participating retailers per-unit incentives for every program qualified unit they sell in each program category. The program theory holds that, by increasing the sales of energy-efficient models over less efficient models, the ESRPP Program will generate energy and demand savings for utility customers in the short-, mid-, and long-term through participating retailers, while also transforming the overall market towards higher efficiency in the long-term.

      In this particular example, EMI Consulting was asked to provide a utility with key information to inform decisions about how to administer ESRPP, specifically by providing an assessment of the prospects for cost-effectiveness in each product group. The utility had developed seven possible scenarios, ranging from “conservative” to “aggressive” for certain key program elements, such as incremental measure cost, sales volume increases, and unit savings, in an Excel-based tool.

      To help the utility develop a deeper understanding of the potential benefits of the program, EMI Consulting conducted a Monte Carlo simulation of the cost-effectiveness for each product group. To achieve this, EMI Consulting first replicated the utility’s cost-effectiveness calculations as an R-based tool, then simulated market outcomes by using variation in the sales data, the measurement uncertainty in sales increase rates, and empirically-based scenarios of program effects over time to conduct a simulation of the distribution of outcomes. The Monte Carlo analysis mimicked traditional analyses previously done by using cost-effectiveness assumptions generated by the utility, but it allowed for greater nuance in the scenarios by using random draws of sales volume simulations in each product category and by allowing program costs to vary at different rate to understand a full range of possible program variation.

      By running over one million individual simulations across product groups, EMI Consulting was not only able to provide the utility with a single estimate of cost-effectiveness, we were able to provide both an average estimate of cost-effectiveness and information about how much uncertainty there was in that estimate so that the utility could understand the full range of outcomes and the risk associated with each product group. And because there were so many different inputs and scenarios, we also developed an R-based analysis tool to help the utility investigate the results and understand the distribution of outcomes for each scenario or set of scenarios.

      This Monte Carlo simulation provided the utility client with the information required to meet a wide array of needs, including the ability to answer specific questions that executives would have about the impact of the program on the overall portfolio, based on real-world insight about the market. This type of approach could be useful any time there is uncertainty about how program and measure costs are going to change and when the extent of market uptake is unknown, such as launching new energy efficiency pilots or programs, or expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure. For program evaluation, a Monte Carlo simulation could support the development and analysis of baseline market scenarios. Although the degree to which the results reflect reality is dependent on what is known about how the values will change, even coarse ranges of inputs can provide more meaningful bounds on the realm of possible outcomes than the simplistic approaches of the past that have lacked reasonable variation in important market characteristics.

  • Matt Galport
    Senior Consultant
    Making the world safe for better evaluation.

    A man of simple tastes, Matt loves three things: helping organizations make better decisions, traveling, and hiking. While visiting South Africa for six months, he was able to combine all three: he traveled the country while developing evaluation systems for the African Union. In addition to conducting state-of-the-art research and helping organizations build capacity for supporting actionable, cost-effective evaluations, Matt also develops Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on research and evaluation funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. His courses have helped thousands of professionals on every continent but one deepen their mastery of evaluation concepts. One day, Matt hopes to improve evaluations on that final continent by teaching aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica.

  • Mike Hamilton
    Senior Consultant
    Demystifying the behavior of energy consumers.

    With expertise in quantitative analysis, Mike provides our clients with an organized, thorough approach to interpreting complex data. His extensive statistical modeling experience, coupled with an understanding of how energy markets behave, enables him to deliver measurable estimates of key factors affecting energy efficiency decision-making. Before joining EMI Consulting, Mike spent more than two years researching investment preferences for energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings, helping to conduct several national market surveys. Outside of work, Mike stays busy skiing, surfing, learning bluegrass mandolin and growing berries in his garden.

    • Posted 12.3.15
      Insights: Breaking Apart Small Business Decisions regarding HVAC Maintenance Contracts:

      WHAT MATTERS MOST?

      According to the Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for over half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product and occupy 30-50% of all commercial space. (1) With increasing activity by small startup companies and lower rates of startup failure, this sector will undoubtedly remain a vital contributor of the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future. (2)

      Now pair this projection with a recent finding from the J.D. Power 2014 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study – overall satisfaction with electric utility providers is lowest among small businesses. (3) Businesses spending between $250 and $499 per month on their electric utility bill averaged about 10 points lower (on J.D. Power’s 1000 point scale) than businesses with higher utility bills.

      Why are small businesses relatively less satisfied with utility providers? Small businesses are diverse and have unique operational needs and preferences, particularly with respect to energy-related equipment and usage. Additionally, many small business owners simply do not have time and/or resources to worry about “secondary” issues like their energy bills.

      At EMI Consulting, we use innovative market research methods to help our utility clients better understand their small business customers. For example, EMI Consulting recently worked with the California investor-owned utilities to characterize how business owners and managers make decisions about the maintenance of their heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems (a copy of the report is available here ). We estimated the relative importance of decision factors related to the purchase of an HVAC maintenance contract (as shown in the figure to the right). (4) Not surprisingly, the cost of a maintenance contract is important to small business customers (accounting for 26% of the overall decision weight, on average). But our results also show that small businesses greatly value improvements in the reliability of their HVAC systems (21% of the overall decision weight). The small business stakeholders we surveyed expressed comparatively little concern over improvements in the longevity of their HVAC systems, the number of maintenance visits they receive per year, indoor air quality benefits, and environmental impacts.

      While it is clear that contract cost plays an important role in small business customers’ maintenance contract decisions, our findings also suggest that the value proposition that may resonate most deeply with the small business sector is that maintenance contracts improve the reliability of HVAC systems. Insights like this could have a big effect for programs promoting the benefits of regular maintenance.

      (1) Source: http://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ocpl/resources/13493
      (2) Source: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2015/05/nations-startup-activity-reverses-five-year-downward-trend-annual-kauffman-index-reports
      (3) Source: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-business-customer-satisfaction-study
      (4) As revealed by commercial stakeholders responsible for two or fewer business locations comprising five or fewer HVAC units.
  • Katie Cary
    Senior Consultant
    Complex analysis. Simple explanations.

    When you need thorough data analysis that’s easy to understand, talk to Katie. With degrees in economics, political science, and international public policy, she wields a broad arsenal of analytical tools capable of attacking just about any problem. And she combines it with a gift for clear communication; just ask the faculty at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, which awarded Katie its Penniman Prize for most outstanding graduate paper. In her free time, Katie can be found cheering on Tottenham Hotspur, her favorite English soccer team, hiking with her dog, and pursuing her dream to visit every U.S. national park. Katie recently moved to Seattle from Madison, and does not miss the arctic weather.

  • Krys Buckenwolf
    Office Manager & Proposal Coordinator
    Advocating for cleaner sentences and oxford commas since 2015

    Pursuing his QUEST FOR MORE SCENERY, Krys swapped his beloved CHICAGO for a different kind of skyline and landed in Seattle, where his many duties include KEEPING OUR HQ HUMMING and adding POLISH to our work products. Before joining EMI Consulting, Krys worked as a college English TEACHER, a SUPERVISOR at an animal hospital, and a TRAINER at a call center. In his free time, he tinkers at what will one day become a SERIES OF LINKED SHORT STORIES FOR A COLLABORATIVE WEB PLATFORM. You can also find him roaming QUEEN ANNE HILL, fleshing out CHARACTER PROFILES or trying to CONDITION HIS BIKE-RIDING LEGS for Seattle’s ample hills.

  • Joan Effinger
    Senior Engineer
    Passionately bridging the gap between business and engineering

    Joan has a passion for taking ideas and making them happen. A Natural Planner  and researcher, she loves to connect the dots and get to the root of the problem, with entrepreneurship in her heart. Joan has over 12 years of experience in the energy industry, including work at the National Fuel Cell Research Center, many years in energy efficiency consulting, a tech start-up, and most recently at a utility researching and piloting disruptive technologies. She is a subject matter expert in whole building measurement and verification and also has extensive experience designing and implementing innovative energy efficiency pilots and programs. When not working,  Joan enjoys Kickboxing, hiking, sailing,  and playing with her sons.

  • Emily Rich
    Consultant

    Emily holds an M.P.A. from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington where she sought to acquire every quantitative skill she could—from multivariate analysis to environmental economics to financial analysis. Chasing her obsession with electricity utilities and the energy industry, she interned in Seattle City Light’s Strategic Planning division and at the Northwest Energy Coalition as a graduate student, conducting research and analysis into residential electric rate design, demand response, and integrated resource planning. Prior to graduate school, Emily led the charge as a community organizer and advocate for energy policies in Virginia. She knows the Cascades like the back of her hand after significant time hiking, backpacking, and camping through them. She still carries the flag (and maybe shouts a bit) for the UNC basketball team, and she thinks potlucks with friends are the way to go.

    • Posted 6.6.18
      Blog Post 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 1.10.19
      Blog Post Year in Review: 5 Takeaways from 2018

      In my last post, I took a look at the midterm elections and their impact on the energy industry. But the November election results were just one part of a suite of energy industry trends that emerged in 2018. In this article, I review my top five takeaways from 2018.

      Aggressive carbon reduction goals swept the nation

      Across the country—at state, municipality, utility, and corporate levels—decision makers set aggressive carbon reduction goals in 2018. As usual, California led the charge, passing a particularly ambitious policy in September that calls for 100% clean electricity by 2045. DC followed suit in December, with a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 100% by 2032.

      And it’s not just government policies—utilities are also setting their own aggressive targets, independent of state policy. Most notably, in December, Xcel Energy set a goal to provide 100% renewable energy by 2050, showing real leadership and building on its legacy of clean energy investment. All across the country, utilities are setting deep carbon reduction goals—a trend I expect will continue in 2019.

      Companies, too, continued to build brands around sustainability and clean energy. 2018 broke the record for corporate renewable procurement. This continues a clean business trend from recent years—in 2017, the Climate Group announced that companies with combined annual consumption of 150 terawatt-hours had signed onto 100% clean energy by 2020 commitments.

      Customer relationships increased in importance

      The utility business model is becoming increasingly threatened by customer defection from the grid—whether through rooftop solar, third-party energy procurement, or community-choice aggregation (CCA) participation. In California, where CCAs have been most prolific, the California Public Utility Commission expected that, by the end of 2018, customers who moved away from 100% reliance on investor-owned utilities for electricity would make up 25% of retail load. This suggests that utilities can no longer rely on all customers in their service territory to buy all their power from them, putting utility cost recovery at risk.

      As utilities grapple with customer choice in the market, the importance of their relationships with customers only increases. In 2018, we saw the nature of utilities’ customer relationships continue to change. Utilities took a variety of different steps to cement their customer relationships based on their unique circumstances. Some utilities began to adopt a platform model where they serve as a hub for clean energy, some provided customer-centric offerings that go beyond energy to provide additional value to the customer, and some began to build offerings that integrate services across different parts of the utility.

      Coal consumption continued to decline

      In 2018, the Energy Information Administration expected a 4% decline in coal consumption from 2017—setting the record low annual coal consumption since 1979. This decline began in 2007, when coal consumption peaked in the US. Relatedly, the US closed more coal-fired generation capacity in 2018 than in any other year in history, with an expected 15.4 GW shut down in 2018.

      Alternative regulatory models began to emerge

      The utility business model is changing, and we’re starting to see the regulatory environment change, too. In 2018, it became even more clear that the traditional cost-of-service regulatory model, which allows utilities to recover the costs of service plus a return, no longer meets all the needs of utilities. The traditional regulatory model favors infrastructure investment and limits utilities’ abilities to invest in new products and services like clean energy and transportation electrification. As utilities become cleaner, more distributed, and more customer-focused, the traditional model will no longer be able to meet all utility needs.

      As pointed out in Rocky Mountain Institute's Navigating Utility Business Reform, there are many facets of regulatory reform, from performance incentives to changes in treatment of expenditures, to incorporation of new value-add services. Commissions across the country (e.g., Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Hawaii) opened dockets in 2018 that tackle some aspect of alternative utility regulation. This trend will continue into 2019, as states wrestle with how best to regulate utilities in a changing environment. 

      Electrification was central to the deep decarbonization discussion

      As outlined in a great 2018 Regulatory Assistance Project paper, beneficial electrification is good for both customers and utilities—and the planet! It saves customers money in the long run and reduces negative environmental impacts. In 2018, we saw utilities contend with how to implement beneficial electrification in their service territories. The concept of electrification is simple—convert historically-fossil-powered end uses (like cars and hot-water heaters) to electricity, which will only grow cleaner with time. As utilities face stagnant sales forecasts, electrification has the added benefit of increasing sales for utilities, which can decrease the cost burden for customers. 

      Electric transportation has emerged as a clear strategy for success. According to Advanced Energy Economy, $880 million in EV infrastructure programs were approved in 2018, with $1.5 million still pending. This number is up from $58 million in 2017 (over 15 times more investment). As electric vehicle adoption continues to accelerate in the US, utilities that invest in transportation electrification infrastructure will be well-positioned for the transformation. Building electrification, which encompasses space and water heating, is a slightly tougher nut to crack, but we’re seeing utilities consider plans to tackle that sector, too.

    • Posted 2.28.19
      Energy Blog What’s the big (Green New) Deal?

      In December’s post, I wrote about how new leaders elected to Congress were prioritizing climate more than ever before. I’m going to spend the next two months digging into this idea in more detail. For this post, I’m going to discuss a specific case where new Congressional reps have brought climate to the forefront, with a deep dive into the Green New Deal (GND) proposal. Next month, I’ll go even deeper into one part of the proposal—100% clean energy. While the particulars in the GND are still far from resembling an actual piece of legislation, the ideas are not going to go anywhere.

      Many incoming Congressional reps have been more vocal than ever about the need to take action on climate change—action that’s commensurate with the scale of the problem. In particular, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is pressing the issue with her ambitious—and contentious—Green New Deal policy resolution.

      More than just a policy proposal, the GND is a vision document that lays out how we could tackle two societal problems, climate change and economic insecurity, with a large-scale national transformation. A formal draft of the resolution was released in early February.

      With a nod to FDR’s New Deal policies, the GND would create a nationwide mobilization around clean energy and environmental justice, recommending an extremely high level of investment in clean energy and infrastructure. The key goals—reducing emissions and creating jobs while prioritizing environmental justice—are to be achieved in ten years by a set of projects and programs including investment in resiliency, provision of 100% clean electricity, upgrading our infrastructure and building stock, and more.

      But it’s not just about carbon reduction policies and programs. There’s also a focus on progressive politics, too. The proposal includes provisions for union protection, universal healthcare, and a job guarantee for all Americans. These components underscore the GND’s emphasis on justice—not just an afterthought, but the main course.

      This proposal is markedly different from what we’ve seen in the past, especially at the federal level. Pivoting from the trend of market-based mechanisms (like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies), this proposal does not shy away from public investment; rather, it openly calls for massive investment to address the problem. Another difference is that it places a more distinct emphasis on disproportionately impacted communities, adding a social justice component that other climate policies have lacked.

      Perhaps the most important difference from other carbon policies is the GND’s ambition. The proposal calls for solutions that match the scale of the problem, and it rejects the notion that step-by-step policy changes can get the job done. On the importance of this approach, Ocasio-Cortez said:

      "Climate change and our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life. Not just as a nation, but as a world… What this resolution is doing is saying this is our first step. Our first step is to define the problem and define the scope of the solution. And so we're here to say that small, incremental policy solutions are not enough. They can be part of a solution but they are not the solution unto itself."

      Skeptics would argue that it is difficult enough to pass common-sense, incremental solutions, and they might be hard-pressed to imagine how this proposal’s recommendations will ever come to bear. Given the current makeup of Congress, it’s unlikely that a policy this ambitious and broad could pass the House, let alone the Senate.

      But the political feasibility of the proposal doesn’t seem to be the point. The GND is a vision—a picture of the future that activists and advocates can line up behind, a line in the sand that progressives can hold leaders to, and a model for showcasing just how ambitious proposals will have to be to see adequate carbon reductions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

      For now, it’s likely that we will continue to see states model policies after pieces of the proposal (like 100% clean electricity). For instance, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled out a corollary in mid-January. If the federal proposal or state-level versions do reach the realm of actual policymaking, many elements would be fought tooth and nail—the level of investment, the inclusion of progressive components, what counts as clean energy, and more. Despite major obstacles, however, the ideas behind the GND are not going anywhere; activists will continue to demand solutions that are commensurate with the scale of the problem, and the progressive movement will continue to press for a high-investment solution. Utilities need to prepare to respond to specific policies and frameworks drawn from the GND. But, in a broader sense, they also need to expect to be held to a higher standard from ratepayers, as more and more ratepayers are also activists who demand action that matches the urgency of the problem.

  • Julie Scrivner
    Consultant

    Julie is passionate about understanding the regulatory, social, and economic contexts of current energy issues. She has a wide range of qualitative research experiences focused on improving how communities interact with their limited resources. Before joining EMI Consulting, Julie spent two years digging into utility residential and commercial customer engagement in energy efficiency programs. The ultimate extra-curricular enthusiast, Julie is frequently found climbing mountains, dancing with her hip-hop crew, speaking Spanish at a local community center, or volunteering with a poverty alleviation group in downtown Seattle.

    • Posted 11.21.18
      Event Insights Five Ways to Tackle Utility Engagement in the Electric Vehicle Space

      Held on November 14 at the Georgia Tech campus, the ACEEE 2018 National Convening on Utilities and Electric Vehicles was an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders in the transportation electrification sector (including the Georgia Public Service Commission, Greenlots, ChargePoint, Kansas City Power & Light, Rocky Mountain Institute, Nissan, and Lyft) to come together and discuss the rapidly-evolving electric vehicle (EV) space. During all-day discussions on the opportunities and challenges for different actors, five pressing actions emerged as opportunities for utility engagement. These actions included:

      • Educating customers
      • Modifying rates
      • Optimizing the grid
      • Building infrastructure
      • Creating partnerships

      First, utilities can support EV adoption by educating and engaging customers with simple and easy messaging on EVs to raise awareness across all customer groups. Utilities already have experience in customer outreach through outage updates and energy efficiency program marketing—experience they can leverage to take advantage of the opportunity to market EVs and build a stronger customer relationship that goes beyond a customer’s electricity bill. Transportation electrification can benefit all customers from decreased emissions, decreased maintenance costs, decreased fueling costs, and more. Various organizations at the National Convening discussed best practices for how to market EVs to customers, including:

      1. Butts in Seats – Offer test drives or short-term (at least one week) leases.
      2. Lead by Example – Electrify and brand fleets.
      3. Give EVs a Broad Appeal – Cater EV messaging to customer and politicians’ interests in the area, moving beyond “green” messaging when needed.

      For example, Tim Echols from the Georgia Public Service Commission shared the difference between the state’s positive response to solar, which benefited counties across Georgia, compared to the state’s extremely negative response to EVs, which are perceived to only benefit certain counties and politicians.

      Second, utilities should develop usable, understandable, and predictable rates for public EV chargers. Right now, demand charges make up a significant portion of public charging costs for both charger owners and users. The EV market will have a hard time driving (pun intended) ‘early majority’ adoption if it is more expensive to fuel an EV outside of the home than a gas car. Modifying rates to make the cost of fueling EVs competitive with the cost of gas will enable EV adoption by customers who need to charge publicly (e.g., residents at multifamily properties without home or work charging options, customers who are driving long distances). Utilities in California, New Jersey, and Minnesota have proposed a variety of rates that focus on right-sizing demand charges with charging station utilization, upon which other utilities can build.  Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recommends a rate structure that starts the demand charges at zero and then increases the amount as charging station use increases.

      A third action is for utilities to use EVs as a grid asset to balance demand and increase grid utilization. Right now, the majority of EV drivers charge their car at home after work during ‘peak hours’ when the demand for energy from the grid is the highest. Smart EV charging management is a unique opportunity for utilities to balance demand for electricity across the day which can lead to additional revenue, lower the cost of electricity for customers, and mitigate the impact of carbon-intensive plants that go online during peak times of demand. That being said, it is important for utilities to manage charging behavior in a manner that makes sense for their customers, which may or may not include a time-of-use rate (TOU). Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) pointed out that TOU pricing only lasted in the cell phone industry for five years. Whatever approach utilities choose to use should always include a focus on education and ease. For example, one stakeholder found that customers responded well to ‘happy hour pricing.’ Most importantly, utilities should implement these smart charging management strategies now, as the ‘early majority’ adopts EVs, to embed behaviors from day one.

      A fourth action is for utilities to update buildings so that they are ‘EV-ready’ and/or own EV charging stations. As of now, there is no business model for profitable private investment in charging stations. Utilities have been making power plant investments that impact the next 50 years, not just the near future, and have the opportunity to do the same with charging infrastructure. Utilities can provide ‘patient capital’ while utilization rates are low and then allow the private market to take over once use of charging stations increases to a profitable rate. Furthermore, now and in the future, utilities can help serve low-income communities by building out and owning infrastructure for communities that cannot afford to purchase and install charging units.

      Finally, utilities should seek to create partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to drive adoption efforts. There is an opportunity to take advantage of the nascent market now, building important partnerships with a commitment to long-term engagement. For example, when KCP&L found through their research that dealers were not selling EVs because they didn’t have customer-facing materials or encouraging commission incentives, the utility created educational materials and gave out EV incentives to dealers. Greenlots partnered with the City of Los Angeles to help the city figure out what infrastructure would be needed for city vehicles like refuse trucks and pursuit vehicles, and they have held discussions about how they might prepare for evacuation via EVs during natural disasters. Lyft partnered with Georgia Power to give an incentive ‘cash boost’ to EV owners to encourage them to join the platform as a driver in an effort to electrify the rideshare network.  

      Stakeholders at the conference all agreed utilities should play a role in EV adoption. Even if a utility isn’t ready or able to take all five actions outlined above, they can make huge strides by taking two steps: (1) educating customers across their service territory about EVs, as all utility customers can benefit from EVs, and (2) modifying demand charges to reflect actual charging impact on grid. As with any new technology, utilities should create space to support and allow this market to grow without defining how the market will look in the future.

  • Robert Saul
    Consultant
    Helping to humanize data through sharper visuals

    Robert is an exception to the archetype of a data-driven analyst, being an extrovert but also passionate about digging into the details. For the past two years, he has worked specifically in energy evaluation, including working on projects for most forms of residential lighting programs, evaluating programs in Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, both Carolinas, Indiana, New York, and Ohio. He has also led training efforts for energy efficiency fieldwork and is the go-to guy for helping put together the best client presentations and coaching on delivery. He strongly believes visuals humanize data and he’s not shy about how much of a data-viz geek he is. Be ready for many graph puns unleashed through social media. Robert may also be the most hardcore cyclist we have on staff, having toured Europe as well as a taking 6-week ride from Vancouver to Tijuana.

  • Mary Boyd
    Project Coordinator

    Mary enjoys the behind-the-scene work that keeps projects moving. From managing budgets to coordinating resources and fostering communication across teams, she masters the details that keep projects in scope and on budget. Mary’s educational background is in web design, with a focus on accessibility and inclusive design, and she has experience managing projects across various industries, including corporate and public events and conferences, web and graphic design, and web development. Mary is a life-time Pacific North Westerner. Outside of work, you can find her cheering for cooking competition shows with the fervor of a sports fan and making plans to fulfill her goal of visiting every state capitol.

  • Lauren Holstein
    Associate Consultant

    Lauren is on a personal mission to ensure that everyone has the ability and access to interact with, understand, and build data into their decision-making process. She has a wide range of experience on both the qualitative and quantitative side of analysis, and is passionate about connecting clients with data instruments, visualizations, and reports that suit their unique needs. During her MPA program at the University of Washington, Lauren helped create analysis tools for the federal government, foundations, nonprofits, and community organizations. Prior to attending graduate school, Lauren traveled the world as an ESL teacher in South Korea and France and had some amazing opportunities, like watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat and snorkeling with a reef shark in the Andaman Sea. In her free time, Lauren loves camping, trying out new recipes, skiing, whitewater rafting, evaluating which restaurant has the best pizza in Seattle, and fulfilling her goal of traveling to a different country every year.

  • David Wagner
    Associate Consultant

    David is thrilled to be working with utilities to help them achieve their energy efficiency goals. He understands the regulatory landscape of clean energy, having worked in the federal government with environmental economists and in academia with policy and sustainable transportation experts. David enjoys solving challenging problems and discovering actionable insights, especially when it involves pouring over energy data. He studied environmental politics and economics at Pomona College, where he worked hands on with the sustainability office to address pressing energy issues. Originally from Maryland, David enjoys exploring the city of Seattle and the nearby natural landscape.

Leadership Team
  • Rob Bordner
    Founder & CEO
    Rob Bordner
    Strategy and vision from an energy-efficiency thought leader.

    Drawing on three decades in the energy industry, Rob helps clients develop better strategies by providing a forward-looking, systems-based perspective encompassing the industry’s technical, economic and organizational dimensions. An economist by training, Rob’s experience dates to the early 1980s, when he worked with the pioneering firm that built New England’s first wind farm. Rob founded EMI Consulting in 1995 to combine his passion for sustainable energy with his talent for innovative and insightful research. His expertise and interest lies in strategic planning, energy policy, scenario analysis, systems theory, emerging technology and program evaluation. As CEO, he holds the vision for the firm, mapping growth as he mentors staff. When he’s not working, Rob enjoys listening to live music in small venues, sailing the Salish Sea, backpacking in the Olympics, browsing farmers markets and making wine. Rob also founded two youth-focused ventures—Vashon Independent Scouts and Sharing the Stage—combining his interests in music, the outdoors, mentoring and youth empowerment. Rob is working to reduce his ecological footprint to the size of one off-shore-capable sailboat.

    • Posted 1.19.15
      Insights: EMI Consulting: 20 Years!

      EMI Consulting was founded in the loft of a barn, sharing space with a Saddlebred horse, an ornery Shetland pony, and some polled Dorset sheep.  My objective was to engage my entrepreneurial instincts in the energy field I am so passionate about while also earning a good living, having balance, and spending time with my kids. 

      Twenty years later, as we approach a staff of thirty, creating a thriving and progressive place of work continues to be a top priority.  The loft space we now occupy in downtown Seattle is much larger, devoid of wild chickens in the background, and humming with activity as we work away on over 40 projects with clients in 20 different states.  In my role as CEO, some of the greatest moments come when I am working with our younger staff, many of whom are just starting out in their careers.  They are the future, and each is sure to make their mark. 

      This is such an incredibly exciting time to be working in the energy industry; the rate of technology change and innovation is rapid, and seemingly increasing each week.  Central plants, energy efficiency, distributed renewables, storage, the Internet of Things, and nanotechnology all have a role in this emerging energy system of the future.  I am grateful to all who have contributed to our success, including current and past employees, clients, and our families.  It is a privilege to work with such a great team and to work with such an amazing professional community of clients and peers — many of whom have also become lifelong friends. The work we are doing today to support a clean energy future is good work, work that is worth doing.  And I am looking forward to all that unfolds going forward!  

  • Julie Rey
    President
    Julie Rey
    Driving growth and delivering outstanding client experiences

    Julie brings expertise in LEADING CONSULTING COMPANIES through substantial GROWTH CYCLES. She has spent two decades working in RAPIDLY TRANSFORMING INDUSTRIES, helping companies to adapt, INNOVATE, and DIFFERENTIATE themselves. Julie believes that the NEW ENERGY ECONOMY holds great promise for utility companies, as well as the rest of society, as the country transitions to a LOW-CARBON ENERGY FUTURE. Julie is responsible for expanding EMI Consulting market share, deepening the firm's strategic “UTILITY OF THE FUTURE” SERVICE OFFERINGS, and managing the company’s GROWING STAFF. Her SIX SIGMA MASTER BLACK BELT reflects a true dedication to quality. She is a LIFELONG LEARNER, holding a master’s degree and two bachelor’s degrees. She and her husband have two teenage boys who are both jazz musicians. She enjoys PLAYING BARITONE SAXOPHONE, taking (amateur) PHOTOS of people out in the world, COOKING world cuisines with her family, YOGA, and SKIING.

    • Posted 1.31.18
      Insights: 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

       

      ###

       

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

  • Matthew Rose
    Director
    Matthew Rose
    For 30 years, an energy-industry go-to guy.

    After more than three decades as an energy industry consultant, Matthew is as passionate as ever about helping clients Understand and resolve their issues. His secret? Helping them first clearly articulate their needs and define their vision of success.  A patient, grounding presence, Matthew listens closely and makes sure he and his clients grasp all the Elements of their challenge before delving into solutions. It’s an approach that agrees with his clients: he’s worked with many for well over a decade. Matthew has traveled extensively throughout most of the U.S., nearly all the Canadian provinces, and in Scandinavia and the Philippines. He enjoys canoeing Michigan’s storied rivers, watching hockey, fishing, and playing bluegrass mandolin and guitar.

    • Posted 7.24.17
      Insights: 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.

  • Jeremy Kraft
    Director of Consulting and Analysis
    Jeremy Kraft
    Improving the nation’s energy efficiency programs, one evaluation at a time.

    Mix a thorough understanding of energy efficiency with a masterful grasp of research methodology, toss in airtight project management and a passion for sustainability, and you get Jeremy. His experience includes program evaluations in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine and Connecticut. His current professional interests include helping utilities identify the next generation of DSM programs and working to transform how evaluation research is used within the industry. Jeremy moved to Seattle after 15 years in Wisconsin and won’t shut up about how the cheese is better back home.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: Evaluators as a Partner, not an Auditor

      In our evaluation work, we come across two kinds of requests from utilities and public service commissions. The first kind is the classic summative evaluation. A program has been running for a year or two and the utility needs someone to come in and assess its performance. At the end of the day, the evaluators provide recommendations for program improvements and realization rates to apply to reported savings. The second kind is when a utility is looking for a long-term evaluation partner. Someone that can sit at the table up-front and help the program administrators understand the programs they are running before the summative “evaluation” begins.

      Recently, we’ve been playing this role with clients more frequently and the benefits are tangible. We’ve vetted savings calculation methodologies prior to approval of large custom projects and double-checked application materials against TRMs to avoid realization rate surprises. We've created process flow maps to identify implementation bottlenecks before they occur instead of identifying them retroactively via complaints from participants during a telephone survey. We've conducted web usability tests to understand how trade allies interact with a new portal before it’s launched to maximize uptake and participation with the new offering. 

      In every case, we’re using our skills as evaluators to solve problems before they occur. We still play our critical M&V role – verifying that savings are real and that programs are efficient – but we help programs run better in the meantime.

Policy, Planning & Evaluation Team
  • Kara Crohn
    Associate Director
    Kara Crohn
    Evaluation expertise that opens a window onto your programs.

    Besides the focus and high standards you’d expect of a former gymnast, rower and track athlete, Kara has 20 years of experience in research. She serves our clients with a thorough knowledge of program evaluation theory, qualitative and mixed-methods research design, Customer Market Research, evaluation capacity building, and training design and evaluation. Outside of work, she volunteers with the Riverside GREEN Mapping and Integration team to help account for and coordinate sustainability-related initiatives across the city. When she’s not evaluating something, Kara loves hiking with her family and sneaking off to dance classes to maintain the balance, strength, creativity and flexibility she needs to keep up with her sons.

    • Posted 2.25.16
      Insights: Process Mapping Primes the Pump for Successful Program Design and Useful Process Evaluations

      When we embark on a journey with our clients to support program design or to understand what really makes a program work, we start by developing a logic model with them. Logic modeling clarifies program staff’s and stakeholders’ understanding of how the activities they perform will logically lead to the goals they want to attain, and it establishes interim markers of success that can be measured along the way. However, it is often necessary to dig deeper into how activities are conducted to identify places where efficiency can be designed into the program’s operations.

      Process mapping is the tool we use to go deeper. The opportunity cost of not creating process maps is potentially overlooking gaps or redundancies in the program’s activities that could have saved the program money, time, or frustration had they been identified and resolved sooner. With this in mind, we work with program staff and those who interact with the program to collectively map out day-to-day operations; to have a conversation they rarely, if ever, have time for during their day. To get the most out of the exercise, it is critical to have the right people in the room and to foster an environment of exploration that respects differences in perspective.

      From a program design perspective, we use process mapping for locating opportunities to build in efficiency from the beginning, avoid pitfalls, and engender collaboration across job roles. From a process evaluation perspective, we focus evaluation questions on aspects of the program process in most need of feedback and tie performance metrics to critical program process steps. We also map the actual process against the designed process to more thoroughly identify implementation fidelity questions and, ultimately, feed timely design considerations back into the program design cycle.

      Process mapping is a simple tool that requires methodologically rigorous facilitation to produce meaningful results. Facilitated well, staff and stakeholders who participate in the process mapping exercise leave with a deeper appreciation for the work they each perform and some immediate steps to improve the efficiency of their work. They also have a better understanding of how their daily actions will lead to longer-term, farther-reaching goals described in their logic model. 

  • Lisa Perry
    Managing Consultant
    Lisa Perry
    Equally fluent in econometrics and eggplant.

    Lisa offers expertise in both economic theory and research methods, with a focus on evaluating how behavioral responses shape the effectiveness of policies and programs. Her academic background includes application of advanced econometrics, including differences-in-differences regressions, instrumental variables regressions and regression discontinuity. Originally from Michigan, Lisa spent two years in Washington, D.C. before landing in Seattle. She loves exploring the Pacific Northwest's natural and urban wonders, from hiking and camping to farmers' markets and microbreweries. In addition to traveling and playing tennis, she grows vegetables in her backyard and experiments with new ways to cook them.

    • Posted 9.9.14
      Insights: How far can energy efficiency financing take us?

      Financing programs should be seen as a valuable complement, not replacement, for traditional utility programs.  Financing programs are one of today's fastest growing types of energy efficiency program, in part because they offer policy makers and utilities the tantalizing possibility of replacing taxpayer and ratepayer funding with private capital. This was an argument I heard applied from states as diverse as Connecticut to Ohio at the 2014 ACEEE Finance Forum.

      The challenge with the idea that financing programs can replace traditional utility programs is that financing by itself does not overcome all of the barriers that traditional utility programs target through rebates, marketing, and education. Take rebates, for example. While financing can help overcome customers’ barriers related to high first cost and lack of capital, these are not the only reasons utilities offer rebates. Rebates can be necessary when a project that is not cost-effective for an individual customer is economical for the utility. This can occur because customers make decisions about efficiency project payback based on their current energy rates, while utilities' cost-effectiveness is based on the higher marginal costs of investing in additional supply or generation. By helping align customers' payback with the value of efficiency for the utilities, rebates can be an important tool to help utilities meet demand at the lowest cost possible. Financing programs do not address the underlying differences in the economics of efficiency for customers and utilities. 

      Of course, money isn't everything. The growing field of behavioral programs is showing us just how much factors other than payback matter to customers. At least as currently designed, financing programs do not provide customers with information, education, and non-financial motivators that utility programs have found can drive efficiency. 

  • Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Senior Consultant
    Hannah Carmalt Justus
    Our resident process cartographer.

    Hannah has contributed to diverse evaluation and planning projects for utilities across the country. She specializes in process mapping and focuses much of her research on community-based programs and social marketing techniques. Most recently, Hannah helped develop evaluation plans for Consumers Energy’s pilot programs. She also managed an evaluation of a community-based program in Wisconsin and conducted research on CUSTOMER AND TRADE ALLY ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES. Currently, Hannah is leading a portfolio-level evaluation for Xcel Energy. Much of her recent research has focused on MIDSTREAM or TRADE ALLY-LED PROGRAMS throughout the country, and she has also evaluated community-based SOCIAL MARKETING techniques in Wisconsin and California. She previously worked in New York City for Seamus Henchy and Associates, a project management firm, and completed graduate work in sustainable community development and behavior. Hannah has lived in Australia and Ireland. She enjoys Washington State’s parks and is partial to hiking, Canoeing, and skiing.

  • Brett Close
    Managing Consultant
    Brett Close
    Passionate about data and the people behind them

    Brett has been working in energy efficiency since graduating from college, but he has been thinking about the utility of the future since high school, when he wrote his senior paper about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Brett has always had a passion for connecting the quantitative and the qualitative, the sciences and the humanities. He started college in physics labs but transitioned to a major in public policy analysis with a physics emphasis, and added in a second major of Medieval history (just for fun). Today his work combines advanced statistical methods with thoughtful modeling of the human interactions that drive markets, policies, and programs. When not crunching numbers, he enjoys hiking, baking bread, brewing beer and cider, and traveling the world with his wife and young son.

    • Posted 10.5.18
      Insights: Market Transformation off to a Healthy Start with RPP

      As energy efficiency compliance goals continue to increase and savings opportunities for some technologies are increasingly harder to capture cost-effectively, utilities have begun shifting their focus to longer-term market transformation programs.

      These programs seek to transform how markets operate to increase adoption of efficient practices, rather than changing individual purchase or design decisions. The ENERGY STAR Retail Products Platform (RPP) program, a nationally-coordinated effort between participating utility sponsors and US EPA ENERGY STAR, is one of the most promising market transformation programs being implemented today.
      EMI Consulting is excited to have the opportunity to work with RPP program administrators across the country and to have completed one of the first evaluations of an RPP program with our report for Consolidated Edison’s program. EMI Consulting’s evaluation approach applied a variety of methods, including shelf surveys, model-level sales data, and combining in-depth interviews with the results of national retailer interviews to develop a comprehensive picture of the program’s operation and its effect on the retail market in Con Edison territory. We found that the Con Edison RPP Program, even though relatively new, is already starting to increase sales of some types of efficient products.

      EMI Consulting is undertaking similar efforts for other utility clients, where we provide evaluation, adoption modeling, and regulatory support services. This reflects another example of how EMI Consulting is on the cutting edge of examining market opportunities for its clients.

      The full report for Con Edison, can be found here.

    • Posted 3.15.19
      Insights: Monte Carlo Simulation for Better Market Transformation Program Design

      The Challenge

      Planning for a new downstream demand-side management (DSM) program or pilot is always a challenge as there are so many unknowns. What interventions will convince customers to change their behavior to buying efficient products or implementing more efficient projects: incentives, on-bill financing, expert design guidance? How effective will those interventions be and how much will they cost? These challenges are only magnified when developing a midstream or upstream market transformation program because utilities have no direct interaction with the end user, which brings up a whole new set of important questions. How will retailers, manufacturers, and distributors respond to the program? How will customers respond to the changes in the market? What does that mean for changes in program costs and benefits over time? And how will all of these changes impact budgets and program cost-effectiveness? By foregoing direct interaction with customer, upstream and midstream energy efficiency programs offer energy efficiency program administrators an opportunity to achieve large program volume at low administrative cost by shifting the direct interaction of the program from a large number of end-users to a small number of influential market actors (retailers, distributors, or manufacturers). But to do so, they have to give up a measure of control over factors that, nonetheless, impact program success and cost-effectiveness.

      Due to the complexity of these questions and the number of moving parts, program planners often try to assess midstream or upstream programs under a small set of scenarios (e.g., how cost effective would the program be if all costs come down rapidly and market uptake is high vs. all costs remain high and market uptake is low?). But what these scenarios gain in simplicity, they lack in nuance and depth. They don’t provide insight into more realistic scenarios in which some things go well, and others don’t, they don’t directly reflect what planners know about the underlying unknowns in the market, and they don’t accurately reflect how much that underlying unpredictability drives uncertainty in outcomes.

       

      A Possible Solution

      Rather than limiting program design and planning to simplistic scenarios, a Monte Carlo simulation allows program planners to include a variety of realistic cases, showing a range possible outcomes of planning decisions and external factors, and to assess the impact of risk. The capacity of the simulation to account for so many variables allows for better decision-making under uncertainty.

      A Monte Carlo simulation is a mathematical technique that was first developed in the 30s but not in common practice until recent advances in computing power. It allows analysts to account for a vast range of uncertainties through an iterative quantitative analysis process, using random draws from distributions of inputs, much like a gambling game at one of the famous casinos in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Here, instead of throwing the dice a few times to estimate how a program will react under different scenarios, modern computers allow Monte Carlo simulation to “throw the dice” thousands and thousands of times in order to build both a range of possible outcomes and even the probabilities that they will occur for any choice of action. This type of simulation provides a program designer with the outcomes of the most aggressive and conservative scenarios, along with a range of possible outcomes for everything in between, ensuring that program design decisions can take into account the range of possible outcomes and analyze the overall systemic risks and opportunities for their portfolios.

       

      Under the Hood: How Monte Carlo Simulations Work

      Monte Carlo simulations work by building ranges of possible outcomes through the substitution of values from a probability distribution for any specific component that has uncertainty, as well as sets of other fixed inputs. In the case of a midstream program design at a utility, these components could be sales volume, the dollar amount of a rebate, or the administrative cost of the program. A Monte Carlo simulation will sample values at random from a probability distribution over and over again, which will give each uncertain variable in a program design a range of different probabilities of different outcomes occurring. Depending on the number of uncertainties and the ranges specified for them, a Monte Carlo simulation could involve tens of thousands of iterations before it is complete, building a probability distribution of a range of possible outcomes along the way. This distribution provides a much more comprehensive view of what may happen when compared to traditional risk assessments, because it tells a program designer not only what could happen, but how likely it is to happen.

       

      Monte Carlo Simulations in Midstream Program Designs

      Monte Carlo simulations are used in a broad range of industries, from astronomy to insurance, but can be particularly useful in program design. As an example, EMI Consulting recently implemented a Monte Carlo simulation to help a utility evaluate the prospects of cost-effectiveness for their Energy Star Retail Products Program (ESRPP). The ESRPP Program is a nationally-coordinated, midstream program design aimed at influencing retailers to alter their product assortment and to sell, promote, and demand more energy-efficient models of home appliances in specific product groups (e.g., clothes washers, dryers, and refrigerators). Utilities and other organizations (“Program Sponsors”) across the U.S. have partnered to develop and implement ESRPP. Each participating Program Sponsor pays participating retailers per-unit incentives for every program qualified unit they sell in each program category. The program theory holds that, by increasing the sales of energy-efficient models over less efficient models, the ESRPP Program will generate energy and demand savings for utility customers in the short-, mid-, and long-term through participating retailers, while also transforming the overall market towards higher efficiency in the long-term.

      In this particular example, EMI Consulting was asked to provide a utility with key information to inform decisions about how to administer ESRPP, specifically by providing an assessment of the prospects for cost-effectiveness in each product group. The utility had developed seven possible scenarios, ranging from “conservative” to “aggressive” for certain key program elements, such as incremental measure cost, sales volume increases, and unit savings, in an Excel-based tool.

      To help the utility develop a deeper understanding of the potential benefits of the program, EMI Consulting conducted a Monte Carlo simulation of the cost-effectiveness for each product group. To achieve this, EMI Consulting first replicated the utility’s cost-effectiveness calculations as an R-based tool, then simulated market outcomes by using variation in the sales data, the measurement uncertainty in sales increase rates, and empirically-based scenarios of program effects over time to conduct a simulation of the distribution of outcomes. The Monte Carlo analysis mimicked traditional analyses previously done by using cost-effectiveness assumptions generated by the utility, but it allowed for greater nuance in the scenarios by using random draws of sales volume simulations in each product category and by allowing program costs to vary at different rate to understand a full range of possible program variation.

      By running over one million individual simulations across product groups, EMI Consulting was not only able to provide the utility with a single estimate of cost-effectiveness, we were able to provide both an average estimate of cost-effectiveness and information about how much uncertainty there was in that estimate so that the utility could understand the full range of outcomes and the risk associated with each product group. And because there were so many different inputs and scenarios, we also developed an R-based analysis tool to help the utility investigate the results and understand the distribution of outcomes for each scenario or set of scenarios.

      This Monte Carlo simulation provided the utility client with the information required to meet a wide array of needs, including the ability to answer specific questions that executives would have about the impact of the program on the overall portfolio, based on real-world insight about the market. This type of approach could be useful any time there is uncertainty about how program and measure costs are going to change and when the extent of market uptake is unknown, such as launching new energy efficiency pilots or programs, or expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure. For program evaluation, a Monte Carlo simulation could support the development and analysis of baseline market scenarios. Although the degree to which the results reflect reality is dependent on what is known about how the values will change, even coarse ranges of inputs can provide more meaningful bounds on the realm of possible outcomes than the simplistic approaches of the past that have lacked reasonable variation in important market characteristics.

  • Matt Galport
    Senior Consultant
    Matt Galport
    Making the world safe for better evaluation.

    A man of simple tastes, Matt loves three things: helping organizations make better decisions, traveling, and hiking. While visiting South Africa for six months, he was able to combine all three: he traveled the country while developing evaluation systems for the African Union. In addition to conducting state-of-the-art research and helping organizations build capacity for supporting actionable, cost-effective evaluations, Matt also develops Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on research and evaluation funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. His courses have helped thousands of professionals on every continent but one deepen their mastery of evaluation concepts. One day, Matt hopes to improve evaluations on that final continent by teaching aboard a research vessel bound for Antarctica.

  • Katie Cary
    Senior Consultant
    Katie Cary
    Complex analysis. Simple explanations.

    When you need thorough data analysis that’s easy to understand, talk to Katie. With degrees in economics, political science, and international public policy, she wields a broad arsenal of analytical tools capable of attacking just about any problem. And she combines it with a gift for clear communication; just ask the faculty at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, which awarded Katie its Penniman Prize for most outstanding graduate paper. In her free time, Katie can be found cheering on Tottenham Hotspur, her favorite English soccer team, hiking with her dog, and pursuing her dream to visit every U.S. national park. Katie recently moved to Seattle from Madison, and does not miss the arctic weather.

  • Robert Saul
    Consultant
    Robert Saul
    Helping to humanize data through sharper visuals

    Robert is an exception to the archetype of a data-driven analyst, being an extrovert but also passionate about digging into the details. For the past two years, he has worked specifically in energy evaluation, including working on projects for most forms of residential lighting programs, evaluating programs in Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, both Carolinas, Indiana, New York, and Ohio. He has also led training efforts for energy efficiency fieldwork and is the go-to guy for helping put together the best client presentations and coaching on delivery. He strongly believes visuals humanize data and he’s not shy about how much of a data-viz geek he is. Be ready for many graph puns unleashed through social media. Robert may also be the most hardcore cyclist we have on staff, having toured Europe as well as a taking 6-week ride from Vancouver to Tijuana.

  • Lauren Holstein
    Associate Consultant
    Lauren Holstein

    Lauren is on a personal mission to ensure that everyone has the ability and access to interact with, understand, and build data into their decision-making process. She has a wide range of experience on both the qualitative and quantitative side of analysis, and is passionate about connecting clients with data instruments, visualizations, and reports that suit their unique needs. During her MPA program at the University of Washington, Lauren helped create analysis tools for the federal government, foundations, nonprofits, and community organizations. Prior to attending graduate school, Lauren traveled the world as an ESL teacher in South Korea and France and had some amazing opportunities, like watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat and snorkeling with a reef shark in the Andaman Sea. In her free time, Lauren loves camping, trying out new recipes, skiing, whitewater rafting, evaluating which restaurant has the best pizza in Seattle, and fulfilling her goal of traveling to a different country every year.

  • David Wagner
    Associate Consultant
    David Wagner

    David is thrilled to be working with utilities to help them achieve their energy efficiency goals. He understands the regulatory landscape of clean energy, having worked in the federal government with environmental economists and in academia with policy and sustainable transportation experts. David enjoys solving challenging problems and discovering actionable insights, especially when it involves pouring over energy data. He studied environmental politics and economics at Pomona College, where he worked hands on with the sustainability office to address pressing energy issues. Originally from Maryland, David enjoys exploring the city of Seattle and the nearby natural landscape.

Customer & Market Research Team
  • Donna Whitsett
    Managing Consultant
    Donna Whitsett
    Using her research powers for good.

    How serious is Donna about energy sustainability? Forty miles into her cross-country move from Houston to Seattle, Donna’s car broke down. She abandoned her vehicle, rented a U-Haul and hasn’t owned a car since. When she’s not literally walking the talk, Donna likes using research to inform strategies that encourage people to conserve energy. Handily enough, she has a strong background insocial psychology and a wide range of experience in research methodology and data analysis, including experimental design, sample development, data collection and statistical data analysis. Although Donna grew up in Texas, she developed neither a noticeable accent nor a love of barbecue.

  • Mike Hamilton
    Senior Consultant
    Mike Hamilton
    Demystifying the behavior of energy consumers.

    With expertise in quantitative analysis, Mike provides our clients with an organized, thorough approach to interpreting complex data. His extensive statistical modeling experience, coupled with an understanding of how energy markets behave, enables him to deliver measurable estimates of key factors affecting energy efficiency decision-making. Before joining EMI Consulting, Mike spent more than two years researching investment preferences for energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings, helping to conduct several national market surveys. Outside of work, Mike stays busy skiing, surfing, learning bluegrass mandolin and growing berries in his garden.

    • Posted 12.3.15
      Insights: Breaking Apart Small Business Decisions regarding HVAC Maintenance Contracts:

      WHAT MATTERS MOST?

      According to the Small Business Administration, there are 23 million small businesses in the U.S. that account for over half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product and occupy 30-50% of all commercial space. (1) With increasing activity by small startup companies and lower rates of startup failure, this sector will undoubtedly remain a vital contributor of the U.S. economy in the foreseeable future. (2)

      Now pair this projection with a recent finding from the J.D. Power 2014 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study – overall satisfaction with electric utility providers is lowest among small businesses. (3) Businesses spending between $250 and $499 per month on their electric utility bill averaged about 10 points lower (on J.D. Power’s 1000 point scale) than businesses with higher utility bills.

      Why are small businesses relatively less satisfied with utility providers? Small businesses are diverse and have unique operational needs and preferences, particularly with respect to energy-related equipment and usage. Additionally, many small business owners simply do not have time and/or resources to worry about “secondary” issues like their energy bills.

      At EMI Consulting, we use innovative market research methods to help our utility clients better understand their small business customers. For example, EMI Consulting recently worked with the California investor-owned utilities to characterize how business owners and managers make decisions about the maintenance of their heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems (a copy of the report is available here ). We estimated the relative importance of decision factors related to the purchase of an HVAC maintenance contract (as shown in the figure to the right). (4) Not surprisingly, the cost of a maintenance contract is important to small business customers (accounting for 26% of the overall decision weight, on average). But our results also show that small businesses greatly value improvements in the reliability of their HVAC systems (21% of the overall decision weight). The small business stakeholders we surveyed expressed comparatively little concern over improvements in the longevity of their HVAC systems, the number of maintenance visits they receive per year, indoor air quality benefits, and environmental impacts.

      While it is clear that contract cost plays an important role in small business customers’ maintenance contract decisions, our findings also suggest that the value proposition that may resonate most deeply with the small business sector is that maintenance contracts improve the reliability of HVAC systems. Insights like this could have a big effect for programs promoting the benefits of regular maintenance.

      (1) Source: http://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/ocpl/resources/13493
      (2) Source: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/2015/05/nations-startup-activity-reverses-five-year-downward-trend-annual-kauffman-index-reports
      (3) Source: http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/2014-electric-utility-business-customer-satisfaction-study
      (4) As revealed by commercial stakeholders responsible for two or fewer business locations comprising five or fewer HVAC units.
  • Emily Rich
    Consultant
    Emily Rich

    Emily holds an M.P.A. from the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington where she sought to acquire every quantitative skill she could—from multivariate analysis to environmental economics to financial analysis. Chasing her obsession with electricity utilities and the energy industry, she interned in Seattle City Light’s Strategic Planning division and at the Northwest Energy Coalition as a graduate student, conducting research and analysis into residential electric rate design, demand response, and integrated resource planning. Prior to graduate school, Emily led the charge as a community organizer and advocate for energy policies in Virginia. She knows the Cascades like the back of her hand after significant time hiking, backpacking, and camping through them. She still carries the flag (and maybe shouts a bit) for the UNC basketball team, and she thinks potlucks with friends are the way to go.

    • Posted 6.6.18
      Insights: 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 1.10.19
      Insights: Year in Review: 5 Takeaways from 2018

      In my last post, I took a look at the midterm elections and their impact on the energy industry. But the November election results were just one part of a suite of energy industry trends that emerged in 2018. In this article, I review my top five takeaways from 2018.

      Aggressive carbon reduction goals swept the nation

      Across the country—at state, municipality, utility, and corporate levels—decision makers set aggressive carbon reduction goals in 2018. As usual, California led the charge, passing a particularly ambitious policy in September that calls for 100% clean electricity by 2045. DC followed suit in December, with a Renewable Portfolio Standard of 100% by 2032.

      And it’s not just government policies—utilities are also setting their own aggressive targets, independent of state policy. Most notably, in December, Xcel Energy set a goal to provide 100% renewable energy by 2050, showing real leadership and building on its legacy of clean energy investment. All across the country, utilities are setting deep carbon reduction goals—a trend I expect will continue in 2019.

      Companies, too, continued to build brands around sustainability and clean energy. 2018 broke the record for corporate renewable procurement. This continues a clean business trend from recent years—in 2017, the Climate Group announced that companies with combined annual consumption of 150 terawatt-hours had signed onto 100% clean energy by 2020 commitments.

      Customer relationships increased in importance

      The utility business model is becoming increasingly threatened by customer defection from the grid—whether through rooftop solar, third-party energy procurement, or community-choice aggregation (CCA) participation. In California, where CCAs have been most prolific, the California Public Utility Commission expected that, by the end of 2018, customers who moved away from 100% reliance on investor-owned utilities for electricity would make up 25% of retail load. This suggests that utilities can no longer rely on all customers in their service territory to buy all their power from them, putting utility cost recovery at risk.

      As utilities grapple with customer choice in the market, the importance of their relationships with customers only increases. In 2018, we saw the nature of utilities’ customer relationships continue to change. Utilities took a variety of different steps to cement their customer relationships based on their unique circumstances. Some utilities began to adopt a platform model where they serve as a hub for clean energy, some provided customer-centric offerings that go beyond energy to provide additional value to the customer, and some began to build offerings that integrate services across different parts of the utility.

      Coal consumption continued to decline

      In 2018, the Energy Information Administration expected a 4% decline in coal consumption from 2017—setting the record low annual coal consumption since 1979. This decline began in 2007, when coal consumption peaked in the US. Relatedly, the US closed more coal-fired generation capacity in 2018 than in any other year in history, with an expected 15.4 GW shut down in 2018.

      Alternative regulatory models began to emerge

      The utility business model is changing, and we’re starting to see the regulatory environment change, too. In 2018, it became even more clear that the traditional cost-of-service regulatory model, which allows utilities to recover the costs of service plus a return, no longer meets all the needs of utilities. The traditional regulatory model favors infrastructure investment and limits utilities’ abilities to invest in new products and services like clean energy and transportation electrification. As utilities become cleaner, more distributed, and more customer-focused, the traditional model will no longer be able to meet all utility needs.

      As pointed out in Rocky Mountain Institute's Navigating Utility Business Reform, there are many facets of regulatory reform, from performance incentives to changes in treatment of expenditures, to incorporation of new value-add services. Commissions across the country (e.g., Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Hawaii) opened dockets in 2018 that tackle some aspect of alternative utility regulation. This trend will continue into 2019, as states wrestle with how best to regulate utilities in a changing environment. 

      Electrification was central to the deep decarbonization discussion

      As outlined in a great 2018 Regulatory Assistance Project paper, beneficial electrification is good for both customers and utilities—and the planet! It saves customers money in the long run and reduces negative environmental impacts. In 2018, we saw utilities contend with how to implement beneficial electrification in their service territories. The concept of electrification is simple—convert historically-fossil-powered end uses (like cars and hot-water heaters) to electricity, which will only grow cleaner with time. As utilities face stagnant sales forecasts, electrification has the added benefit of increasing sales for utilities, which can decrease the cost burden for customers. 

      Electric transportation has emerged as a clear strategy for success. According to Advanced Energy Economy, $880 million in EV infrastructure programs were approved in 2018, with $1.5 million still pending. This number is up from $58 million in 2017 (over 15 times more investment). As electric vehicle adoption continues to accelerate in the US, utilities that invest in transportation electrification infrastructure will be well-positioned for the transformation. Building electrification, which encompasses space and water heating, is a slightly tougher nut to crack, but we’re seeing utilities consider plans to tackle that sector, too.

    • Posted 2.28.19
      Insights: What’s the big (Green New) Deal?

      In December’s post, I wrote about how new leaders elected to Congress were prioritizing climate more than ever before. I’m going to spend the next two months digging into this idea in more detail. For this post, I’m going to discuss a specific case where new Congressional reps have brought climate to the forefront, with a deep dive into the Green New Deal (GND) proposal. Next month, I’ll go even deeper into one part of the proposal—100% clean energy. While the particulars in the GND are still far from resembling an actual piece of legislation, the ideas are not going to go anywhere.

      Many incoming Congressional reps have been more vocal than ever about the need to take action on climate change—action that’s commensurate with the scale of the problem. In particular, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is pressing the issue with her ambitious—and contentious—Green New Deal policy resolution.

      More than just a policy proposal, the GND is a vision document that lays out how we could tackle two societal problems, climate change and economic insecurity, with a large-scale national transformation. A formal draft of the resolution was released in early February.

      With a nod to FDR’s New Deal policies, the GND would create a nationwide mobilization around clean energy and environmental justice, recommending an extremely high level of investment in clean energy and infrastructure. The key goals—reducing emissions and creating jobs while prioritizing environmental justice—are to be achieved in ten years by a set of projects and programs including investment in resiliency, provision of 100% clean electricity, upgrading our infrastructure and building stock, and more.

      But it’s not just about carbon reduction policies and programs. There’s also a focus on progressive politics, too. The proposal includes provisions for union protection, universal healthcare, and a job guarantee for all Americans. These components underscore the GND’s emphasis on justice—not just an afterthought, but the main course.

      This proposal is markedly different from what we’ve seen in the past, especially at the federal level. Pivoting from the trend of market-based mechanisms (like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade policies), this proposal does not shy away from public investment; rather, it openly calls for massive investment to address the problem. Another difference is that it places a more distinct emphasis on disproportionately impacted communities, adding a social justice component that other climate policies have lacked.

      Perhaps the most important difference from other carbon policies is the GND’s ambition. The proposal calls for solutions that match the scale of the problem, and it rejects the notion that step-by-step policy changes can get the job done. On the importance of this approach, Ocasio-Cortez said:

      "Climate change and our environmental challenges are one of the biggest existential threats to our way of life. Not just as a nation, but as a world… What this resolution is doing is saying this is our first step. Our first step is to define the problem and define the scope of the solution. And so we're here to say that small, incremental policy solutions are not enough. They can be part of a solution but they are not the solution unto itself."

      Skeptics would argue that it is difficult enough to pass common-sense, incremental solutions, and they might be hard-pressed to imagine how this proposal’s recommendations will ever come to bear. Given the current makeup of Congress, it’s unlikely that a policy this ambitious and broad could pass the House, let alone the Senate.

      But the political feasibility of the proposal doesn’t seem to be the point. The GND is a vision—a picture of the future that activists and advocates can line up behind, a line in the sand that progressives can hold leaders to, and a model for showcasing just how ambitious proposals will have to be to see adequate carbon reductions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. 

      For now, it’s likely that we will continue to see states model policies after pieces of the proposal (like 100% clean electricity). For instance, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled out a corollary in mid-January. If the federal proposal or state-level versions do reach the realm of actual policymaking, many elements would be fought tooth and nail—the level of investment, the inclusion of progressive components, what counts as clean energy, and more. Despite major obstacles, however, the ideas behind the GND are not going anywhere; activists will continue to demand solutions that are commensurate with the scale of the problem, and the progressive movement will continue to press for a high-investment solution. Utilities need to prepare to respond to specific policies and frameworks drawn from the GND. But, in a broader sense, they also need to expect to be held to a higher standard from ratepayers, as more and more ratepayers are also activists who demand action that matches the urgency of the problem.

  • Julie Scrivner
    Consultant
    Julie Scrivner

    Julie is passionate about understanding the regulatory, social, and economic contexts of current energy issues. She has a wide range of qualitative research experiences focused on improving how communities interact with their limited resources. Before joining EMI Consulting, Julie spent two years digging into utility residential and commercial customer engagement in energy efficiency programs. The ultimate extra-curricular enthusiast, Julie is frequently found climbing mountains, dancing with her hip-hop crew, speaking Spanish at a local community center, or volunteering with a poverty alleviation group in downtown Seattle.

    • Posted 11.21.18
      Insights: Five Ways to Tackle Utility Engagement in the Electric Vehicle Space

      Held on November 14 at the Georgia Tech campus, the ACEEE 2018 National Convening on Utilities and Electric Vehicles was an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders in the transportation electrification sector (including the Georgia Public Service Commission, Greenlots, ChargePoint, Kansas City Power & Light, Rocky Mountain Institute, Nissan, and Lyft) to come together and discuss the rapidly-evolving electric vehicle (EV) space. During all-day discussions on the opportunities and challenges for different actors, five pressing actions emerged as opportunities for utility engagement. These actions included:

      • Educating customers
      • Modifying rates
      • Optimizing the grid
      • Building infrastructure
      • Creating partnerships

      First, utilities can support EV adoption by educating and engaging customers with simple and easy messaging on EVs to raise awareness across all customer groups. Utilities already have experience in customer outreach through outage updates and energy efficiency program marketing—experience they can leverage to take advantage of the opportunity to market EVs and build a stronger customer relationship that goes beyond a customer’s electricity bill. Transportation electrification can benefit all customers from decreased emissions, decreased maintenance costs, decreased fueling costs, and more. Various organizations at the National Convening discussed best practices for how to market EVs to customers, including:

      1. Butts in Seats – Offer test drives or short-term (at least one week) leases.
      2. Lead by Example – Electrify and brand fleets.
      3. Give EVs a Broad Appeal – Cater EV messaging to customer and politicians’ interests in the area, moving beyond “green” messaging when needed.

      For example, Tim Echols from the Georgia Public Service Commission shared the difference between the state’s positive response to solar, which benefited counties across Georgia, compared to the state’s extremely negative response to EVs, which are perceived to only benefit certain counties and politicians.

      Second, utilities should develop usable, understandable, and predictable rates for public EV chargers. Right now, demand charges make up a significant portion of public charging costs for both charger owners and users. The EV market will have a hard time driving (pun intended) ‘early majority’ adoption if it is more expensive to fuel an EV outside of the home than a gas car. Modifying rates to make the cost of fueling EVs competitive with the cost of gas will enable EV adoption by customers who need to charge publicly (e.g., residents at multifamily properties without home or work charging options, customers who are driving long distances). Utilities in California, New Jersey, and Minnesota have proposed a variety of rates that focus on right-sizing demand charges with charging station utilization, upon which other utilities can build.  Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) recommends a rate structure that starts the demand charges at zero and then increases the amount as charging station use increases.

      A third action is for utilities to use EVs as a grid asset to balance demand and increase grid utilization. Right now, the majority of EV drivers charge their car at home after work during ‘peak hours’ when the demand for energy from the grid is the highest. Smart EV charging management is a unique opportunity for utilities to balance demand for electricity across the day which can lead to additional revenue, lower the cost of electricity for customers, and mitigate the impact of carbon-intensive plants that go online during peak times of demand. That being said, it is important for utilities to manage charging behavior in a manner that makes sense for their customers, which may or may not include a time-of-use rate (TOU). Kansas City Power and Light (KCP&L) pointed out that TOU pricing only lasted in the cell phone industry for five years. Whatever approach utilities choose to use should always include a focus on education and ease. For example, one stakeholder found that customers responded well to ‘happy hour pricing.’ Most importantly, utilities should implement these smart charging management strategies now, as the ‘early majority’ adopts EVs, to embed behaviors from day one.

      A fourth action is for utilities to update buildings so that they are ‘EV-ready’ and/or own EV charging stations. As of now, there is no business model for profitable private investment in charging stations. Utilities have been making power plant investments that impact the next 50 years, not just the near future, and have the opportunity to do the same with charging infrastructure. Utilities can provide ‘patient capital’ while utilization rates are low and then allow the private market to take over once use of charging stations increases to a profitable rate. Furthermore, now and in the future, utilities can help serve low-income communities by building out and owning infrastructure for communities that cannot afford to purchase and install charging units.

      Finally, utilities should seek to create partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to drive adoption efforts. There is an opportunity to take advantage of the nascent market now, building important partnerships with a commitment to long-term engagement. For example, when KCP&L found through their research that dealers were not selling EVs because they didn’t have customer-facing materials or encouraging commission incentives, the utility created educational materials and gave out EV incentives to dealers. Greenlots partnered with the City of Los Angeles to help the city figure out what infrastructure would be needed for city vehicles like refuse trucks and pursuit vehicles, and they have held discussions about how they might prepare for evacuation via EVs during natural disasters. Lyft partnered with Georgia Power to give an incentive ‘cash boost’ to EV owners to encourage them to join the platform as a driver in an effort to electrify the rideshare network.  

      Stakeholders at the conference all agreed utilities should play a role in EV adoption. Even if a utility isn’t ready or able to take all five actions outlined above, they can make huge strides by taking two steps: (1) educating customers across their service territory about EVs, as all utility customers can benefit from EVs, and (2) modifying demand charges to reflect actual charging impact on grid. As with any new technology, utilities should create space to support and allow this market to grow without defining how the market will look in the future.

Engineering Analysis & Technology Assessment Team
  • Joan Effinger
    Senior Engineer
    Joan Effinger
    Passionately bridging the gap between business and engineering

    Joan has a passion for taking ideas and making them happen. A Natural Planner  and researcher, she loves to connect the dots and get to the root of the problem, with entrepreneurship in her heart. Joan has over 12 years of experience in the energy industry, including work at the National Fuel Cell Research Center, many years in energy efficiency consulting, a tech start-up, and most recently at a utility researching and piloting disruptive technologies. She is a subject matter expert in whole building measurement and verification and also has extensive experience designing and implementing innovative energy efficiency pilots and programs. When not working,  Joan enjoys Kickboxing, hiking, sailing,  and playing with her sons.

Operations & Finance Team
  • Krys Buckenwolf
    Office Manager & Proposal Coordinator
    Krys Buckenwolf
    Advocating for cleaner sentences and oxford commas since 2015

    Pursuing his QUEST FOR MORE SCENERY, Krys swapped his beloved CHICAGO for a different kind of skyline and landed in Seattle, where his many duties include KEEPING OUR HQ HUMMING and adding POLISH to our work products. Before joining EMI Consulting, Krys worked as a college English TEACHER, a SUPERVISOR at an animal hospital, and a TRAINER at a call center. In his free time, he tinkers at what will one day become a SERIES OF LINKED SHORT STORIES FOR A COLLABORATIVE WEB PLATFORM. You can also find him roaming QUEEN ANNE HILL, fleshing out CHARACTER PROFILES or trying to CONDITION HIS BIKE-RIDING LEGS for Seattle’s ample hills.

  • Mary Boyd
    Project Coordinator
    Mary Boyd

    Mary enjoys the behind-the-scene work that keeps projects moving. From managing budgets to coordinating resources and fostering communication across teams, she masters the details that keep projects in scope and on budget. Mary’s educational background is in web design, with a focus on accessibility and inclusive design, and she has experience managing projects across various industries, including corporate and public events and conferences, web and graphic design, and web development. Mary is a life-time Pacific North Westerner. Outside of work, you can find her cheering for cooking competition shows with the fervor of a sports fan and making plans to fulfill her goal of visiting every state capitol.

Working at EMI Consulting
Working at EMI Consulting
Dozens of ways to apply what you know. Infinite opportunities to shine.

At EMI Consulting, meaningful work, intellectual rigor and a balanced life co-exist in a way they just don’t in many other jobs. We mix hard and soft disciplines for an approach all our own.


We’re equal parts intelligence and irreverence. We love the outdoors (most of us) and fiercely guard our quality of life. At the same time, we possess a work ethic, business sense and mastery of energy issues that we’ll happily stack up against the most buttoned-down firm. We like quirky. We don’t tolerate flakey. And we mind the fulcrum that keeps life and work in balance. Our greatest ambition is to be indispensable to our clients’ success as we make a positive contribution to global energy challenges.


Our second-greatest ambition? To be the kind of people you want to have a beer with.

We're always on the lookout for smart people with vision. If you're interested, please send a resume or career questions to careers@emiconsulting.com

Current Job Opportunities
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We're always on the lookout for smart people with vision. If you're interested, please send a resume or career questions to CAREERS@EMICONSULTING.COM
No Job Postings Currently Available.

We're always on the lookout for smart people with vision. If you're interested, please send a resume or career questions to CAREERS@EMICONSULTING.COM