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Monday, December 11, 2023
Dec. 11, 2023

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Energy Adviser: Special care for business customers


All of Clark Public Utilities’ 228,000-plus customers have unique circumstances, needs and goals that drive their energy consumption habits, but the competitive nature of a utility’s commercial and industrial customers means they require additional assistance.

Be they industrial manufacturers, neighborhood bistros or a local school district, certain utility account holders use their electricity to run our cities, educate and inspire young minds and provide the goods and services that keep our local economy growing. Recognizing the unique needs of those customers, Clark Public Utilities sets these users apart as key accounts and connects them with an employee whose expertise can meet their energy needs.

“When you’re consuming power in the quantities of these customers, you want someone on the inside of the utility company who can help you find ways to use it more efficiently, resolve issues quickly and offer insights whenever you’re considering changes to your facilities,” said Zeecha Van Hoose, Clark Public Utilities’ key accounts senior manager.

Key accounts managers are also helpful on the utility side of the relationship. It’s helpful for employees to know there’s a go-to employee when they may need to contact a certain large customer. For example, if an engineer is planning maintenance that may affect a key accounts customer, they can talk to that account’s manager who can reach out and help that customer plan and prepare.

Key accounts are unique, not just because they use a lot of power. They use it to create the goods, services and paychecks we all depend on. While power outages are an inconvenience for most of us, they can severely undermine the bottom line of a local business.

Key accounts are sorted by size and category then assigned to a specific manager who is well-versed with the nature of their business.

Each day brings something new for these power professionals. Their client might need an expert’s take on improving operational efficiency with a new hire who doesn’t have a background in facilities management. On another, a manufacturer might be considering expanding its facilities and would like to know if their current power supply is large enough. Maybe a community group wants a lecturer to speak about smart energy habits.

As it does with residential customers, the utility offers conservation programs and incentives to commercial customers. Those programs can produce tremendous savings, but can be overwhelming to already busy working professionals. That’s why key accounts managers help them navigate the process of identifying and applying for the rebates that reduce their consumption and lower their bills.

During storm season, key accounts managers warn their customers when their facilities may experience an outage. That knowledge helps those organizations prepare and decide whether to wait it out or figure out alternative solutions. For those customers, the next choices they make can have major impacts on their finances and the lives of the people they employ and serve.

“We want to arm those customers with the best information we can, so when they can make those big decisions with confidence,” Van Hoose said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 7 in the morning or 7 at night, we’ll work with them to get the information they need.”

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98688.

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