New SECC report helps utilities understand small business customers


The Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) issued a new report highlighting the energy efficiency services that small businesses (SMB) want from electric utilities.

The report Understanding Your SMB Customers: A Segmentation Approach shows opportunities for utilities to engage small and medium-sized businesses in energy efficiency programmes.

According to the report, SMBs consume 20% of the total energy in the US and are responsible for 50% of private-sector employment. This sector is considered the backbone of the US economy yet attracts less than 5% of utility energy efficiency spending.

The study divides SMBs into five segments, which are outlined below.

Established and Engaged: This group represents 15% of the SMB market and accounts for 54% of SMB energy use. They are always seeking ways to manage or use energy more effectively and are already partnered with service providers to do so. This group has an average of 143 employees. They are interested in forecasting future energy costs, renewables and assistance calculating return of investments.

Motivated Yet Inactive: Represents 17% of SMB businesses, consumes 4% of SMBs total energy and is interested in the idea of energy efficiency although have not yet taken the first steps.

Interested If Incented: Represents 27% of SMB businesses, consumes 23% of energy directed to SMBs and is not prioritising energy efficiency. Utilities need to introduce compelling incentives to engage this group into energy efficiency programmes.

Saving & Satisfied: Represents 13% of SMBs, uses 14% of sector’s total energy and have taken steps to use energy more efficiently and only passively interested in doing more.

Decidedly Disengaged: This group represents 28% of SMBs, consumes 5% of SMB energy and has no interest in the idea of energy efficiency. They feel there isn’t much they can do. Larger incentives may lead them to reconsider.

The report also provides useful recommendations on what products, services, programmes and modes of contact are most suitable for engaging each market segment.

The report can be downloaded here…

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.