The biggest retailers, hoteliers, and restaurant operators have portfolios that stretch over most or all of the populated parts of the United States. One of the daunting tasks facing these businesses is managing their energy and utilities spend. For most of them it isn’t only one of their largest operating expenses, it’s also among the most complex. There are literally thousands of utilities in the United States that deliver electricity, natural gas, and water to their customers including these national accounts. Their rates are unique, their cultures are different, even physical service attributes sometimes vary widely.
For national accounts, this presents a wide range of communication and management issues. Ideally, they would like to deal with the utility industry on the whole, voicing concerns and questions and contributing to solutions by engaging in practices such as energy efficiency and demand response. While they can’t do that, there is one place they can and do come to become part of the great energy community for business like them – the biannual National Accounts Workshop run by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) www.eei.org .
These EEI workshops bring together leading investor owned utilities, national accounts, and organizations like Burton Energy Group that bridge them both and provide services to energy consumers. This fall’s meeting was held in Baltimore, and Burton sent 3 representatives to interact, attend educational sessions, and help further the conversation about what is possible for a business to achieve through energy efficiency.
The show was a great success, as always, with more than 600 attendees. Many of those are friends, and we are proud to be associated with great client companies like Staples, McDonalds, Walgreens, and RaceTrac. If you are a national account, or a large regional account, and you want to get everything you can out of your energy spend, we recommend you consider becoming part of the EEI National Account community. We were happy to spend some much needed “downtime” with special friends and colleagues on the last night of the conference at James Joyce Pub just down the street.
Finally, we had the pleasure of staying at one of our client’s hotel properties, too – Meyer Jabara’s Pier 5 Hotel located on the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. It is a great spot, conveniently located within a short walk of the conference and all of the attractions on the harbor. Next time business takes you to Baltimore, please consider it.