Indicia Consulting
Strawberries and Wheat:

Re-thinking Energy Efficiency and Demand Side Management

Project Description

WEBINAR: Until now, utilities have acted as if they were in the commodities business, when in fact they should be acting as if they are selling a customized product. They have traditionally thought in terms of accounts rather than customers, and of households rather than individuals – but if persons consume services requiring energy, then the unit is an individual with a unique energy use profile. A collection of individuals into a household should not imply a blending of those profiles into an aggregate. It is time to recognize that treating energy consumers as aggregates is not particularly useful; while wheat farming is necessary and good, it is a low profit margin business, especially if one were insane enough to divide returns by individual stalks. On the other hand, in specialty crops like strawberries (or heirloom tomatoes) a farmer can make larger profits on individual fruits. Changing this perspective could garner them higher profits even as they deliver lower costs to their consumer base. The way forward is for utilities to treat their customers like organically grown, hand-picked, strawberries, rather than mowing them down with a combine harvester.

Project Details

Date: January 2012
Client: Yale Center for Business and the Environment, Blueprint for Efficiency Series
Locations: Asilomar, CA
Link: Available on iTunes