How Much Is That Kilowatt?

Energy Procurement: Not something that inspires excitement, yet it is a wave in the sea change taking place in corporate executive suites.

Our complex infrastructure is aging. Many developing countries have bypassed the huge and antiquated task of building national grids and services to opt for smaller, localized networks connected together. For the United States, the task for utilities companies — particularly in deregulated states (see page 17) — is supporting the grid that helped make us the most powerful nation on earth, while responding to new, localized sources and demands for pricing flexibility. The result is great opportunities for senior executives and board rooms to take control of their energy future. In many ways, it is much like the 1990s when companies were struggling with integrating computers. At a time when few companies had ‘IT departments’, the task was to understand how new systems could expand opportunities, where to spend money now, and how to plan for integrating large-scale changes in the future. For manufacturers, service providers and retailers alike, the complexity — along with the size of the investment and the potential for business disruption — has left many waiting to see what their competitors are doing before taking hasty steps. Today, what many of those competitors are doing is outsourcing energy management. Energy procurement is the ‘low hanging fruit’. The more important part of the journey is learning about how a building, facility or enterprise uses energy. Armed with that information, important decisions about business practices concerning the efficiency of new equipment, practices or installations can be made before it is too late, resulting in massive savings. And energy is just the start. Businesses can expect greater challenges as cities and states work to recoup the expensive process of managing all utilities, including water, transportation and energy.

What's in the issue.


  • Cutting Energy Bills: World Energy and Summit Energy show how to cut energy bills.
  • 4 Upgrades: Make your car a shade of green
  • Opinion: Is LEED still your best investment?


  • How deregulation works
  • Steps toward energy procurement
  • Deregulated states
  • Why suppliers work with companies that squeeze margins