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Not the "F" Word! - Challenging the Traditional Utility Mindset

Created 5/17/2018 by Kaylan Dorsch
Updated 5/30/2018 by Carol Lindstrom
80 views • 2 comments


Jennifer Finnigan, of Seattle City Light, did an excellent job moderating a discussion about the dreaded "F" word - FAILURE. The traditional utility culture is rooted in reliability, aversion to risk, control, and avoiding failure.  What if we turned this fixed mindset into a growth mindset?  Can we find the successes in our failures? Can we see changes as opportunities for growth? Can challenges lead to creativity and innovation? Jennifer walked us through three case studies that proved that the answer is "YES!"

David Bopp shared how Flathead Electric Cooperative tried a new, bottom-up, collaborative approach with their Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Program. They formed a committee with representation from nearly every department and had staff buy-in from the start. They met regularly to share ideas and gain a shared knowledge about the topic. They did outreach to manufacturers and when they didn’t have success finding simple chargers that could also be set up for demand response - they built their own!

Cathy Anderson, of Snohomish PUD, explained how her team revamped their single family weatherization and heating program from a pre-approval process to “instant rebate” process. They realized that “what got us here won’t get us there” and were open to process improvement. With their Next Gen program, they were able to have the same kWh goal and increase their program volume.

Jessica Iplikci enlightened us with the Energy Trust of Oregon’s creative approach to new building construction and design. Their Path to Net-Zero program targets buildings that will achieve the lowest possible energy use goal of net-zero. To help foster program success, they implemented design incentives through the whole process instead of near the end of the process, as they had in the past. Their incentive milestones include early design assistance, technical assistance, installation, energy metering, and commissioning.

Kudos to Flathead Electric, Snohomish PUD and ETO for thinking outside the box, not being afraid to fail, and breathing new life into their EE programs. Changes in little ways will allow us all to change in a big way!!!

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Comments (2)
Veronica Marzilli on 05/23/18 on 06:16 AM (Pacific Time)

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And - if you attended EFX18, please take the time to fill out the conference evaluation by May 29. Thx!

Carol Lindstrom on 05/30/18 on 07:14 AM (Pacific Time)
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