Freedom Energy’s specialized Municipal Team works with and advocates for cities and towns throughout New England. I am always pleased to hear from you about how we’ve been able to help and for your suggestions about what more we can do to assist. I’m delighted to speak with new Municipal clients, too, because there’s an impending excitement about working with new communities knowing how much Freedom Energy can do to assist in achieving their energy goals.
As City Mayors, Town Administrators, and Executive Directors you assume lots of responsibility in your roles. You are trusted to make decisions impacting tens of thousands and those decisions are often public knowledge, so there is a lot to consider. Pulled in multiple directions at the same time, we fully understand how having a singular focus on any one item, such as energy, is almost impossible without someone on your team to help.
Many of our Municipal clients have expressed a myriad of challenges when it comes to managing their energy spend and usage, and with all the noise surrounding fossil fuels, sustainability initiatives, renewables, and the electrification of new and existing buildings, anyone can feel overwhelmed.
Here is a list of five topics Mayors, Administrators, and Directors have expressed as difficult, and how our specialized Municipal Team assists in helping to alleviate these challenges.
1. Limited Resources.
This is the major concern we hear the most often. Typically, having an “energy manager” is a luxury for most communities and even if your city or town is fortunate enough to have one on staff, it can take a while to fully understand the full breadth of energy management responsibilities. Often energy managers are recent college graduates, new to the complexities of understanding the energy industry and renewable requirements, state-specific incentives, and funding opportunities, where their focus should be, and what will have the biggest impact for their community.
Freedom Energy’s specialized Municipal Team has worked with hundreds of clients and recognizes the demands and requirements. We take the time to understand your community’s unique goals and objectives, we advocate for you, and work closely as a member of your team — you may even consider us an employee. We function as your full-time Energy Advisor at a fraction of a full-time employee’s cost. We live and breathe energy and innovation, and our knowledge is shared with our clients along with recommendations to help you make informed decisions.
2. Sustainability Requirements.
It’s hard enough to stay current with all the needs and expertise to stay current in managing a municipality, let alone being up to speed on sustainability plans and emissions reduction goals. Most sustainability plans have a long-term goal of being carbon free by 2050. Some communities have made great strides toward their net zero plans where others have not started. Regardless of whether your community has a robust plan, one that is in place but far from implementation, or you are at the initial stages of defining and compiling one, having a plan is crucial to success because most, if not everyone, involved in establishing this 2050 goal will no longer work for the city/town in 2050.
Energy initiatives, renewable solutions, and reducing carbon emissions are critical components in Sustainability Plans. Incentives will change, community priorities will be altered, people will come and go. For your plan to be successful, someone must champion and be focused on keeping the city/town on track. Our Municipal Team can assist you in sourcing renewable options to support your sustainability initiatives, taking advantage of the opportunities, for example, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), net metering, community solar, and battery storage, all part of solutions designed to help achieve your goals.
3. Financial Constraints.
There’s never enough money to go around or financial support for all the initiatives. The Federal Government and each state offer a variety of grants and financial incentives for communities to set and achieve their sustainability goals. Some recent support for municipalities includes Green Communities grants, funding under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding, Fleet Electrification funding, State Funding, and a wide variety of utility programs. Sounds great, right? There is one problem – how and where do you get them?
Freedom’s Municipal Team can assist by keeping you apprised of what is available now, what might be available down the road, and what is no longer available. We have carefully and selectively established partnerships with companies specializing in areas such as battery storage, Municipal-specific community solar programs, net metering opportunities, and greenhouse gas reporting. When paired with the incentives mentioned above, these projects can often be implemented at little to zero out of pocket cost.
4. Confusing Contract Terms & Conditions.
Not understanding ALL the terms and conditions of your signed contract can be a very valid concern. Several of our clients responsible for energy management have said they have written off certain companies or suppliers in the past due to poor experiences with them. In some cases, the supplier followed the path in the signed contract. As consumers, we all are conditioned to take the “best” offer available but what you see is not always what you get. This is not only frustrating but often can be very costly. With so much competition in the energy space, many companies do whatever they can just to win business. As a result, the lowest price on paper might not be the best option for your city/town. This can create friction in the municipal space because cost is everything.
Freedom Energy’s Chief Executive Officer is an energy attorney who continually advocates for our clients. His expertise has been instrumental and played to our clients’ advantage in terms of stronger, highly client-focused contracts from energy suppliers, and in resisting attempts by several suppliers over the years to pass through invalid contract increases. Freedom Energy’s Customized Supplier Agreements were designed specifically for clients like you, with benefits from the additional protections and language in the specialized agreements that you will not find in typical supplier agreements. Not only does our Municipal Team offer these customized, pre-negotiated agreements, where every section has been closely vetted for you, we continue to advocate on your behalf. Our clients can feel confident that any agreement placed before them was selected and is recommended for a variety of beneficial reasons—often extending far beyond just “the lowest price.”
5. Community Support.
Pleasing everyone is just impossible. We all have opinions and in the municipal space, everyone is encouraged to share their opinion. If a decision is made that costs the community money, despite the circumstances in which that decision was made, people will be angry. If a decision is made that worked 95% of the time, people will want improvement.
Freedom Energy supports our clients and assists you in delivering the right message both internally and out in the community. We can help you to communicate with, work with, and educate the communities you serve. Our team has produced client videos, press releases, webinars, attended city/town meetings, and worked with that one Select Board member who has impossible standards. Your success is our success, and we will not stop until everyone involved feels the desired outcome has been achieved and is sustainable going forward.
Do these five challenges resonate with you?
Check out our next Muni Minute for five more items Mayors, Administrators, and Directors find difficult, and how Freedom Energy helps them navigate the ever-changing energy landscape. To be continued …
In the meantime, please let me know if you agree and if there is anything we can do to support your community. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.