What does an energy broker do for their corporate housing clients?
Energy brokers work with a variety of clients, both residential and commercial, to help them acquire a favorable energy contract from a power company. Energy brokers can also do this for their corporate housing clients, who need favorable pricing on electricity to manage costs. A single corporate housing complex could have dozens of units, or more, and power costs add up quickly.
That volume, though, can be used to the client’s advantage, especially if you have an experienced broker representing your interests.
Why do corporate housing complexes work with energy brokers?
The difference between negotiating an energy contract and settling for one can be thousands of dollars every year. As corporate housing companies look for a long-term contract when dealing with a power company, that’s a lot of money your company could save with a favorable power deal. That is where energy brokers come in, as they will handle this negotiation on their client’s behalf. There are several advantages to this approach, including:
More negotiation power –
Working with a power company is like negotiating in any other situation—the more leverage you bring to the table, the better deal you’ll likely walk away with. Energy brokers themselves represent a significant amount of leverage, because the power company knows that their only purpose is to get the best possible deal for a client. Brokers aren’t distracted by any of the other elements of managing a corporate housing complex, so they can focus entirely on negotiation for their client. That means the power company has to consider what they are offering a potential client. Otherwise, they may lose a deal right at the start.
Brokers have another major leverage advantage, though. Because brokers represent a multitude of clients, power companies know that when they work with a broker, they are also working for future business. That changes the negotiation dynamic in the broker’s favor, which is also in the client’s favor.
Corporate housing clients can push this even further, because with so many units involved in the contract, energy companies are more likely to offer better pricing per unit beyond what an individual could get through negotiation. An energy broker will leverage this to the client’s full advantage, too.
In short, with a broker, you’re getting more than an expert in power contracts—you’re also getting an expert negotiator.
Strategic vision –
Energy markets are in constant flux, so timing is a big part of a broker’s job, but a reputable broker doesn’t just operate in the present. They aren’t just market players who are only reacting to changing energy prices.
A reputable energy broker will take a close look at how your buildings operate, what technologies the property is utilizing, and what kind of lighting your housing units are using. They will study previous usage data to determine where potential savings could be hiding. If a switch to renewables is desired, a broker can help their clients transition to a favorable renewable energy contract. If a client is eligible for rebates or incentives, or for a program like demand response, a broker can also help sort those out to earn their clients additional revenue.
If your company is operating multiple corporate housing facilities, a broker can secure separate contracts for each building, maximizing savings. No matter what your company’s energy needs are, an experienced broker will analyze current usage, expected future usage, and work out a contract that saves money both now and later.
An expert’s insight –
Before a new contract can be secured, brokers will review several options from several suppliers. In some cases, a single power company may provide multiple contract options, so there is a lot of contract language to read through and analyze. The contract language is often confusing to understand without an expert on hand to translate it. For example, an energy broker knows the difference between flexible contracts and fixed contracts (and will work hard to secure a fixed contract for their corporate housing clients), variable pricing, block pricing, peak pricing, and off-peak pricing, among other things.
A broker is also familiar with what particular energy companies mean when they claim fixed and variable pricing, because the definitions are subtly different from vendor to vendor. This is one reason why brokers prefer working with suppliers they know well, as they know what to expect in any offered contract.
To that end, an experienced broker also has strong relationships with local and regional suppliers, to facilitate better deal making.
What should corporate housing companies look for in their energy broker?
Your new energy contract will only be as effective as the broker who negotiates it, so choosing an effective broker is the important part. Here’s what to look for:
Past success –
The best evidence of a broker’s ability are the savings they’ve secured for previous clients. The better they’ve performed at the negotiation table in the past, the better they will do in the future. Therefore, it’s important that a broker be able to provide references that you can follow up with.
A large supplier network –
A large part of a broker’s job is cultivating relationships with suppliers, so those relationships can be leveraged into better deals for clients. The larger your broker’s supplier network, the higher the chance they will be able to find the right contract for your corporate housing.
Brokers spend almost all of their time communicating, whether with suppliers or with clients, so they should be able to communicate well. Are they willing to analyze your company’s needs in total? Will they consider your suggestions or concerns? Do they have an effective, convincing manner of speaking? These are essential traits to have in an energy broker.
Most facilities, including corporate housing communities, waste a lot of money on unfavorable contract pricing and on wasted power. An energy broker can help their corporate housing clients in both areas, securing better rates and providing insight into reducing consumption.