Bringing Transparency, Value and Sustainability to Associations & Their Members Through Auction-Based Energy ProcurementMay 10, 2021
3Qs with Jane Seagraves, Vice President, Associations & Partnerships at Transparent Energy
Q: Why is this a great time for Associations to partner with Transparent Energy and offer energy-procurement services to their members?
Associations care deeply about providing value to their members and protecting them – they are careful about whom they partner with, because they’ve spent years, decades, and, in some instances, centuries, building trust with their members.
Energy is a common pain point felt across Associations and their members regardless of industry. It is a top operating cost in just about every business, and it is a volatile, costly, and, often extremely confusing – and therefore difficult to manage – business reality, so the opportunity to bring in a trusted partner who can reliably help members drive down energy costs and reduce their risk is one that resonates.
There’s also the matter of sustainability. Associations and their members are feeling the pressure: the eyes of government, the supply chain, and stakeholders, including shareholders, are on them to be a part of the solution, so finding an energy partner not only experienced in procuring electricity and natural gas, but also renewables, is now a priority.
Transparent Energy is stepping up to be that partner, and Associations are responding.
Q: What does Transparent Energy offer Associations and their members that is so compelling?
I want to start philosophically. Our way of doing business is a perfect fit for Associations. Transparency really matters in the world of Associations: they want and need to show their members that the services they offer deliver value, benefit the members, and are provided by organizations who are there to work with them and for their members over the long haul.
I love having the word “transparent” in our name, and so does every Association I talk to. The Transparent Energy online auction platform is built on transparency: it brings in all the top energy suppliers into a fair, 100% visible, real-time bidding process that drives prices down for the buyer while leaving behind a fully documented audit trail.
So many Associations “sole source” energy to a single supplier, in essence trusting the supplier to provide a good price. This puts the Association at risk, because if that price is actually a premium, members will blame the Association. Open competition on the other hand drives down prices for members, and members see exactly what’s behind the price they are getting. Further, members decide if they want to take advantage of the pricing or not – they are in complete control, so this is strictly an upside-only-process for members with no risk to the Association whatsoever. On average, our online auctions attract 2-3 times more suppliers than other procurement methods, delivering a 7-8% savings over sole sourcing and the paper-based energy procurement processes most members currently use. That’s a lot of money.
The process is super-efficient and it’s backed by a great team of people. Transparent Energy market experts, the pricing desk, the operations team and our Business Development Managers do the heavy lifting for the members, set expectations, and help them understand and embrace the process from start to finish. Finally, if the member is not 100% thrilled with the auction results, they do not have to enter into a contract. But that rarely happens. We boast a 99%+ close ratio the day of the auction. Associations love our energy-procurement process, because of the accountability inherent in it.
Saving members money with a tested, reputable process that simplifies their lives makes it easy for Associations to say yes to Transparent Energy. And the partnerships we form with Associations go deep, deeper than any I have ever seen in this industry. Through a generous revenue-sharing model, we provide Associations a sizable, and predictable non-dues revenue stream that they can use to grow current programs, offer new ones, and, ultimately, further enhance the member experience. Income diversification is critical now for Associations, particularly after the fallout of COVID-19.
Q: Earlier, you mentioned sustainability and renewable energy. How does Transparent Energy help Associations with that?
Associations are all about helping their members and creating value for them. Addressing the shift to a low/no-carbon future represents a new frontier in the mission of Associations and presents them a golden opportunity to maximize their impact. Transparent Energy is the right partner to help Associations play a starring role in their members’ green transition.
The most common way Transparent Energy helps Association members meet their green goals and advance their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives is through purchasing renewable energy during our auctions. When we run an online auction for a member, we are really running several auctions that test different products and terms, delivering price discovery found nowhere else in the market.
A simple example of this would be auctioning a traditional electricity product, then one that includes 25% renewables, and then another for 100% renewables, all over 12, 24, and 36-month terms. The competitive nature of the auctions, where suppliers bid down the winning price, often helps members purchase renewables in this way for little or no premium.
In other instances, members use the 7-8% savings they gain from the auctions to buy renewable energy credits, or RECs, a simple way to “green” their energy purchase. There are also many new renewable-energy products being offered by suppliers. Part of Transparent Energy’s job is to stay on top of the latest traditional and renewable energy products and offer members a way to purchase them through a transparent, highly competitive process that benefits their bottom lines and ESG goals.
Transparent Energy collaborates with the member to uncover short- and long-term sustainability goals and executes against those goals over time. For example, perhaps the initial auction may be for 25% clean energy, knowing a goal of 100% green by 2030 is the ultimate goal. Rest assured, we will develop and execute a plan that will meet your goals today and in the future.
To see how Transparent Energy can put online auctions to work for your Association and its members to reduce energy costs, manage energy risk, and accelerate the transition to clean energy, contact Jane Seagraves, Transparent Energy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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