By David Kligman
When the Alliance to Save Energy recently honored business solutions provider Staples for being an industry leader in energy efficiency, the retailer thanked PG&E for its partnership, working with their 46 stores in Northern and Central California.
Specifically, Staples identified Melissa Clark whose team works closely with 250 large commercial retailers to ensure their needs are met — including Target and McDonald’s.
“Whether it’s support during bad weather, billing issues, reviewing rates or help with understanding our load profile, I know that I can always count on PG&E for anything we ask for,” said Bob Valair, the director of energy and environmental management for the Massachusetts-based company.
Clark said the success is due to her team of 12 account representatives who work with large retailers. She especially credited Julia Grinberg, who worked with Staples for the past year, and David Alexander, who recently took over the account.
The praise from Staples was remarkable, Clark said, given that the retailer works with some 500 utilities throughout the United States. But PG&E stood out.
She said though we live in an increasingly automated world, PG&E has long stressed the importance of providing customers with a personal touch.
Twice a year, PG&E meets with large retailers at a national conference. And PG&E provides Staples and all its large customers with one point of contact for dealing with power issues, billing and energy efficiency retrofits.
“These are complex customers with a lot of needs,” Clark said.
She added that for large retailers, only labor is a bigger cost than energy. So it’s no surprise that they have been eager to adopt energy efficiency upgrades.
“California is one of the most expensive places to do business, so they’re looking for us to help them cut expenses,” Clark said.
What sets PG&E’s customer service apart is that its retail representatives really know their customers, Clark said. For a company like Staples, PG&E is their trusted energy advisor.
Alexander, who now handles the account, said his philosophy to a great working relationship with a company like Staples is always delivering the basics of PG&E — safe, reliable energy.
“It’s all about creating that trust,” he said. “Our success really depends on theirs.”
Email David Kligman at David.Kligman@pge.com.