In January 2009, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in Massachusetts issued an advisory to assist Massachusetts school districts in procuring energy efficiency and conservation consultants. Like the OIG’s office, Energy Education is focused on providing all school districts with the best opportunity to conserve energy, reduce complaints and realize optimal savings in their utility costs.

The OIG made some important points in their advisory, points with which we agree and would like to respond to. For example, the OIG stated that “awarding authorities must fully understand the vendor’s projection, fee, and guarantee.” Some of their comments, however, contained points needing correction or clarification concerning Energy Education’s conservation program as well as the diligent process many Massachusetts school districts have taken in reviewing their energy conservation options.

Energy Education responds to complaints; here are a few comments regarding the OIG’s advisory:

There are a variety of useful energy savings options available. The OIG identifies several sources for energy conservation tips—tips that, at best, might generate savings of only 5-7% off utility costs and are often not sustainable over a long period of time. Ideas about reducing energy consumption are no more effective in creating deep, lasting savings than reading an article about weight loss tips and standing on a scale from time to time are effective in generating significant weight loss.  It is the process of executing and sustaining a well-developed, customized plan with accountability that allows our clients, on the other hand, to routinely save 20-30% off their energy costs or more. Many clients have sustained these savings for well over a decade, due to our proprietary implementation process.

A comprehensive procurement process is encouraged. We agree. In fact, our clients in Massachusetts and across the country have been very thorough in their procurement decisions. The average time a client takes to review our program before signing a contract is eight months. Some take a year or more, or even attempt to try it on their own before realizing that partnering with Energy Education always creates higher net savings.  Our Massachusetts clients have reduced their energy consumption by an average of 21%.  Click here to see their savings results.

School districts have specific options to procure energy services under either Chapter 30B or Chapter 25A of Massachusetts General Laws. This procurement direction is specific to Massachusetts school districts only and does not apply to organizations outside of the state. For the record, however, our Massachusetts clients have all used Chapter 30B in compliance with the OIG’s direction.

The importance of a quantifiable measurement and verification of program results cannot be overemphasized. Again, we agree. Our measurement and verification process is client-led and client-verified. Each client maintains their own data using a third-party software tool called EnergyCAP Pro that is entirely independent of Energy Education to ensure the integrity of independently reported program results. EnergyCAP Pro is produced by Good Steward Software (now known as EnergyCAP, Inc.), whose independence from Energy Education was substantiated in this legal opinion.

If you should have any further questions, complaints or would like additional details concerning the Massachusetts OIG Advisory, please contact Roy Sparkman, 214.273.2809 in Energy Education’s Dallas office. He is happy to answer and respond to your questions.

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