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BC Hydro adds two more energy advisors to our team of experts

Image of Marilyn Christensen and Mary Zuccaro
Mary Zuccaro (left) and Marilyn Christensen are members of our Business Energy Advisors team. They offer free advice to B.C. businesses on how to do energy efficiency upgrades with the help of BC Hydro incentives.

Customer care at the core of free energy advisor service

To meet the growing demand for free, in-person energy assessment around the province, two new Business Energy Advisors have been added to the fold.

Marilyn Christensen and Mary Zuccaro are the newest members of the team. The pair, with more than a decade of experience between them, will focus on needs of commercial (Christensen) and industrial customer's (Zuccaro) in the Fraser Valley, one of B.C.'s fastest growing regions. Vancouver Island, the Okanagan and Kootenay regions and northern B.C. will continue to enjoy the same level and quality of service experienced in the past year.

BC Hydro's energy advisors specialize in the unique needs of small and medium businesses, offering customers free in-person energy assessments in electricity and gas. With the support of Business Energy Advisors, it's easier than ever for Alliance members to do business in B.C.

More specifically, here's what they do:

  • Help customers identify their immediate and long-term energy saving opportunities
  • Pre-qualify customers for incentives and programs
  • Assess customer readiness for efficiency upgrades
  • Create quality sales leads for Alliance of Energy Professionals members

Earlier this month we caught up with Christensen and Zuccaro for a joint interview to learn more about their day job, and about common customer missteps.

Q. What's the first thing a customer asks about when you walk in the door?

A. Christensen: Commercial customers always ask about lighting incentives; then they ask about Power Smart's incentive application process.

A. Zuccaro: Usually, industrial customers ask me how they can improve the quality of task lighting in their facility without compromising safety. Then they ask about incentives.

Q. How long does a typical energy assessment take? How many energy assessments do you do in a week?

A. Christensen: It depends on the type and size of business, but most appointments are 30-60 minutes long. Usually, I see 6-8 [commercial] customers a week.

A. Zuccaro: Most of my customers are busy owner/operators, so I try to limit my initial walkthrough to 60 minutes. I see about 3-4 [industrial] customers a week.

Q. What most intimidates customers around energy efficiency?

A. Christensen: Product knowledge; for example, how to distinguish between an LED, halogen and incandescent light bulb.

A. Zuccaro: I agree; also, I think customers worry that if they move forward with an upgrade that they're going to bite off more than they can chew. Retrofits take time. Working with an advisor, like Marilyn or I, can help smooth and even speed up the whole process. At the end of the day the goal is to make life as easy as possible for the business owner.

Q. What's a common misstep that customers make?

A. Christensen: For commercial businesses, it's the small things, like leaving the lights on, or leaving a computer on all night.

A. Zuccaro: By far and away [for industrial customers], it's a lack of maintenance of compressed air systems. Leaks are incredibly common — and costly.

To learn more about the Business Energy Advisor service and the ways it benefits the Alliance of Energy Professionals, read the related story: Business Energy Advisors create referrals for Alliance members.