If you’re a vendor trying to win business from utility companies, you’ve probably gone down this path: Look for proposals in the market, decide if the proposals match your products, wait for a response, and cross your fingers you win the bid. Historically, this is the way it’s always been done—but is it necessarily the best way?

Because most companies build relationships with vendors before an RFP is even written, they generally have someone in mind as a preferred partner before the RFP is released. So how do you become a vendor that wins business before a smart grid project beforehand? Check out these four tips to find smart grid projects pre-RFP.

1. Find the project contact at the utility and initiate conversation.

The first route to finding smart grid projects pre-RFP is to reach out to contacts at the utility directly. The goal here is to establish a relationship with the right people from the utility early on so you’re at the top of the company’s list once the smart grid RFP comes out.

However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds.

  • It’s tough to find exactly who the “right” contacts are. The person you think should be the contact isn’t always available, interested, or even with the company anymore, for starters; then, you have the time-consuming task of getting in touch with them. If you’re lucky, you might get the right contact on the phone at the right time; but chances are, you’ll be playing phone tag quite a bit.
  • Selecting the right utility is difficult. Most vendors don’t know which utilities they want to spend their time with that early in the smart grid development game.
  • It’s hard to know which utilities want your product. Just thinking about the time wasted from cold calling utilities is enough reason to want to step away from this tactic completely. Unfortunately, if you want to go this route, you’ll probably end up dealing with companies that aren’t interested in your product, which means wasted time and resources for you.

2. Dig through legislative policies across all 50 states.

At the state regulatory level, smart grid developments are regulated by public utility commissions (PUCs). Developers for these projects have to file with PUCs and then undergo a lengthy legal proceeding before a smart grid project officially gets approval and can begin.

Because utilities are required to file this information, vendors can use the public information to identify smart grid projects pre-RFP. Most PUCs have websites, or you can go to the courthouse yourself to find the information.

The drawbacks? These legal filings are super technical and complicated. Even if you can access the PUC information online, many PUC websites aren’t user-friendly, and you need to know the docket and case numbers you’re looking for. If there is no PUC data available online, then you have to put boots on the ground to find the policy you’re looking for. Overall, this tactic is time- and resource-consuming. Unless you have a dedicated policy analyst, your company probably won’t have the ability to do this—but it is an option.

3. Keep an eye on the news and see what long-term plans exist.

A third option for finding smart grid projects pre-RFP is to follow the news and see what projects are on the horizon. Google Alerts, for example, in a state you’re looking for may be helpful in leading you to news articles about up-and-coming smart grid projects.

However, finding pre-RFP information in news articles isn’t easy, and even if you’re keeping your eye on it, most news articles focus on press releases and partnership announcements—information that’s not helpful to many vendors because the RFP is already out on the smart grid market, and it’s too late to get involved.

4. Use a web application that aggregates all of the information you need.

So far, the options I’ve shared for finding smart grid projects pre-RFP haven’t been exactly easy or efficient. However, if you could do everything above and more without even leaving your desk, would you be interested? I thought so.

Web apps and platforms like the Energy Acuity Renewables Platform take on the burden of doing the research for you, so you don’t have to go out and do it on your own. Our experts go out and talk to contacts at utility companies, aggregate news, policy, and legislative information for smart grid development, and do primary smart grid research, leaving you with RFP information you can use.

With our grid database, you can drastically increase your number of solid leads for pre-RFP projects while slashing the time it takes to get them.

We track projects across North America’s utility industry and then give you the capability to customize them to find exactly what you’re looking for. (We also offer smart grid RFPs for vendors who are interested.)

Interested in seeing how it works?

If you want to save time and get more qualified leads, sign up for a live demo of the grid database. You’ll see how it works and the ways it can revolutionize how your company finds new business.


Source: Energy Acuity


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Energy Acuity (EA) is the leading provider of power generation and power delivery market intelligence. EA’s unique approach merges primary research, public resource aggregation, web monitoring and expert analysis that is delivered through a simple, dynamic online platform. This allows our clients to focus on actionable information and win business over the competition.