3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2008

Hal Snyder is vice president of customer programs for Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric. He is responsible for all customer programs at both utilities, including strategy, planning, analysis and program development. He served as vice president of gas transmission and distribution, responsible for operations serving more than 6.2 million customers. He also has experience in engineering and project management.

Q. What’s an important ingredient in making an energy policy last in a company after the initial push?

A proper culture is necessary. A commitment by all departments is needed, and upper management must provide the resources and incentives to keep it going. For example, recycling doesn’t directly affect energy, but it gets employees in the right frame of mind to think about what they’re doing, and it’s a good policy to implement along with energy efficiency. Being energy-efficient helps the triple bottom line — the company, customers and infrastructure. Keep employees conscious of progress. Rebates, services and audits are available to businesses in the Los Angeles area — this keeps a policy afloat.

Q. What are some low-cost steps a company can work on in initiating an energy policy plan?

Lighting retrofits that aren’t compact fluorescent should be replaced. This will have a fast ROI. Having employees share energy in a network doesn’t cost anything. Reduce the number of printers operating within a company. Go as paperless as possible — this not only saves on paper but the cost in producing the documents. Basic technology aids that automatically turn down thermostats, turn off lights and air conditioners eliminate the human error aspect of forgetting to perform the tasks.

Q. What does a company need to do to start a policy?

You must promote company awareness. Form a team that includes those on the front line and financial decision-makers. Audit your current energy use and compare that to other companies and decide what your accomplishable goals are. Make sure everyone is aware of your goal. Create digital newsletters to keep everyone informed on new initiatives, incentives and progress.