An Energy Decision Platform for Sustainability

The Megawatt Hour

7. Affordable and Clean Energy 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The Megawatt Hour provides cloud-based software via an online subscription service that helps commercial and industrial customers manage, track, and forecast their energy usage and costs. It is the first innovation of its kind to create transparency in a deregulated, inefficient, broker-driven energy market. Overall, the innovation helps clients afford energy for their businesses (Goal 7), ensures the sustainable consumption of energy (Goal 12), and can contribute to the long-term sustainability of cities and communities (Goal 11).

Authors

Sadashaya Maitlall

Sadashaya Maitlall

Christelle Joseph

Christelle Joseph

Stephen LoCastro

Stephen LoCastro

Javone Lee

Javone Lee

School

St. John's University

St. John's University

Professor

Charles Wankel

Charles Wankel

Innovation

The Megawatt Hour provides cloud-based software via an online subscription service that helps commercial and industrial customers manage, track, and forecast their energy usage and costs. They apply analytical calculations to forward market information to show customers what a fair price would be for the energy they purchase. And, they also provide alerts and updates informing customers when they should purchase their energy. As the CEO, Deirdre Lord, noted, the innovation “helps large businesses better understand their energy usage, energy sources, and energy cost through online software.” Energy and finance professionals use the software in the form of desktop tools to manage their energy expenditures. Businesses, universities, hospitals, municipalities, hotels, real estate office, manufacturers, and shopping centers, among others, can use the cloud-based solutions to manage data, enhance analysis, lower energy & administrative costs, and forecast energy expenses. Since the business is not a physical store but an online store, the service is available to those that can access the site.

Commercial and industrial clients spend $300 billion annually on electricity and natural gas and $500 million annually on consultants and brokers to manage their energy costs. The Megawatt Hour is the only business to provide energy cost information directly to clients so that they can be in control of their costs and make informed decisions. It is the first innovation of its kind to create transparency in a deregulated, inefficient, broker-driven energy market.

With the software, clients can view graphs portraying the forward market for power in wholesale market price trends. Customers can determine their future budget and costs by looking at recent market activity and forward market prices. Customers can also use graphs to determine how their energy contract compared to a benchmark. Overall, the innovation helps clients afford energy for their businesses (Goal 7), it ensures the sustainable consumption of energy (Goal 12), and it can contribute to the long-term sustainability of cities and communities (Goal 11).

The CEO co-founded The Megawatt Hour with Robert Bright, whom she worked with in the retail electricity business since 1998. Deirdre has been involved in efforts to mitigate global climate change since the early 1990s and has been familiar with the regulated energy markets since the late 1990s. Robert has in-depth knowledge experience in and of energy markets. As Deirdre mentioned in the interview, her and Robert created The Megawatt Hour with the objective to “give customers tools and a better capability to identify ways to lower their usage and lower their cost” because a lot of businesses run into difficulty doing so.


An Energy Decision Platform for Sustainability

Inspiration

The Megawatt Hour team was inspired to create their cloud-based software due to a common issue many companies face. You cannot manage what you cannot measure. Companies have struggled with figuring out what is driving their cost and usage of energy (both past and forecast). With this cloud-based software, The Megawatt Hour is giving customers tools and a better capability to identify ways to lower usage and cost. By giving customers the right tools, The Megawatt Hour is on a journey to transform the energy industry in the interest of end-use customers. It is built to provide easy, accessible online solutions for professionals who want to lower energy costs and manage energy expenses and information quickly, easily and with better results. Customers expressed that they needed something, and The Megawatt Hour has the expertise and the background to provide it, due to their team’s two decades of experience in the industry. The Megawatt Hour wants to provide an unbiased platform for consumers within the broker-driven energy markets so that these customers can trust that energy usage numbers are correct and are not meant to lead them in the direction of any specific supplier or outsource energy company. It is designed for the betterment of consumers and not for individual business’s financial gain. The Megawatt Hour wants to transform the industry from a centralized utility based business into one that is more responsive to customer needs and better for the environment. Until customers get a good grasp on their energy usage usage and cost, they will not be able to make informed decisions about investing in energy efficiency,reducing their demand, and renewables. This platform is a building block for a sustainable future.


Overall impact

As previously stated, the idea that “you cannot manage what you cannot measure” has been a driving factor in the creation of The Megawatt Hour. Through its easy accessiblity, The Megawatt Hour has made it straightforward for consumers to be environmentally responsible and aware of their individual carbon footprint by providing insight as to how consumers can promote a more sustainable planet. This software impacts the lives of the every-day, average consumer who is unable to access their utility data or may not have the economic literacy to grasp what their data means. There are even people who know how to access their utility data and understand the information shown, but may not understand why their energy costs are so high. This cutting-edge technology sheds light on information within the deregulated markets that link retail electricity and utility information to customers and allows consumers to be just as, if not more, socially, economically and environmentally conscious than the energy company themselves.

The Megawatt Hour was not started specifically to fulfill UN Sustainable Development Goals like eradicating poverty or fighting gender inequality. Nevertheless, it does foster a socially-aware atmosphere that encourages consumers to help solve enviornmental problems by putting the information they need to do so at their fingertips. This innovation has a goal of decreasing energy costs and usage. As Deirdre Lord stated in the interview, “Until customers can get a grasp on their usage and costs and what drives usage and cost, they will not be able to make informed investments and informed decisions about investing in energy efficiency, about reducing their demand and their kilowatt usage, and about buying renewables.” As consumers continue to do their part educating themselves about their own energy usage through technological means such as The Megawatt Hour, the world can continue to move towards long-term sustainability of cities and communities.

Business benefit

Due to the success of The Megawatt Hour and it’s defined vision, users have a clearer path to investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The products are the first of their kind to forecast energy usage and costs through cutting edge cloud-based software. Deidre and Bob realized that transparency is very important when it comes to electricity deregulation. Having the right personnel is also crucial to the success of a company like The Megawatt Hour. The company is run by 15+ year veterans of the electricity supply industry and they have used their expertise in the field to create transparency in a deregulated, inefficient, broker-driven energy market by giving businesses the information and tools they need to make informed decisions. Both Deidre and Bob are committed to transforming their industry into one that is more responsive to customer needs and more environmentally friendly. Their company has definitely opened new markets and keeps on creating a first rate, decentralized renewable based utility sector. Customers consistently make their investments back in 6 months which is a very respectable payback period.

Social and environmental benefit

The Megawatt Hour benefits businesses because it helps them save time and money, and ultimately to make informed decisions about their energy usage. The software helps firms reduce costs by empowering them to purchase energy based on information (which reduces cost by 10% or more), allowing the firm to negotiate for energy enabling firms to reduce transaction costs since they do not have to pay a third party for energy, and doing most of the energy-management work for the business so they can focus their time and resources elsewhere. The Megawatt Hour alerts customers when they should buy energy so they do not overpay. The platform also provides company-specific cost data that delivers 3-5% savings on annual energy costs.

The online subscription service saves businesses a lot of time. For example, the Megawatt hour automatically manages and updates usage and cost data, as well as historical, current, and forecasted costs, so the business does not have to. The Megawatt Hour also gives businesses alerts and informative graphs so they can spend less time gathering that information.

The intuitive graphs show what the firm is will be expected to pay for the next 12, 24, or 36 months. They can see what costs that they may potentially incur, and further explain the alternatives for managing risk in a feasible way. Overall, the service enables businesses to budget and forecast their energy usage and expenses so that they control how much energy they use.

The Megawatt Hour’s service also benefits the environment because it enables businesses to lower their energy usage, thus reducing the busineses’ carbon footprint. Electricity is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. If a firm uses the Megawatt Hour to reduce electricity use, then they would also reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

Interview

Dierdre Lord, CEO

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The Megawatt Hour

The Megawatt Hour

New York City, New York, US

Business Website: https://home.themwh.com/

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

The Megawatt Hour is an online subscription service that provides cloud-based solutions to commercial and industrial clients in order to help them manage, track, and forecast their energy usage and expenses. It creates efficiency in an inefficient, broker-driven market by giving finance professionals and energy managers the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their energy usage.