Companies of all sizes can benefit from energy projects

Martin Daks//March 20, 2023

Companies of all sizes can benefit from energy projects

Martin Daks//March 20, 2023

The Garden State may not have Texas-sized oil reserves, but thanks to innovation and entrepreneurs, there are plenty of energy opportunities for businesses. In some cases, programs run by large utilities mean work for smaller businesses.

Marisol Ramirez, PSEG supplier diversity manager

A big utility, PSEG (parent company of PSE&G), partners with smaller businesses, according to Supplier Diversity Manager Marisol Ramirez. “One of the biggest opportunities is with our energy efficiency projects – HVAC, plumbing, energy-efficient lighting and other initiatives – where businesses can be onboarded as “trade allies,” she explained. “At that point their company’s name is listed on a trade portal and they can be selected by customers for a variety of projects. We also meet many potential partners at Chamber of Commerce and other events.”

Brandon Young, CEO of Young Management & Consulting

One partner company is Newark-based Young Management & Consulting, a firm that specializes in strategic sourcing-procurement, project and construction management, and engineering services. “We target the electric, gas and government, sectors with the goal to give back to the communities where we serve,” said President and CEO Brandon Young. “We are currently providing construction management, material management and procurement services for a number of PSE&G-related projects, including the Newark Switch Rebuild Project.”

Part of a $361 million investment in Newark’s electrical infrastructure to ensure redundancy and reliability, the switching station serves the city’s electric distribution and transmission network, and has been rebuilt by PSE&G after a half-century of service.

“Young Management was a five-person firm with about $3 million in revenue in 2020, when we started working with PSE&G,” Young said. “Since then, thanks to our work with the utility and other clients, we’ve grown to 46 people and invoiced around $17 million in 2022. Besides the steady stream of business, we get from PSE&G – including project and construction management services for PSE&G’s new State Street and Woodlynne substation in Camden, and an NJ Transit project near Kearney – we’ve been able to leverage that relationship as we market to other businesses in New Jersey and elsewhere, providing a true value-add to our customers and their trusted suppliers.”

Spreading the green

Anne-Marie Peracchio, New Jersey Natural Gas, managing director of marketing and energy efficiency

A New Jersey Resources subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas, also partners with smaller companies thanks to an initiative launched in 2009 called SAVEGREEN. “SAVEGREEN helps individuals and enterprises upgrade to energy-efficient HVAC systems and other equipment with a variety of incentives, including 0% financing,” according to NJNG Managing Director of Marketing and Energy Efficiency Anne-Marie Peracchio. “At the same time, we work with many local contractors to help customers make their homes and businesses more energy efficient, which also supports the state’s energy goals, so it’s a win-win-win.”

The projects run from simple ones to complex ones, she said. “We are very active about reaching out to contractors,” she said. “We meet with them periodically and, monthly, send out an e-blast with updates on federal tax credits and other programs. At the same time, NJNG updates residential and other customers with bill inserts and, for those who opt in, emailed notices about rebates and other information,” which can help spur them to do upgrades, generating more business for contractors.

NJNG publicizes rebates and other programs at events and conferences, through social media, and via word of mouth, she added. “NJNG is also launching a new workforce development program—offering opportunities to earn building performance institute certification as a way to spur interest from under-employed communities. We work with two training providers and will provide training at no cost, and will then connect these candidates with contractors.”

Greg Peterson, East Brunswick-based special project manager, Limbach

Greg Peterson is an East Brunswick-based special project manager with Limbach – an integrated building systems solutions firm that designs, installs, manages, services and maintains HVAC, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and control systems – that often partners with NJNG. “I’ve dealt with NJNG since 2013, when I was with a different company” he said. “We’re currently doing a $900,000 project in a Central New Jersey school district, 71% of which is covered by incentives, that includes rooftop, boiler and lighting installations. Our partnership with NJNG helps to enhance our reputation and, through the various programs, we get additional business from other companies like NRM,” a Massachusetts-based company that does refrigeration projects in New Jersey and elsewhere.

Small businesses get a boost from the state

Under New Jersey’s small business set-aside contracting program and Executive Order 71, each department of the state must make a good faith effort to award a total of 25% of the dollar value of New Jersey government contracts for goods and services across a variety of segments to eligible small businesses. To be eligible, a small business must have no more than 100 permanent employees and the principal place of business must be in New Jersey. Small businesses can register with the Division of Revenue, Small Business Enterprise Unit in one of three categories of gross revenue: gross revenues that do not exceed $500,000; gross revenues that do not exceed $5 million; and gross revenues that do not exceed $12 million, or the applicable federal revenue standards established at 13 CFR 121.201, whichever is higher, according to the state website.

Under the regulations, 5% of the dollar value of state contracts should be awarded in each of the three registered categories above for a total of 15%. The remaining 10% may be allocated among the three categories. State departments can reach the goals through the use of set-aside and/or subcontracting contracts. To be eligible for a set-aside and/or subcontracting contract, small businesses must be registered with the Division of Revenue, Small Business Enterprise Unit on or before the date the bid or bid proposal is received and opened by the state’s Division of Purchase & Property.