Our business footprint is how we tell our story: who we are, where we serve, and what motivates us to be the best provider. Each territory has its own unique set of customers and it is always our goal to deliver them service of the highest caliber.
Our Wilkes Barre office embodies this sentiment, establishing a presence of reliability throughout the surrounding communities. In this article, Jim Reino, our Regional Director of Sales and Operations for the Wilkes Barre region, will tell you more about their office and answer all of your energy related questions.
- What territory does your office serve (cities, counties, utilities)? What is unique about this region?
“The Wilkes Barre office covers all Pennsylvania counties North of Route 80, from Erie Eastward to the New York/New Jersey boarder, served by the Tennessee and Transco Pipelines, as well as parts of Hazelton and parts of Northumberland and Union Counties, served by the Transco Pipeline. The main cities we serve include Berwick, Bloomsburg, Danville, East Stroudsburg, Hazelton, Honesdale, Lock Haven, Milford, Milton, Scranton, Selinsgrove, State College, Sunbury, Wilkes Barre, and Williamsport.”
“The area is unique as it is the transportation crossroads for the Midwest, Southern New York and New England regions. The region is pocketed with various sized industrial parks, and large amounts of developable land, all centered in and around the Marcellus Shale supply region. This geographic location has allowed new and expanded industrial and population growth within the region.”
- What types of customers do you serve and how are you able to accommodate their unique needs?
“The Wilkes Barre office customer base is as diversified as the region it supports. Our sales force serves large Fortune 100/500 Companies, Local State and Municipal Governments, and Government Agencies including Housing Authorities, Social Agencies, School Districts, and Sewer and Flood Management Authorities. With locally based regional sales professionals with extensive experience in the energy markets, the Wilkes Barre office has cultured its customer’s needs from first-hand experience. We understand the different needs of our diverse customer base, allowing us to provide our customers with custom energy solutions, designed to maximize savings, service, and delivery performance, for all customers, no matter their size.”
- How many years have you been in the energy business and what is the average years of experience in the office?
“The Wilkes Barre office has one of the most seasoned sales forces in the UGIES family. I have over 35 years of sales and operational experience, both regional and nationally and the sales representatives average over 30 years of individual regional experience.”
- How important is a personal relationship with your customers and why?
“Personal relationships with our customers is the primary sales tool of the Wilkes Barre office. Since all our sales reps are regional, and have served the region for many years, personal relationships have become a major part of the success enjoyed by the office for many years. By understanding the needs of a customer, and developing a personal bond designed to make the customer contact comfortable, it allows our sales reps to help manage their company needs, provides success for the contact and his or her company, and ultimately success for our sales team and office.”
- What can a customer expect from the energy purchasing process as they work with your team?
“Customers served by the Wilkes Barre salesforce have come to rely on UGIES as their energy manager, not just their energy provider. Customers have come to expect their sales rep to be proactive and not just reactive when providing energy pricing for their facilities. Wilkes Barre sales reps make a concerted effort to be forward thinkers for the customer. They do this by designing an energy purchase plan expected to stabilize costs, and by implementing a proactive, forward-looking purchase approach.”
- How important is it to understand your customer’s business, as well as the differences from other customers?
“In most cases, our sales staff has made a concerted effort to tour all our customer’s facilities with their production team, in order to understand the energy needs of the facility. We are then able to provide a customized, time-sensitive plan of attack, to be constructed and implemented. Our staff also aspires to meet and gain a relationship with any second in command individuals at a facility, so to seed a future relationship with a potential future decision maker.”
- What advice can you give to customers purchasing for larger businesses? Smaller businesses?
“The best advice provided for customers, no matter their size, is that we are part of their team, and we will review the energy marketplace on their behalf, and contact them when we believe the timing is right to make the next future energy decision.”
- What should energy purchasers be aware of when switching providers?
“Customer energy procurers need to realize that savings can be short and long-term, and that every energy provider does not concern itself with the local plant and its employees for the long-term. Many energy providers are only concerned with the front loaded sale, and do not hold a personal stake in the business’s health of their facility, nor are they concerned with the surrounding community. The most important factor to examine in a potential switching of suppliers is whether or not a customer is truly gaining financial and/or operational gains by switching, during the length of an energy procurement contract.”
- During your employment with UGIES, how many other brokers/suppliers/consultants and competitors have come and gone in the region?
“UGIES and its local sales force have been around for nearly thirty years; we have seen over 100 different energy companies of all sizes, shapes and forms, promise the world to make a sale, then fall off the radar within a few years. Most of these competitors have come and gone, but UGIES and the Wilkes Barre office team are still here, and our customers still prospering.”
- What retention rate of customers has the office experienced over the last twenty years?
“Over the past twenty years, the UGIES Wilkes Barre office has retained within 85 to 90 % of its customers. The vast majority of non-retained companies were a result of plant closures and consolidations.”
- What kinds of trends are you seeing in the market?
“The present market trends are reminiscent of the late 1990’s, where prices escalated on world events and financial crisis. The trend for energy costs has been rising since the Fall of 2021, and is showing no end in sight. Present world events, and recent restructuring of energy permitting, has left the marketplace vulnerable to uncontrolled price spikes worldwide. There are just too many factors at play to clearly estimate the future of the energy markets for some time to come.”
- What is your projected spring forecast?
“World events and limited energy infrastructure continue to plague the marketplace. The early spring forecast, barring changes in the Ukraine/Russia situation, remain very grim, and the energy marketplace susceptible. Until these events stabilize, it would appear the “BULLS” are in firm control of pricing.”
For more information about our Wilkes Barre office, check out our website: https://ugies.com/businesses-served-by-ugies/service-area-map/wilkes-barre-office/.