As the energy industry enters into the new millennium, facility managers are faced with the challenge of differentiating between organizations that provide energy supply and energy services. With the ever-increasing number of “energy services providers” ready to serve the needs of commercial and industrial facility managers, finding an organization that is willing to fulfill particular needs is typically a seamless task. However, narrowing the field down to a small group of viable contenders can be harrowing.

Although it is not and should not be the only eligibility requirement, a certification designation can be an excellent complement to a facility manager’s review of a provider’s qualifications.

To highlight the differences between various programs, the following are examples of well-known certification programs in the energy industry:

Certifying Energy Providers (Columbus, OH) offers a Certified Energy Marketers program. To become certified, an energy marketer must:

  • Submit an Officer’s Certificate confirming that the marketer meets the requirements of a Certified Energy Marketer Standards of Conduct, a document developed by intended to promote residential and commercial consumer protection and fair practices.
  • Submit a copy of the most recent version of the marketer’s dispute resolution policy.
  • Submit a sample copy of a sales agreement that has been executed by the marketer and a customer within the previous six months.
  • Submit a sample copy of the marketer’s invoice, if the marketer bills customers directly.
  • Agree to file an Officer’s Certificate on a bi-annual basis asserting that their policies and practices are in compliance with the Standards of Conduct. claims that it will promptly notify any marketer found not in compliance with these standards, allowing 15 business days to regain compliance status.

Certifying Energy Products

Dedicated to promoting renewable energy and environmental sustainability, San Francisco-based Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) administers a “Green-e” certification program. Launched in 1997, the Green-e certification mark is available for use with green power products in competitive electric service markets.

Ultimately, CRS’ goal with Green-e is to build consumer confidence in retail products containing renewable energy, expand the market for renewable electricity products, provide information to allow customers to make informed purchasing decisions, and expand the market for power from cleaner, non-renewable generation. Some eligibility requirements for the Green-e seal include:

  • Provide a disclosure statement to prospective customers that lists the resources from which the green power product being marketed will be generated.
  • Provide customers with an annual disclosure of the fuel mix used during the past year to generate the electricity purchased by the customer.
  • Provide all customers, before they register for service, a one-page summary of contract information using standard Green-e formats for pricing and contract terms of service.
  • Undergo an annual third-party verification of contracts, meter data, billing statements, and any other records necessary to substantiate the portfolio of electricity sources and air emission content required for program eligibility.
  • Agree to abide by guidelines outlined in a “Green-e Code of Conduct and Compliance Review” document.

Certifying Energy Professionals

Arlington-based National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) provides one of the most comprehensive certification programs for energy industry professionals. NRECA’s CKAE program, which certifies account executives calling on large customers, requires that applicants:

  • Complete required courses in Key Accounts Management, Advanced Key Accounts, and Engineering Economics.
  • Submit a strategic business plan for his or her cooperative and a working customer marketing plan for a specific key account customer.
  • Pass a certification exam that evaluates individual competencies. This instrument indicates mastery of the course material and identifies personal strengths in the areas of key accounts management and sales.

In the end, any organization can provide certification. However, measuring the credibility and comprehensiveness of a particular stamp of approval can provide invaluable insight into a supplier’s ability to deliver services and subsequent support.