Growth Trends for Related Jobs
How to Become a Utility Broker
A utilities broker uses market knowledge and energy-purchasing experience to assist homeowners, commercial customers and utility companies with buying and selling energy services. This requires extensive knowledge of the energy market, pricing structures and the differing contract terms with various energy suppliers. Those with strong analytical, technical and interpersonal skills will find this profession to be rewarding.
A utilities broker is someone who buys or sells energy products on behalf of commercial or residential customers or utilities. They contact and analyze prices and contracts from multiple energy suppliers so that businesses and individuals don’t have to; in fact, the biggest part of a broker’s job is negotiating contracts and pricing.
Although this is the biggest part of the job, energy brokers perform a number of other tasks, including compiling data to approach the supply market, scouring the market for the most suitable gas and electricity contracts, negotiating prices and contractual terms, providing recommendations, and setting up and managing multi-site contracts.
Brokers will likely be expected to explain contracts or related documents to customers as well as to develop and deliver custom sales proposals or presentations. Having solid interpersonal skills and a flair for client management are crucial. Brokers should also have decent technical skills, as a big part of customer relationship management involves using specialized software.
To become a utilities broker, it’s highly recommended that you obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, finance, economics or a related field. Relevant work in the field is critical, because brokers must have market experience and relationships with suppliers to find work. Aspiring brokers may also want to obtain an energy broker license through a professional organization such as The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA).
TEPA offers the Energy Management Professional (EMP) certification to those who want to demonstrate to their clients their understanding of the national retail energy market, their commitment to professional standards, and their knowledge of client-facing opportunities and industry news and information. The EMP certification is available to all TEPA Aggregator, Broker, Supplier and Consultant members. It’s an online exam that consists of 60 multiple choice questions, and it can be taken remotely at whatever time is most convenient for the test-taker.
Energy brokers are, in effect, consultants whose job it is to advise their clientele on the best products and services on the market. There are a variety of types of brokers, which run the gamut from single-employee outfits to well-regarded businesses; in other words, as a broker, you could work in an energy broker partnership or work for yourself.
Brokers are experts at cultivating relationships with current and future clients and focusing on customer needs. This is in addition to amassing a body of technical knowledge that focuses on predicting future energy needs, developing energy product packages and providing technical guidance. Apart from working in utilities, brokers may find careers as sales representatives in several different fields and industries, either energy-oriented or not.
Years of Experience and Salary
While trustworthy data isn’t available for the title of energy broker as a specific category, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does collect data on securities, commodities and financial service sales agents who connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for workers in these fields was $64,120 in 2018. This means that half earned more than this, while the other half earned less.
Job Growth Trend
The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have job growth trend statistics for utility brokers. However, they reported a 6 percent growth rate (from 2016 to 2026) for those in the securities, commodities and financial services fields. This is a tad lower than the national average growth rate for all occupations, which is reported to be 7 percent.
- Think about brokering green and alternative energy solutions. Although less established, green companies often benefit from government grants. Additionally, this market has room for growth and tends to be less-saturated than markets for traditional energy sources.
<!--StartFragment-->Justine Harrington is a writer based in Austin, Texas. Her work has been published in Forbes, USA Today, Fodor's, American Way, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Texas Highways, Austin Monthly, and dozens of other print and online publications.