Audits, Analysis, and Hunting
Amber Gray has a keen eye for detail. In her day-to-day as the Energy Management Specialist for City of New Bern, that eye allows her to expertly determine causes of extremely high energy consumption; administer heat pump and water heater rebate programs; coordinate energy audits; and compile and analyze data on key accounts. And in her personal life, it means she’s a decent deer hunter — or at least a happy one. “My fiancé and I hunt together and it’s something we both enjoy,” Amber says. “We have good times together.”
As a New Bern native, Amber is no stranger to the public power community, although she’s only worked for the city for about 8 months since April 2020. Her professional background is in financial analysis, so jumping into the energy field is a good change of pace, she says. “There are a lot of moving components and nothing ever stays the same. Every day I’m constantly learning something. It’s never boring!”
Among Amber’s many tasks are daily commercial account reviews, and recently her eye for detail paid off big-time for one customer. Amber noticed that the energy consumption of Bear City Fudge Company, a local small business, had tripled over the past few months. She contacted the owner, who hadn’t noticed the increase due to having bills paid by auto-draft. “It wasn’t changing their daily operations and they weren’t physically touching their bills, so they hadn’t realized their energy had tripled,” Amber says. “I contacted ElectriCities and we conducted a commercial energy audit.” The audit found an issue with the company’s HVAC unit. After HVAC repairs, Bear City Fudge’s consumption returned to a normal range, much to the owner’s relief. “It was a pretty big catch,” Amber admits, but she insists, “I don’t want to make it a big deal though. This is my job!”
When she’s off the clock, you’re likely to find Amber outdoors and suited up in camouflage. “When I was younger, hunting was a pastime I did with my dad,” she says. She hadn’t hunted since her teenage years until meeting her fiancé, City of New Bern police officer Jeb, who is an avid hunter. “He renewed my hobby.” While Jeb enjoys hunting turkey and deer — “we’re planning the wedding around turkey and deer seasons,” she says with a laugh — Amber sticks to deer. And up next: “Jeb is going to teach me how to bow hunt.”
After a good hunt, they like to come home to a taco dinner. “I am a huge, huge, huge taco lover,” Amber says. “Everyone knows that Amber = tacos. It’s always Mexican night in my house.” With four children between them, it’s a good way to feed a crowd before they’re off to gymnastics or cheerleading competitions, or just keeping up with Amber’s 4-year-old son. “We stay busy!”
Pro Tip: The Value of Reviewing Commercial Accounts
Be your customers’ biggest advocate by scheduling regular check-ins on commercial and key accounts. Amber Gray, Energy Management Specialist at the Department of New Bern, shares the simple and effective practice her department follows.
“Each of our commercial clients are scheduled to have a commercial rate review. We review the past 12 months to see if their rates need to be adjusted or if anything seems out of the ordinary. Because these reviews are part of my daily to-do list, we touch every commercial account. If something doesn’t look right, we first check behind-the-scenes to see if there’s anything we need to correct. If not, we contact the customer and ask a few questions. Sometimes we also schedule an energy audit. We offer suggestions and work on solutions together.”
We Want to Hear from You!
We want to shine a light on the folks who keep the lights on, the faces behind the public power that drives our communities. We’ll be sharing a few stories about our team here at ElectriCities, from what inspires us to some of our favorite hobbies.
But this isn’t just about us. We want to hear from you! Do you have an employee who goes above and beyond? What about a team member or leader with an impressive extracurricular accomplishment? Let us know by sending your stories and ideas here.