Are facilitators catalysts or gravediggers of EPCs

To deliver EPCs (energy performance contracts) profitably request to meet very specific conditions: among them, access to capital, support for investments, a perfect financial and legal control of the process, a high degree of industrialization of the model, leaving no room for improvisation and banning of relying on good technical skills to compensate for a lack of control of business processes.

All of these conditions is not accessible to small structures. We must therefore be prepared to see the EPCs offered by large organizations, provided they have managed to control the different points listed above.

In this situation, it is difficult for specialized consulting firms, for example, to look at such a cake without having the opportunity to grab one piece of it.

The difficulties consumers have to understand the model of EPCs, to express their needs, to assess the offers made for EPCs have opened a door to these small structures through which they rushed.

To establish a link, to provide a translation between the world of consumers and the one of EPCs’ suppliers quickly emerged as a promising role available to these smaller players. They are responsible for writing specifications, to drive the bidding process and select service providers: they call themselves facilitators, a promising name.

But are these promises held?

Facilitators have multiplied faster than EPCs’ suppliers. Many have never completed EPCs, have no clear idea about the conditions of profitability or success of an EPC. By ignorance, I have seen facilitators creating conditions in which it was impossible for service providers to succeed and capitalize on valuable experience. In many countries, the EPCs are a model that has difficulties to emerge despite an obvious interest to all parties; make facilitators accountable of this lack of success is obviously excessive.

But it would probably be virtuous not to impose the presence of a facilitator, to let the market freely assemble competence and structure later. This would avoid some small players act as gravediggers of EPCs rather than facilitators.

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