Energy spotlight: Doug Shaefer
Doug Schaefer wants to help some of Western Pennsylvania’s biggest electricity users cut their bills.
The vice president of managed products for On Demand Energy Solutions, based in Pittsburgh, Shaefer works with universities, hospitals, and manufacturers, among others, to manage their electrical contracts and find the best prices.
“My job is to truly educate the customers and lay that all out for them, and help them make good decisions — and decisions they’re comfortable with when it’s time to buy,” he said.
OnDemand Energy Solutions, a Pittsburgh based company, manages 5 billion kilowatt hours for over 8,000 business customers and 25,000 residential customers.
Its customers range from small commercial clients to large industrial businesses across Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to the company.
Schaefer, 46, helps analyze factors that affect the electric prices, such as wholesale rates and weather conditions.
Schaefer went to school in Pittsburgh, earning a degree from economics from the University of Pittsburgh, and has built his career here since. He worked for Direct Energy as director of portfolio management, buying electricity on the market when the company signed new contracts.
He worked for several electricity startup companies before coming to OnDemand. He got into the business on the recommendation of a friend who referred him for a job at an energy-trading desk. “I’ve experienced a lot over the last almost 17 years, from the energy crisis in California to the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — and then you’ve got the polar vortex,” he said.
“Right now, the most exciting thing going on is the Marcellus shale play, in this region especially. It’s really going to fundamentally change the energy markets.”
Schaefer, his wife and their four children live in Beaver Falls, where he coaches youth ice hockey. He is on the Beaver County Recreation Board and volunteers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where his son once was a patient.
Schaefer talks about his family’s experiences at the annual Champions for Hope Gala and other corporate and individual fundraising events.
The best part of his job is helping customers, he said.
“It’s nice that you can … help businesses manage their electricity spending and be able to pass that on to their customers,” he said.