The Generac Conference covered all kinds of trends in the HVAC world. There’s a significant shift away from fossil fuels toward electricity. Also, as people spend more time at home, they’re opting to install generators.
John Moroney: Hi, John Moroney from Jones Services, general Manager of Jones Services, and I’m here today with Brett Rogenski from NETR, and we are going to be debriefing about these megatrends that were reported at the recent Generac Dealer Conference. Really excited to share this information, but more importantly, what you and I are both doing to service our customers knowing about these mega trends. Are you ready?
Brett Rogenski: I’m ready. This is going to be exciting stuff.
John: Yes. So the first thing that they reported that the Generac Conference is the electrification of everything. Everything is going electrical, gas, and oil are being phased out. And they believe they’re about a half a cent more to reduce in the storage of electrical through renewable sources. Because the challenge with renewable sources is that when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing, you’re not generating electric.
So they have these storage towers where they actually storing energy and they need to squeeze out another about half a cent, and then the delivery of electric will be less expensive than even natural gas. And so this is really exciting stuff. The electrification of everything. And for a company like NETR and for Jones, this is good news as clean dealers of Mitsubishi mini-splits.
Brett: It’s great news because you’re right, John, the cost competitiveness of electric is becoming much more in line with gas and other fuel sources, and obviously electric is what? It’s clean heat. And so yeah, as Mitsubishi mini-split diamond elite dealers, we are already huge proponents of the electrification of everything and people heating their homes with clean heat. So absolutely. That’s a massive trend that’s happening right now. It’s not coming. It’s here.
John: It certainly is. And we are able to take advantage of rebates both in Massachusetts and in New York. And pass these onto our customer savings as the cost of electric comes even lower.
Brett: That is correct.
John: Yes. So besides the electrification of everything, and that includes, because I understand, congratulations, you’ve got your electrical division up and running.
Brett: We do.
John: And auto car chargers are becoming bigger and bigger. We’re putting them in, it seems like one a day almost, that more and more people are converting to electrical cars and they need charging stations in their homes.
Brett: We know that you folks have been in that space for a long time, and NETR is now working in that space as well where we’re helping our customers. The other thing that you have to think about with the electrification of everything, especially in an area like Boston, this greater Boston area where we tend to have older homes, is that also comes with having to upgrade service to your home. So you want to work with a contractor like NETR or like Jones who can be a one-stop shop and help you with a service upgrade to 200 amps to your home, help you with a panel upgrade to support all those great things and take advantage of those savings.
John: Yes. Now, the second megatrend has to do with the weather and the storm of the century is now the storm of the year where we’re getting bigger and more inclement weather than ever before. And as the homes become more reliant on electrical, they need to work when the power’s out as well as when the power’s on.
Brett: Sure, yeah. Think about it, John. It seems like every time we turn on the news, we’re hearing about some new horrible storm, whether it be in the interior or coastal that’s just causing swaths of enormous damage. And as more and more things, well, think about it, you actually need electricity even for your gas stove and stuff to work. It doesn’t work without electric.
And same thing with your furnace. So we all need electricity all the time, but once you become more reliant on electrical heating sources and cooling sources and other things such as chargers for your electric car, being able to be self-sufficient during those times in need, I think it’s much more important.
John: Yes. And then that leads into the other megatrends that they’re talking about. We are becoming more dependent on our home. The amount of people from 2019 to 2021 working from home has tripled.
Brett: Wow, I didn’t realize that tripled. That’s amazing. Yes, it makes sense. But it’s amazing.
John: Yes. We even have a couple of customer service reps who work from their homes, and you have to go with the times. And people are working from home they can’t work if the power goes out.
Brett: No, you’re 100%. And you make me think of something we’re doing here now. We’re updating our phone system to what they call a soft phone, a software based phone for the exact reason, so that some of our team members maybe during inclement weather instead of having to get on the roads, will be able to do their exact job from their laptop at home, including send and receive phone calls to serve our customers in those times in need, because for instance, this weekend, we’ve got wind chills in the negative 30s and negative 40s coming. We need to be able to serve people, whether the power’s on here, the power’s off here, or we’re here or not.
John: Yeah. We’re preparing too, for the cold weather, that’s about to hit us. The other reason people are becoming more dependent on having their electrical always working their home is even if they work like me and you, we go into the office every day, we go home and instead of going to the malls doing all of our shopping, we’re doing our e-commerce from home and happy life, happy wife. And you want to make sure those Amazon packages are continuing to come and take care of the kids.
Brett: My home is an example. We’re all consumers every day in different spaces. Amazon probably delivers to my house five days a week. That’s the easiest way. And interestingly, the last few times I’ve been in a lot of retail stores trying to get something for my kids, I’m really shocked at how poorly stocked they are because of their own supply chain challenges. So that even brings us even more so to relying on e-commerce and being able to shop from home.
John: Well, have you had the experience where you’re in the store and then they take out a laptop and they look up their stock and then we’ll ship it to your home? And you’re like, why am I here?
Brett: That happened to me at Best Buy. Guy pulled out a tablet and
John: Found a thing and shipping it to your house.
Brett: And that was exactly it. That’s exactly my thought is why am I standing here? So good point.
John: The other trend is remote learning. I don’t think this is the case in Massachusetts, not in New York, but it’s only yet. But they no longer have snow days in Wisconsin. They’re like, how could they not have snow days in Wisconsin? It’s like whenever you watch a Packer game, it’s always snowing.
John: But what they have now is they have go to school from home days that they’re all e-learning and the trend nationally is up. People are going to college, they’re going to high school, they’re even going to elementary school remotely now. And so they’re relying on your home for potentially your business. And if not for your business, you’re doing your shopping and now you’re doing your learning.
Brett: My own children spent a year and a half remote learning during the peak of Covid on their iPads every day. So yeah, I totally get, and you know what, like you say, a lot of folks continuing their college education and stuff. It’s actually a cool development so long as you can do it that hey, I could be going to USC remotely. As I said, in Massachusetts or New Hampshire or New York or wherever I am.
John: My wife’s getting a doctorate from Liberty College down. We’ve never even gone. We’re going to have to go down there for graduation. I’ve never been there.
Brett: Yeah. First time you’ll see it.
John: Yeah, first time.
Brett: And normally time, probably.
John: PhD without having to step a foot on campus. It’s amazing.
John: And then the last mega trend is people are getting their entertainment from home. They’re not going out as much. They show that YouTube television is through the roof.
Brett: It is.
John: And Amazon Prime, they have a television. I don’t even know about these things. My kids just keep adding them. Disney, Netflix, people are staying home. They’re getting their entertainment from home, shopping from home, going to school from home.
Brett: If you think about it, and especially folks out there who have children, imagine your wife if your kid’s iPad doesn’t work or the television doesn’t work. And same thing recently in my home, we converted to YouTube TV. We got away from traditional TV, YouTube TV. We already had the Disney plus subscription. And you’re right, Amazon Prime has their own stuff. And all our entertainment is direct through the TV at home. And that’s all relying on the TV coming on. So I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a snowstorm with my kids with no power. That would never be any fun.
John: These trends are coming and if they don’t describe you yet, they could be describing you tomorrow. And the best time to install a generator is before the next event.
Brett: Absolutely. Neither of us meeting people after they’ve had a need and stuff. We like to work with consumers who want to resolve the problem before it occurs.
John: So take advantage now. Get the heating systems and air conditioning. Well, the air conditioning always. But get those heating systems, convert it to high efficiency Mitsubishi heat pumps and take advantage of and back it all up. Back it up. So when we have frigid weather like we’re about to hit, you don’t have anything to worry about. Even if the power goes out, it’s good.
Brett: It’s amazing. When you get a generator with an automatic transfer switch, it’s like nothing ever happened. It’s a quick blip and then everything’s right back where it was. It’s amazing.
John: So Brett, I wanted to cover one more mega trend. This one actually wasn’t discussed at the Generac Conference. It’s something we found with our customers. And mortgage rates are going up
Brett: Very much.
John: And I have a friend of mine, and he’s a fairly successful person. He told me, “I would move, but I can’t afford to move.” And so instead of moving into his dream home, we’re now helping him build his dream home. Upgrading his heating system with a Mitsubishi mini-split and getting him auto standby power so all the equipment is up and running. If you’re not going to be able to move, might as well make your current home, your dream home. And we can help that. And NETR can help with that as well.
Brett: I think that’s a great point. And you’re right. In the economy as it sits right now with relative to real estate, you’re probably much better off making the home that you’re in the home you want as opposed to moving out of your home to try and find that one. Great point. And we love helping people. We’re a true home services company just like you are.
John: Yeah. I remember years ago at the Generac conference, they were telling the three things you could do to improve the value of your home. And naturally one of them was to put it in an auto standby generator in there because the Generac conference.
Brett: Well, imagine that. Yeah, exactly.
John: But what was interesting was that replacing your heating and air conditioning system was on the list as well.
John: The third one was roofing. We don’t do roofing, but now heating and air conditioning and generators, the two out of the top three. And we are able to take care of customers and help them upgrade the value of their home. So when the mortgage rates becomes sane again, then they can get maximum value out of it.
Brett: I agree. And in the meantime, it’s comfort. You have a better…
John: In the meantime, you can enjoy your dream home.
Brett: Exactly. You have better comfort with that nice modern heating and air system, and you have an automated generator backup for comfort in case you lose that power for whatever the many reasons of that that happens. Great point. So I think that’s amazing.
John: Why move when you can stay?
Brett: Why move when we can upgrade.
John: Exactly, yeah.
Brett: Thanks, John.