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A passion to go beyond the obvious

October 7, 2019 | Laura King-Homan | OPPD employees
OPPD energy consultant

Eric BenSalah isn’t just all talk when he’s helping OPPD customers.

As the utility’s energy consultant, BenSalah helps customers learn about energy efficiency, ways to save on energy costs and how energy usage affects the environment and their bill. Being a touch point for customers is highly rewarding, he said.

And he’s passionate about the subject matter.

“Everything I recommend, I do,” BenSalah said. “I would like our customers to know that OPPD is motivated and dedicated to energy-efficient technology, programs and education. We have a passion to serve, and I have a passion for energy efficiency.”

Customers first

Contact BoxBenSalah has been with OPPD for more than seven years, starting as a part-time payment specialist. He quickly moved into a customer service role working with business and commercial customers. He acted as a first contact for the customers as an energy advisor.

In his new role as energy consultant, BenSalah is busy updating OPPD’s library of energy efficiency tools. But at the root of all his work are customers.

“I help customers with more detailed energy-efficienty-related inquiries and perform continuing research in the field,” he said. “I’m always looking for new ideas of inspiration.”

His largest project to date is updating the energy efficiency content on oppd.com.

It has morphed from a creative venture establishing a foundation for energy-efficiency education to a crash course in project management, he said.

“Working with various departments and individuals to bring this project to light for our customers and the contact center who help them has been enlightening,” BenSalah said. “There have been challenges, big wins, little wins and some setbacks, but it has given me experience and perspective.”

OPPD at Work_Eric BenSalah_BU meeting
BenSalah updates others in his business unit on the work to update energy efficiency content on OPPD’s website.
Beyond the obvious

BenSalah said it might surprise customers to learn the scope of energy efficiency. It goes beyond just replacing light bulbs and furnace filters. He looks beyond the obvious to programs that talk about the psychology behind why customers do and don’t do things.

“Learning about the tiniest things we do on a day-to-day basis and how those impact our energy usage has been an astonishingly profound experience.”

This thirst for knowledge to help customers solve issues is one of the things he likes best about his job. In his new role, BenSalah gets to do that with specificity, helping people learn about energy efficiency, ways to save and how it affects the environment and customers’ bills.

His impact on customers varies depending on how he can help them. But in the end, he “loves to troubleshoot situations.” That’s a task he has always enjoyed, even before he came to work at OPPD.

“I have always enjoyed putting together solutions, new products and ideas,” BenSalah said. “Doing HVAC work for a few years really piqued my interest in energy efficiency. It’s an ever-changing industry, which means I get to continue to learn more and more.”

Outside OPPD

When he’s not learning new techniques for energy efficiency, BenSalah is a skilled drum player. He’s played drums for nearly 30 years, 20 of those years playing with various rock bands in Omaha. In college, he spent three years on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln marching band’s drumline, even performing in the 2002 Rose Bowl. He showcases his drumming ability in videos on YouTube.

He also has a “deep passion” for aviation, specifically commercial aviation. You can often find him at Eppley Airfield taking photos and videos on a weekly basis.

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

View all posts by Laura King-Homan >

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