The Little Things

November 30, 2010

I was driving down the Garden State Parkway a couple of weeks ago and I was enjoying the full color spectrum of the fall trees. Some of the trees were beginning to lose leaves but looking on a mile or so ahead, it presented a beautiful view. 

I really love this time of year and how God uses the landscape to paint a perfect picture. 

Turning onto the Atlantic City Expressway, I started to notice that the picture was fading. No longer could I see the brilliant colors ahead, for the trees were almost bare once I got to mile marker 13.5. 

I was a little surprised, for you would think that the fall splendor is universal in the area? 

I didn’t realize that there exist little pockets; that have their own hours to shine. 

We all must exist on our own timeline! 

What made mile marker 13.5 the breakpoint? 

That started me thinking. All the little things we just take for granted on a daily basis. 

What made me stop and take notice of the difference? 

Why? 

Because that is part of my character and that is what we do here at HBS. 

We look at the little things, the cost that most companies just take for granted. 

Most of our items are just budgeted for. 

What did we pay last year and how much do you think it may go up? 

     Electric…. Natural Gas…. Voice… Data…. Unemployment Taxes…. Sales Tax 

Need I say more? 

We call these costs the unsung heroes! 

These are daily cost of doing business that most companies tend to ignore. 

We find many people are resistant to change but: 

The only thing constant in life is change!  

Each client is unique. 

Each opportunity opens the door to defining what the client is currently doing; 

Exploring various options and 

Providing solutions, designed to increase efficiency and savings. 

We understand that the current economic climate has been difficult for many businesses. 

HBS provides: 

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

Many times, it is the little things that provide the best opportunities. 

Would you like to know more? Email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230.

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

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Finally

November 23, 2010

It’s been a long wait.

It has been well publicized, that in January 2011, PECO will lift the rate caps on electric prices and will be entering the deregulated market.

Just what does this mean for PECO customers?

As part of deregulation, local providers will no longer own their own power plants to generate electric. Their job is to deliver electricity to the end user, the client.

They are able to sell the supply, which they buy through an auction process, to anyone who chooses to stay with the local provider at a default price, which could be higher.

PECO is actually encouraging larger users to shop their rates with 3rd party providers. 

If your business is currently spending a minimum of $5000 a month on electricity, Hutchinson Business Solutions will now be able to help you buy your electric supply from a 3rd party supplier.

The new rates PECO will be proposing as of Jan 2011 will be tiered for certain rate classes. For certain customers the first tier is for the first 80 hours of usage per month, and is the highest rate. This can range from $0.16 cent per kwh to $0.17 cents per kwh.

The prices will be scaled down as your usages progress. The more electric you use, the more the price goes down.

PECO is only publishing these rates for 90 days. That means that as of April 1st, new prices will appear based on such potential factors as:

                                                  – How PECO needs to true-up their costs

                                                  – Current market values at that time.

 Another factor being added into the PECO price to compare is RMR (Reliability Must Run). This is a pass thru cost from the local provider for system reliability.

This means having the ability to generate electric when it is needed. Although this cost has not been defined, it could be in the $0.001 mil to $0.003 mil ranges (3 mil ie:3 tenths of a penny).

The bottom line, should you choose to stay with PECO, you could be paying higher default rates as of Jan 2011.

Each account is unique, based on their demand and usage patterns. For smaller to midsize accounts; we could see electric supply prices in the $.010 cents per kwh to $.13 cent range as a default price from PECO.

We have been working with clients in the PECO territory this year and have found significant opportunities in the deregulated electric market.

HBS clients are finding savings ranging from 10% to 20% by purchasing electric thru deregulated 3rd party providers.

Hutchinson Business Solutions (HBS) has been providing independent, deregulated energy solutions for over 10 years.

There is no upfront fee.

Our strategic partnerships allow us to represent all the major providers currently selling energy in deregulated states.

Should you like to know more about this topic, email george@hbsadvantage.com

or call 856-857-1230 

Visit s on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA – November 18, 2010 (WPVI) — When you think of the Eagles you think GREEN – and we’re not just talking about the

The Eagles organization has long been committed to the environment and energy sustainability. Well, today the Eagles will take a bold move when they make Lincoln Financial Field the first major sports stadium in the world to generate its own electricity.

In the coming months the Linc will be outfitted with approximately eighty 20-foot tall spiral shaped wind turbines on the top rim of the stadium and 2,500 solar panels on the façade. Along with the state of the art power system, energy will be generated on-site.

The project will cost an estimated $30-million, but the Eagles expect to save an estimated $60-million in energy costs in the coming years.

The stadium will generate enough electricity to power 26,000 homes – far more than needed to power the stadium. So, the Eagles will be selling excess electricity back to the local power grid.

Two hundred people are expected to be employed to design and install the system. Six hundred more jobs are expected to be created because the Eagles are committed to using people from the local community through contractors and vendors.

More information on the project is scheduled to be released later today at Lincoln Financial Field by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Where’s The Bottom

November 12, 2010

Natural gas prices continue being very competitive. 

How low will they go? 

Hurricane season does not officially end until November 30th, however it is rare to see a tropical storm in the Gulf this late in the season. The 2010 Atlantic Hurricane season was very active this year, with 19 named storms. The last time I looked we were up to T for Toma. 

Here we are heading into the end of November and natural gas nymex prices are still under $4.00. 

Where is the bottom? 

Without a crystal ball, this ends up being a very difficult question to answer. 

When you look at the overall picture not much has changed, Storage levels are still at a 5-year high and holding. It has been like that for several years now.

 We do have the Marcellus gas in Western PA. Some geologists estimate that it could yield enough gas to supply the entire East Coast for 50 years.

 That must prove to be the major factor. It is the old supply demand scenario?

The bottom line states, that if your business is currently spending a minimum of $3000 a month and you are still with the local provider, you should be looking at buying natural gas from a 3rd party provider in the deregulated market.

Did you know that if you are a PSEG customer, you ended up paying 15% higher for natural gas over the last year?

How much savings would that have equated for your company?

With natural gas prices being so low we have also seen this translate into very competitive deregulated electric prices. We recently signed a client the other day and they will be saving 30% on their electric supply cost for the next 2 years.

I know that savings is a parity of how much you spend but let me ask again.

How much savings would that have equated for your company?

If you are currently spending over $3000 a month on electric and your company is still with the local provider, you should be looking at buying electric from a 3rd party provider in the deregulated market.

To find out more about this opportunity email george@hbsadvantage.com or feel free to call 856-857-1230.

Grab That Phone

November 10, 2010

 Just how important is the phone to business?

 Many view it as a link to the outside world. 

 My Pop used to say, “Nothing starts until the phone starts ringing.”

 He and his brother owned Hutchinson Plumbing and

 Boy did the phone ring!

 When I first got out of college, I worked on the dispatch desk. The phones would start ringing the moment we walked in the door and would not stop until we locked the door behind us at the end of the day. Back in the early 70’s we were getting close to 300 calls a day. On top of that, I was also dispatching 4 service trucks. Walking out of the building at the end of the day, I would still hear the phones ringing in my ears. It usually took about an hour or so to unwind.

 The telecom industry has come a long way since the early 70’s.

 Back then; Bell Telephone was king of the copper.

 Pots (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines were your only option.

 With the deregulation of the Telecom Industry in 1996, competition was introduced to the market and the industry started to evolve. Instead of using copper to feed individual telephone lines, they introduced fiber and the whole market exploded. All of a sudden they were able to deliver 24 lines thru one fiber cable.

At the same time the Internet was being introduced to the public and providers were able to deliver both telephone service and Internet service thru one fiber connection.

As the industry continued to evolve, a number of individuals in research environments, both in educational and corporate institutions, took a serious interest in carrying voice and video over IP networks. This technology is commonly referred to today as VOIP and is, in simple terms, the process of breaking up audio or video into small chunks, transmitting those chunks over an IP network, and reassembling those chunks at the far end so that two people can communicate using audio and video. 

The problem with VOIP in the beginning was the inability to deliver Quality of Service (QOS). You would be talking to someone on the phone and they would be saying ” Hey I am speaking to you thru the Internet.” My response, “Yea I know” either there was an echo, delay , or the voice transmission was broken up or you heard a lot of static. This was one of the main issues that kept VOIP from being embraced by business. It just seemed too unprofessional to be able to exist in a business climate.

The major providers have now addressed this QOS problem by letting you ride their network. This has brought us to a whole new era called appropriately, Hosted VOIP.

Gone are the QOS issues and expanded are the services now available to the consumer:

-voicemail to email

-twinning (ringing both your phone and cell phone  simultaneously)

-HotDesking (make and receive calls using any OfficeSuite  phone on the network)

-outlook integration

-remote workers can be supported over an Internet connection.

 How old is your business telephone system?

If it is over 10 years old, you are limping and on borrowed time.

You may choose to keep limping.

Should you choose to look at a new telephone system, I would strongly recommend reviewing the opportunities available by choosing a Hosted VOIP system.

HBS represents all the major providers and we can schedule a demo of the various systems. Come and kick the tires and see how the telecom industry has evolved.

You no longer have to be afraid to answer the phone.

To learn more about Hosted VOIP products email george@hbsadvantage.com 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

By Andrew Maykuth The Philadelphia Inquirer

Oct. 15– Peco Energy Co. said Thursday that its overall residential electric rate would increase only about 5 percent Jan. 1, putting to rest fears that deregulation would lead to a gigantic boost in the cost of power.

And for customers willing to shop around in a rapidly emerging competitive market, their bills may actually go down on New Year’s Day.

In a filing Thursday with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Peco unveiled its long-awaited default rate for residential generation service, the “price to compare” to alternative energy suppliers.

For residential customers, that price will be 9.92 cents per kilowatt-hour — a number power discounters should be able to beat.

The announcement is likely to trigger a lively fight among alternative suppliers to sign up households, which make up most of Peco’s 1.6 million customers. A residential customer typically consumes about 700 kilowatt-hours a month.

The competition for large commercial and industrial customers is already fierce.

Several suppliers, large and small, said they were planning to offer discounts but were awaiting the company’s announcement to set up their own offers. Other “green” marketers are also likely to jump into the fray, offering renewable-energy deals.

Judging from the experience of neighboring utilities that have already deregulated, consumers should expect a marketing blitz (direct mail, telemarketing, door-to-door salespeople) to crank up in the coming months.

Consumer advocates caution Peco customers to pay close attention to the offers — whether the rates are fixed or variable, and if they contain cancellation fees.

Customers are under no obligation to switch suppliers. The PUC requires Peco to supply power at the default rate to customers who stay with the utility.

Indeed, in areas of Pennsylvania where markets have already opened up, a majority of customers stayed with the traditional utility because the potential savings — perhaps only $10 a month — were not enough motive to switch.

No matter which company sells the electricity, Peco still will serve every customer because it owns the power-distribution system. Peco makes money from a regulated distribution fee, not from generating the power itself.

The restructuring is the result of Pennsylvania’s Electric Choice Act of 1996, which forced traditional utilities to divest their power plants and become merely regulated distributors of electricity over their wires. The law’s aim was to stimulate competition and suppress prices.

The law allowed Peco’s rates to remain capped through 2010 to allow the utility to recover its investments in power plants through a “transition charge.” For most of those years, the capped rates were so low alternative suppliers could not compete.

But with the caps off at the end of this year, the transition charge disappears and third-party suppliers are in a stronger position to compete.

Peco set its default generation rate after signing contracts with power generators that competed in a series of auctions over the last year.

On Thursday, Peco announced the prices to compare for a range of customer classes.

Residential customers who heat with electricity will pay 9.74 cents for the first 600 kilowatt-hours each month, then the price drops to 5.35 cents.

For small commercial customers, the price to compare is 9.47 cents per kilowatt-hour. For medium-size commercial customers, it is 9.37 cents and 9.59 cents for large customers.

All the prices to compare include only charges for generation, long-distance transmission, and the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, a fee that reflects the cost for the renewable power the state requires utilities to buy.

Peco’s distribution charge — which covers the cost to maintain wires and transformers, customer service, and Peco’s profit — varies among customer classes.

Cathy Engel, a spokeswoman for the utility, said prices for some customers would actually go down in January, even if they did not switch. Small commercial customers will see a 5 percent decrease.

But large customers would pay 7 percent more if they stayed with Peco’s default rate. Many have already signed up with alternative suppliers.

One new wrinkle: Electric rates now will adjust slightly each quarter to reflect changes in the wholesale market, much as rates for natural gas change seasonally.

Alternative suppliers are likely to offer fixed-rate plans to appeal to customers who want price stability. Those plans guarantee no price increases over the term of the contract.

Even though alternative suppliers may offer attractive discounts, experts say that residential customers tend to resist change.

For example, PPL Electric Utilities Corp., the Allentown company that serves much of eastern Pennsylvania, says that even though alternative suppliers offered discounts up to 15 percent, two-thirds of its residential customers stayed with PPL after rate caps were lifted in January.

PPL’s price-to-compare this year was 10.4 cents. Its price for next year is expected to fall to about 9.4 cents.

But even in that market, alternative suppliers are still offering rates below 9 cents a kilowatt-hour. That suggests the marketers in Peco’s territory are likely to undercut its 9.92-cent rate.

“Even if it’s a half-cent savings, that’s still $50 to $60 a year in savings,” said Jennifer Kocher, a PUC spokeswoman.

Power Shopping

Peco responds to customer questions at http://www.pecoanswers.com

Pa.’s PUC offers a primer for understanding your Peco bill at http://go.philly.com/pecobill

Pa.’s PUC explains electrical choice, lists alternative suppliers at http://www.papowerswitch.com