Note: With the current deregulated market opportunities now being presented to many business that qualify, the market has been inundated with new sales personnel. I found this article provides on objective overview of questions you should ask and details you should know before making a decision.

There are many companies offering variable electric rates. I would not recommend this solution at this time.

With natural gas prices being the lowest they have been in the last 3 or 4 years, there are great opportunities to lock into a fixed price electric contract for a 1 or 2 year period.

By Carl Shaw

With the deregulation of energy in many parts of the US, competition is now allowed between energy companies to provide electricity at discounted rates directly to their customers. These Energy Service Provider Companies (ESCOs) are licensed by individual states and are required to adhere to the applicable regulatory guidelines set by the Public Service Commissions (PSC) or Public Utility Commission (PUC).  Customers (end-users) also have the opportunity to work with electricity brokers or consultants who can compare different offers and provide additional services to help manage your monthly energy spending and costs.

If you are a business spending a minimum of $3000 a month  on your electric or natural gas bill, you may qualify to choose your electric or natural gas supplier in deregulated markets, which could create savings opportunities. Companies that can control or manage their electric consumption to use more electricity in the off-peak hours will find the greatest opportunity for savings. In deregulated markets, you now have a choice and can choose lower energy rates without any risk or local service change.

Your local energy service providers buy natural gas and electricity on the open market at wholesale prices based on the current market conditions and then bill their customers at increased rates to include margins and/or service fees.

Independent Deregulated brokers can put your company in a competitive position by leveraging extensive buying power to help you develop energy supply procurement programs. They can conduct an unbiased rate and tariff analyses that may result in substantial savings to you. 

Due to the current economic conditions and the complications deregulation has caused there are many new energy advisory companies popping up, so be sure to know all the facts before making any decision.

When choosing a qualified utility tariff analysis & rate optimization firm to represent you, you should be aware of a few things:

First, be sure that the price you are quoted from your local provider includes all charges. Should you be talking to a consultant or broker, make sure the price is “fully loaded” meaning, does it include the 7% loss allowance (to deliver 100,000 kWh of electric, the providers must actually send 107,000 kWh, for there is a 7% loss in transmission)? Also does it include the local sales tax?

In PA, you must also ask if the price includes GRT (gross receipt tax) and RMR (reliabilty must run). RMR is a pass thru charge from the provider that allows them to meet peak demand periods when they must use additional resources to meet this demand. This is normally found during the summer months.

All these important components should be included in the quote from your deregulated provider to make an accurate comparison. These components are included in your price to compare from your local provider.  Often, companies will provide a low end quote without including sales tax and a load allowance. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Often when these figures are included, their real quote is much higher.

Does the company providing your quote have an Energy Information Management System in place, to make sure that you are getting the best available rate?

Are they shopping your account to more than 1 provider. Each provider has a sweet spot (a market they are most competitive in). An independent broker who knows the market will be able to identify these providers and work to get the best price.

Information is power. Knowing what questions to ask will save you time and money.

There are opportunities to save from 10% to 25% in the deregulated electric market depending on your usage patterns.

When making a final decision, know that you are dealing with a commodity and timing is everything. Market fluctuations may happen on a daily basis.

Best Time

February 14, 2011

When is the best time to buy energy in the deregulated market?

I have heard statements from clients saying, “Let’s wait to July or August and then we’ll look at it.”

This seems to be a common misconception. When buying a commodity, we are dealing with a fluid market.

Prices are constantly changing.

During the last 4 years, we have seen the Nymex go from a high of $13.105 in July 2008 to a low of $2.843 in September of 2009.

What is the Nymex?

The current price of natural gas out of the ground in the Gulf of Mexico to the shores of Louisiana.

When quoting fixed natural gas prices we must add the basis cost, which is the cost of transporting natural gas from the shores of Louisiana to the gate of the local provider (PSEG, SJ Gas, PGW, Peco  etc).

The Nymex is normally used as a gauge to determine where the natural gas and electric markets are at any given point of the day.

Nymex is up, means that gas and electric prices will be increasing

Conversely,

Nymex is down, means that gas and electric prices will be dropping.

This is not necessarily a proportional shift but it is a good indicator.

I went back over those 4 years and looked to see when the Nymex was at its’ highest and lowest points.

Year        Average Cost        Lowest   Month   Highest   Month

2007       $6.376 dth            $5.43      Sept        $7.558    April

2008       $8.437 dth            $6.469   Nov        $13.105   July

2009       $3.475 dth            $2.843     Sept      $6.136     Jan

2010       $3.908 dth            $3.292     Nov       $5.814     Jan

Our goal at HBS is to properly monitor the market swings and to communicate with our clients when the opportunities present the best value.

Dealing with a utility is not like dealing with other contracts in business.

You do not have to wait for the contract to expire.

There is no guarantee that the best opportunity will be available.

As of this writing the Nymex is at $3.93 and it is only mid-February.

Could the market go lower?

Yes..

But there is more of an upside risk!

Prices could easily go higher.

 

How much lower will the market go?

The floor is not determined until it passes

And then it may be too late.

When dealing with a commodity….

Timing is everything!

I often say that a client who buys deregulated utilities is like a person who shops at Syms.

“An educated consumer is our best customer.”

HBS strives to educate our clients and keep them informed,

Providing…

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

If you would like to know more about deregulated utilities and your business call 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com

Trade group looks to revise “price-to-compare” system that helps customers make informed choices about independent power suppliers
 
By Tom Johnson, January 28 in Energy & Environment |
With residential customers finally switching electricity suppliers, a trade group representing independent power companies is hoping the state revamps billing and other procedures to make it easier for consumers to shop for a cheaper energy.
For the first time since the state broke up its electric monopolies more than a decade ago, residential customers and small commercial operations have some choices about who supplies the power to light their homes and businesses.

Because of a steep drop in natural gas prices and the way the state buys electricity, independent power suppliers have an opportunity to undercut the price that public utilities offer customers.

“The big story on the retail electricity side has been the emergence of residential and small commercial markets,” agreed Jay Kooper, New Jersey state chair of the Retail Energy Suppliers Association, a trade group representing so-called Third-Party Suppliers (TPS).

Falling Prices

Until natural gas prices fell, more than 99 percent of residential customers elected to stay with their incumbent electric utility to buy their power, a fact that generated criticism of the state’s deregulation law. Other power suppliers found it hard to beat the price of the incumbents, in part because fuel costs had been rising and the state mitigated those spikes by buying power in chunks over three years, which tended to moderate those increases.

But when natural gas prices began falling more than a year ago, suppliers could undercut the price offered by the state, with some offering price discounts of up to 15 percent on the supply portion of customers’ bills. Nearly 100,000 customers have switched as of November, according to the most recent data compiled by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU).

With customers looking around for options, the big question for third-party suppliers is how do they sustain the business, especially if natural gas prices begin rising.

To Kooper, the answer is to revamp the state’s policies in two key areas: how to deal with customers who fall behind in their bills and owe the third-party suppliers money and the so-called price-to-compare, a mechanism set up by the state to help customers shop for new suppliers.

“We need to dive into the nuts and bolts of the retail market to keep it sustainable for the long term,” Kooper said, noting the changes his group is seeking have already been adopted in other states with deregulated energy markets.

Gaining Momentum

Board of Public Utilities President Lee Solomon, who ordered the stakeholder hearings on the issue, said he is trying to take advantage of the momentum created by new suppliers coming into the market and make it easier for them to compete with the incumbents.

Without changes, Kooper said the suppliers will be subject to a “boom and bust” cycle when natural gas prices rise as they most inevitably will. What the suppliers are seeking is a level playing field to compete with the utilities, he said.

Along those lines, the group is advocating requiring the utilities to purchase the suppliers’ account receivables, or unpaid customer bills. Kooper argued such a change would be fair because utilities are already are protected from uncollected bills by a surcharge, which allows them to pay off those bills.

The group is also seeking to establish a uniform price-to-compare system because each of the four utilities uses a different scheme to help customers compare prices, according to Murray Bevan, counsel to the group.

“As retail markets evolve, it’s very important that price-to-compare is as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as possible,” Kooper said. “Without these mechanisms, it makes access to the smaller customers trickier and riskier.”

About Deregulation

January 27, 2011

As presented on PSEG website

Before Deregulation 

Prior to New Jersey’s restructuring, PSE&G was responsible for generating electricity, transmitting the power to all regions of their service territory, distributing the power to the individual homes and businesses, and billing and service issues.  In addition, they were also responsible for all repairs to the electric lines and equipment.

After Deregulation

As a result of the New Jersey Energy Choice Program, the different responsibilities of the utilities were “unbundled” and the power industry was separated into four divisions: generation, transmission, and distribution, and energy services. The generation sector has been deregulated and, as a result, utilities are no longer the sole producers of electricity. The transmission and distribution sectors remain subject to regulation – either by the federal government or the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.   No matter which electricity supplier you choose, PSE&G will continue to service the transmission and distribution sectors of your electricity.

Competition is allowed between companies to provide power at discounted rates and superb customer service directly to customers. These companies are licensed by the state of New Jersey.  You also have the opportunity to work with an electricity broker or consultant who can compare different offers and provide additional services to help manage your energy spending.

In most cases, PSE&G will continue to send you your utility bill.  So the only thing that changes if you shop for a better rate is that better rate.

Out Perspective

Deregulation has presented a great opportunity for savings in the business sector. If you are a company spending a minimum of $5000 a month on electric and you are not taking advantage of this opportunity, feel free to give us a call and we will present an overview. 856-857-1230

Or, if you would like to know more about deregulation opportunities for your business email george@hbsadvantage.com

HBS has been providing independent deregulated energy management solution to our business clients for over 10 years. We represent all the major deregulated energy providers selling energy in deregulated states.

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Hutchinson Business Solutions (HBS) has been providing deregulated energy management solutions to our business clients for over 10years.

Although we currently do not service the residential markets in deregulated states, I found it prudent to offer some insight to the many residential clients now seeking savings in the deregulated electric market.

Since New Jersey just introduced the opportunity to their residents in the spring of 2010 and Pennsylvania in January 2011, many people have jumped on the band wagon selling electric.

We get several calls daily from our clients asking questions about saving for their home electric.

The first thing that I caution them is to make sure the price that is being presented is fully loaded and contains all the factors that are included to make a price to compare analysis.

Does it include a 7% loss allowance (to deliver 100 kw of electric you must send 107 kw, for there is a 7% line loss in the delivery of the electricity)  

Does it include 7% sales tax. (PA residents 6.46% gross receipt tax)

These factors are included in the PSEG and AC Electric price to compare.

The second thing we caution clients to look for is a fixed price.

Natural gas prices are the lowest they have been in the last 3 to 4 years. Although they have spiked recently due to the winter cold, prices are still very attractive.

Thirty % (30%) of the electric generated in the US is made with natural gas. Because of this, natural gas prices serves as a strong market indicator used for electric market prices.

By choosing a fixed price, you can lock your position for a 1 or 2 year period.

There are many companies offering variable options or 4 month fixed pricing and variable pricing for the remainder of the contract. I do not feel comfortable stating that this presents a good opportunity for savings at this time.

Variable pricing does not lock your position and leaves the pricing upto the whim of the market, therefore this is a more riskier decision at this time.

Proceed with caution and make sure to get all the facts before choosing a deregulated residential electric provider.

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com 

As presented by Public Power (An overview of the deregulated electric in the residential market)

Many of those that are considering switching over are a little confused about what is actually happening.

You are not switching your gas & electric company, you are only switching service providers.

What this means,for example:

If PSEG is your current Gas & Electric Company. They will remain your Utility company. They will still service your home if you have a problem or power outage etc. You will still receive and pay your Bill thru PSEG. What you are doing is simply switching where your Gas and Electric is coming from.  In this case you will be asking PSEG to simply obtain your Gas & Electric from Public Power,LLC instead of their current provider. Currently Public Power per Kilowatt rate is cheaper than PSEG ‘s provider. You can check on your rate by looking at your BILL and looking up the kWh rate.

Then go to  https://ppandu.com/historical_rates.php to check Public Powers’s historical rates for other areas they currently service. Though rates vary from month to month, you will find they have been historically lower then PSEG, Con Ed and many other NY & NJ utility providers.

Actual electric rates for 2009 in January were 11.2 for Public Power and Utility (PP&U), Feb 2010, 9.999*, 11.051*, 11.568*. Jan 2010, 9.999*, 11.051*, 11.568*

PSEG Sept 2010 Average Residential rate is 12.00 per kWh

Currently if you are using under 600 kWh per month you are paying about 11.46 per kWh. If you never exceed that all year then your rate will stay at about 11.46.

 But as soon as you go over 600 Kwh June thru Sept,that part of your bill is jacked up to about 12.34 per kwh. So on average if you are using from 601 kWh and more during the year, the blended average rate is about 12.00 per kwh.  Understand above ONLY reflects the cost of electricity, not the PSEG delivery charges etc. The rates we are concerned with are just the BGS Energy charges, which on your bill is the “Rate to Compare” when you are considering a 3rd party supplier for your electric such as Public Power.

SEE BELOW THE PSEG RATE(TARRIF) Chart (approved June 2010) Note the highlighted rates

PUBLIC SERVICE ELECTRIC AND GAS

COMPANY           Twenty-Eighth

Revised Sheet No. 67 Superseding     

B.P.U.N.J. No. 14 ELECTRIC                                             Twenty-Seventh Revised Sheet No. 67  

BASIC GENERATION SERVICE – FIXED PRICING (BGS-FP)
ELECTRIC SUPPLY CHARGES 

APPLICABLE TO: 

Default electric supply service for Rate Schedules RS, RSP, RHS, RLM, WH, WHS, HS, BPL, BPL­POF, PSAL, GLP and LPL-Secondary (less than 1,000 kilowatts). 

BGS ENERGY CHARGES: 

Applicable to Rate Schedules RS, RHS, RLM, WH, WHS, HS, BPL, BPL-POF and PSAL           Charges per kilowatthour: 

Rate 

Schedule 

For usage in each of the 

months of 

October through May 

For usage in each of the 

months of 

June through September 

 

    Charges

 

   Charges 

Charges  Including SUT  Charges  Including SUT 
RS –first 600 kWh  11.4627 ¢  12.2651 ¢  11.4356 ¢  12.2361 ¢ 
RS – in excess of 600 kWh  11.4627 ¢  12.2651 ¢  12.3477 ¢  13.2120 ¢ 
RHS – first 600 kWh  9.8139 ¢  10.5009 ¢  10.9809 ¢  11.7496 ¢ 
RHS – in excess of 600 kWh  9.8139 ¢  10.5009 ¢  12.2005 ¢  13.0545 ¢ 
RLM On-Peak  16.1526 ¢  17.2833 ¢  15.6936 ¢  16.7922 ¢ 
RLM Off-Peak  7.4633 ¢  7.9857 ¢  7.8736 ¢  8.4248 ¢ 
WH  9.5068 ¢  10.1723 ¢  10.6903 ¢  11.4386 ¢ 
WHS  7.7482  8.2906 ¢  8.9246 ¢  9.5493 
HS  10.3708 ¢  11.0968 ¢  13.9608 ¢  14.9381 
BPL  7.3379  7.8516 ¢  7.6450 ¢  8.1802 ¢ 
BPL-POF  7.3379 ¢  7.8516 ¢  7.6450 ¢  8.1802 ¢ 
PSAL  7.3379 ¢  7.8516 ¢  7.6450 ¢  8.1802 ¢ 

 

The above Basic Generation Service Energy Charges reflect costs for Energy, Generation Capacity, Transmission, and Ancillary Services (including PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM)  Administrative Charges). The portion of these charges related to Network Integration Transmission Service, including the PJM Seams Elimination Cost Assignment Charges, the PJM Reliability Must Run Charge and PJM Transmission Enhancement Charges may be changed from time to time on the effective date of such change to the PJM rate for these charges as approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

Kilowatt threshold noted above is based upon the customer’s Peak Load Share of the overall summer peak load assigned to Public Service by the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Office of the Interconnection (PJM). See Section 9.1, Measurement of Electric Service, of the Standard Terms and Conditions of this Tariff. 

Note: Hutchinson Business Solutions has been providing independent deregulated energy management solutions for corporate clients for over 10 years. Although we do not currently provide these services to the residential market, we felt that it is important to make this information available to the general public, since many residential customers are now looking at this opportunity.

Date of Issue: May 20, 2010-Effective: June 1, 2010
Issued by FRANCES I. SUNDHEIM, Vice President and Corporate Rate Counsel
80 Park Plaza, Newark, New Jersey 07102
Filed pursuant to Order of Board of Public Utilities dated March 1, 2010
in Docket No. E009050351