Sticker Shock

March 7, 2013

Just when everything

Seems to be going along

Quite well

There always seems to be something

That snaps at you…

That brings you back to reality

In this case

I am speaking

About electric supply prices

Over the past year

Electric prices have been at…

Their lowest level

In the past 4 to 5 years

There were times I would have to

Double check with our providers

To verify the prices were correct

That is how low they were

Then came January 2013….

PSEG is doing an upgrade of their

Network Integration Transmission System

To the grid

This has proved to be very costly

And the Federal Energy Regulation Commission

Has agreed to allow this cost

To be a pass thru cost

To anyone buying electric in PSEG territory

It is known as the NITS

And

This has added anywhere from

3 to 5 mils onto the supply cost

3 mils ( 3/10ths of a penny) or

5 mils ( a ½ a penny)

Doesn’t sound like much

But multiply it by your annual Kwh

Add it adds up very quickly

On top of this…

As the demand for electricity increases

The companies generating the electricity

Are asked to generate enough electricity

To ensure there is enough electricity

In reserve…

To maintain

Reliability on the power grid

The generating companies said

No problem

But it is going to cost you more

As a result…

To maintain the capacity needed

For reliability

The capacity payments jumped 65%

From the prior year

This cost also

Has been tacked onto

The electric supply cost

We have seen this add an additional

5 mils….

Even up to a penny

To the supply cost

These additional costs

Effects all commercial and industrial users

Whether they buy electric from the local providers

PSEG or AC Electric

Or

They are buying electric from a

3rd Party deregulated provider

The deregulated electric market

Is still offering a better opportunity

For savings

Over the Local provider supply cost

But there is sticker shock

We find the clients saying….

Yeah……

But our cost has been……

For the last year or two

I guess it was too good to be true

Don’t let the events described scare you

We keep using more electricity

Thus the demand for electricity increases

There are still real opportunities

For savings

It is just that the bar has risen for everyone

We are finding the best savings opportunities

In the longer term electric renewals

This softens the 65% capacity increase

For capacity cost return

To their prior level of cost

As of Jun 2014

To learn more….

Feel free to contact us

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Chance of Snow

February 6, 2013

Seems like this is the one phrase

We have been hearing a lot

Lately

Here it is the beginning of February

And we have had no…

Major accumulations

I love hearing the

Projected winter snowcast

They give back in October

By our calculations

We see several cold fronts

Moving thru

Over the next couple of months

With these cold fronts…..

We see several major storms

Being caused by the El Nino

Now sitting

In the Pacific Waters

Total projected accumulation
During the next couple of months

Will be….

Drumroll please…

From 25 to 35 inches

A few years ago

We almost hit the

25 inch mark…

The week after Thanksgiving

In fact we had 3 major storms…

Bringing over 50 inches of snow

By New Years

I wonder what they said that year?

This year

Ho Hum…

Where is the snow?

I feel sorry for all the people

Who ran out and bought

Brand new snow gear

Seems to be just….

Taking up space

Remember when we used

To go out

And buy snow tires?

Whatever happened…

To snow tires….

Or did you used to put….

Chains on your tires?

Meanwhile…

It seems the cold

Has finally

Settled in

The deregulated energy market

Has remained…

Fairly stable

There are still

Great opportunities

For savings

In the natural gas

And electric markets

If you have been hesitant

To look at these deregulated opportunities

This is a good time to….

Dip your toe in the water

You will like what you see

I wish I could say the same

For the gasoline market

The price of gasoline

Has jumped over 30 cents…

Just in the last few weeks

People are no longer saying…

Fill it up

With regular

It’s back to….

Can I have $20 of regular

There is speculation

That gas prices may even

Make the push

To the dreaded…

$4.00 per gallon mark

Over the next month or so

That will make for a

Long summer….

Driving

Back and forth

To the shore

How many times

Will we have to stop for gas

If we keep getting…

$20 refills

Supply and demand

They have the supply

And we demand…

Lower prices

Will we ever see gas….

Under $3.00 again

Here’s hoping

We are doing our best

In the deregulated energy market

Saving our clients’

Thousands of $$$$$

Does anybody

Know someone…

In the refinery business…

We could all use some

Savings on the road

For more insight contact george@hbsadvantage.com

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

Back in September

Right after Labor Day

Future forecast show

We are in for……

A cold winter

Thus began the long trudge….

Natural gas prices

Started inching up

In October

The drumbeats started

Beating louder

Forecasts are calling

For a cold winter

Natural gas prices

Inched up

A bit higher

All this was happening

As Natural gas storage levels

Remain at….

An all-time high

Future supplies are poised

To make the US

The world’s largest

Natural gas supplier

New finds and

Refined extraction methods show

We have over 100 years

Of natural gas reserves

November starts….

The drums keep beating

Forecast show that it is

Going to be

A cold winter

Prices inch up a bit higher

All the while

We have been experiencing

Higher than normal temperatures

Here it is January 2013

We have had some cold weather

But no long term stretches

Of cold weather

They are already forecasting

That beginning next week…..

A warm front will be coming in

And hanging for a couple of weeks

All this has created a

Natural gas market

Phenomena

The index

(The base cost of natural gas

To all providers)

Started to drop

So much for the higher prices

HBS has been working with our clients

Keeping them apprised of the opportunity

For the savings this presents

The basis (transportation cost)

Is inverted

That means the longer you go out

The less expensive it is

We have never seen this

In the 12 years we have been

Servicing the deregulated market

By locking in a

3 to 4 year

Basis position

Clients have been able

To add more certainty

To their future

Natural gas cost

This will allow the client to

Concentrate on managing the cost

Of the Nymex

ie: (gas out of the ground)

During the highest usage months

November thru March

For most clients

That is when 75% of their

Annual natural gas usage

Is consumed

Feel free to contact us…..

To learn more about

How you are able

To save in the deregulated

Natural Gas and Electric markets

Start the New Year off with Savings

That will always bring a

Smile to your face….

Hutchinson Business Solutions

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

For more insight contact george@hbsadvantage.com

Visit us on the web http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Inching Up

June 1, 2012

While everyone has been keeping

 

Their eyes on gas pump prices

 

 

The big question

 

 

Will it go over $4.00 this summer?

 

 

 

Natural gas has been making its own mark

 

 

 

After nymex prices

 

 

Hit a 10 year low

 

 

In late April

 

 

 

We have seen the Nymex prices

 

Run up

 

 

 

Over 25%

 

 

During the last 30 days

 

 

 

You may have heard me say before….

 

 

 

You don’t know where the floor is

 

Until you passed it

 

 

 

We watched a slow steady fall of the nymex

 

Over a long period of time

 

 

Once it got to a point

 

Where investors may have thought

 

 

It may be…..

 

 

Too low

 

 

 

It shot up

 

 

 

 

Was it a market correction?

 

 

 

Analyst start talking about possibilities

 

Of having a hot summer

 

 

 

That will increase demand…

 

 

 

 

For 30% of the electric is generated

 

From natural gas.

 

 

 

Prices inch up

 

 

 

 

They also start looking at

 

Hurricane reports

 

 

 

 

That could affect the wells

 

In the Gulf of Mexico

 

 

 

Prices inch up more

 

 

 

 

They have even started to cap

 

Some of the natural gas wells

 

 

 

Hmmm

 

 

Supply / Demand

 

 

 

Cut down on the supply

 

 

That will get the

 

 

 

 

Prices to inch up

 

 

 

 

Higher

 

 

 

 

Market prices are still very competitive

 

 

 

It just that…..

 

 

In this market

 

 

 

Timing is everything

 

 

 

 

Natural gas and electric prices

 

 

Are still very competitive

 

 

 

If you have not participated in deregulation

 

Now is the time…

 

 

To lock in on the savings

 

 

 

Under contract

 

 

 

Now is the time to start looking

 

To lock in your renewals

 

 

 

 

To all HBS customers

 

 

Please take my phone call

 

 

 

 

To learn more contact

 

 

george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Online Auctions

March 31, 2011

The deregulated energy market is causing a big buzz in this area. In the spring of 2010, NJ opened up deregulated opportunities to the residential market.

In January 2011, PA opened up the Peco territory to deregulation after a 5 year moratorium.

As the result, the market has been flooded with companies and individuals trying to capitalize on these opportunities.

Online Auction opportunities are now available. All you have to do is type buying deregulated energy online into your Google page and you will have multiple selections.

Also many companies have been promoting a Multi-level marketing approach to set up a grass roots effort in hopes of gaining penetration in the market.

.

As more consumers have grown more comfortable with on line purchasing, it seemed natural that this avenue would be an effective marketing option.

The only problem we see is that when buying energy in the deregulated market, you are dealing with a commodity. This puts a whole new spin on the opportunity.

This week, we would like to take a look at on line auctions.

Below is a plus-minus list we have developed to help you make an objective decision about purchasing energy on line versus using an independent broker.

On Line Auctions:

Plus

  • Feel like you are getting a good deal by participating in an ecommerce transaction
  • Potentially lower price by doing the ecommerce transaction 
  • Potentially easier transaction since there is limited contact with 3rd party energy suppliers
  • Electricity is a commodity and customer’s management feels this is best process for doing transaction

 

Minus

  • Can be more challenging to negotiate terms & conditions  
  • Potentially less leverage with suppliers since there is no personal interaction
  • Difficult determining what factors are included in the price.
    •  Is it fully loaded? (contains 7% loss transmission and sales tax)
    •  Is it a fixed rate or variable rate?
  • How do you know when is the best time to buy
  • Online auctioneers are brokers approaching the same providers we would be using.
  • Many on line auction companies do not have any information on their website regarding the management of the company

 

Dealing with an Independent Broker (Hutchinson Business Solutions)

 

Plus   

  • We represent all the major 3rd party providers selling energy in deregulated sates
  • We offer personal service, individually marketing your account to these providers
  • We monitor market fluctuations and discuss timing with our clients
  • We offer fixed price solutions (Other options available for large volume users)
  • We make sure all prices received are fully loaded and are an apples to apples comparison to your local utility’s price to compare
  • Due to our business relationships, we bring leverage to the deal
  • We assist with customer’s legal team in negotiating the business terms of the contract as they may apply
  • We provide options, defining the best terms and conditions and service the account throughout the term of the contract, addressing issues as they arise
  • We have been advising customer risk management strategies in the deregulated markets for over 10 years.
  • Opportunity to outsource many of the tasks involved with the energy procurement process while retaining the control and final decisions on any potential transaction

 

Minus

  • The energy market is in a growth mode, many new faces and the information is sketchy.
  • You must be sure to deal with a reputable company who will represent your best interest
  • Many of the new companies are offering variable rates

 

At first glance you may think this overview is biased.

Yes, we are an independent broker. We take pride in the value we have brought to our clients in the deregulated market.

We have just seen too much abuse. The deregulated energy market is an unknown.

We take time to explain how the market works with each client. We want you to understand this concept and feel comfortable with your purchase.

Each account is unique. There is no one size fits all solution.

There are great opportunities for savings in the business market.

Know the facts!!!!

Look to ask the right questions.

Let HBS be your eyes and ears….

While you continue to do what you do best….

Run your day to day business.

To learn more about deregulated energy opportunitiews for your business email george@hbsadvantage.com

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

What’s Up?

March 24, 2011

I say potato.

You say patato.

The difference may be just an inflection

Or the pronunciation of the word

(in this case it was my spelling, so you get the gist)

However, we all know what we are discussing.

Shame that the same thing cannot be said

About the word…….

Deregulation……

We should all know what we are discussing

We should all be on the same page…..

But there are so many stories……

Each one providing the best deal……..

A once in a lifetime offer……

Get in on the ground floor…….

What is going on????

With electric prices being at a 7 year low

We are finding, that everyone and their brothers,

Are now selling energy………

I get calls at my office almost….. everyday

Would like to switch electric providers?

How would you like to earn some extra cash?

The market is being inundated.

I am surprised Comcast and Verizon are not selling energy?

HBS has been selling energy to commercial clients for over 10 years

I would like to take a few moments to add our perspective.

Define what we see as the opportunity.

Educate our clients and friends.

Business

 

 

  • The deregulated electric market price is closely tied to natural gas pricing.

 

  •  
    • Thirty ( 30%) of the electric generated in the US is made with natural gas. Therefore, natural gas is a good indicator of the market prices.

 

  • Natural gas market prices are the lowest they have been in the last 4 years.

 

  •  
    • As a result, the deregulated market price of electric has also dropped.

 

  • Many experts think that we may have hit the floor on natural gas prices back at the end of October 2010.

 

  •  
    • The market has gone up and down several times since then, but it has never gone back to the low point recorded on October 25th, 2010.

 

This information indicates that clients should be looking to lock in or fix the price of electric with a 3rd party deregulated provider for a minimum of 1 year…… possibly 2 years.

We have actually seen instances where the 2 year fixed price is more competitive and offers more savings.

Each account is unique. Prices are all based on demand factors.

Are you a seasonal account?

(Highest usages during summer months)

Do you use most of your energy during the day?

(On Peak….when prices are higher)

Or do you have mixed usage?

(On Peak and Off Peak)

All these factors play into defining the deregulated market rate for your account.

Do you have annual usage demands

vs seasonal usage demands……

Your fixed rate will be lower.

(your demand usage is being spread out over the entire year)

Is your usage a mixed between on peak usages and off peak usages

vs only using power during the day,

when rates are the highest

Then your rates will be lower.

Each provider has their sweet spot. A client profile, they are most competitive with in that market.

HBS is an independent energy management consultant. Thru our strategic partnerships, we represent all the major deregulated gas and electric providers selling energy in deregulated states.

Our expertise is the ability to properly define the market and select the provider(s) who will bring the most competitive fixed rate, offering the best opportunity for savings to our clients.

What about Variable rates?

There are many companies now offering variable rates for electric.

Month to month contracts….offering savings of around 10%.

If the market prices are near the bottom,

Why would it not be in the clients’ best interest to lock in a fixed rate instead of floating with a variable rate?

As the summer season starts,

Market rates will also go up,

Due to summer demand.

So will those variable rates!!!!

It only makes sense to lock in on a fixed price,

if the market presents the opportunity.

In the deregulated energy market,

You are dealing with a commodity.

Timing is everything.

Let HBS be your eyes and ears.

Next week, we will outline using an independent broker vs buying online. Also, what does it mean when you say the price is fully loaded

To learn more about deregulated opportunities for your company email george@hbsadvanatge.com  

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

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

 November 30th, 2010 Adam Ebner

As reported in Nationwide Deregulated Energy News

In a very competitive marketplace, energy deregulation gives businesses better control of their business electricity costs. Aside from that, there are myriad other benefits and option that their companies would get from a deregulated and competitive energy market – options that were not possible in the past due to high energy expenses and limitations set by the monopolized energy industry.

The deregulation of the many utilities markets gave birth to the emergence of several retail electric providers all competing for subscriptions from both residential and commercial energy users in the state and in energy deregulated cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Chicago, Washington DC, Houston, Dallas and many others. Now given the power to choose, selecting from over 50 retail electricity providers can be a daunting task indeed; with businesses finding themselves at the losing end should they fail to choose the best provider for their needs. This is why businesses should work in partnership with certified electricity brokers to negotiate in their behalf the best electrical rates, payment schemes and other amenities from the various Texas electric companies.

Electricity Brokers:

Your Helping Hand Unlike electricity management at home, businesses have more complex processes and operational needs for electricity that if not managed would find them dealing with extremely high energy costs that would eventually affect their bottom line. Electricity brokers can come into the picture and help businesses find ways on how they can efficiently use Texas electricity and help them minimize their energy costs. These brokers deal and negotiate electrical rates with retail electric providers for the benefit of the business.

No matter what business or industry your company may be in, electricity brokers can provide professional services using up-to-date information of the energy market in a bid to obtain the best commercial electricity deals for the company.

Why Should You Use Electricity Brokers to Shop Electricity?

Businesses may not have the resources available to have an independent study or analysis of the various retail electric providers offering commercial electricity before they switch and commit to the services of one. Aside from this, companies may have to deal with all the other elements in the very complex energy market such as new regulations, changes in fees, penalties, reduction of carbon emissions, etc. Hiring an electricity broker can spare the company from all these, so that all their staff and resources can focus on only one thing – doing business.

Electricity brokers can help companies with their procurement decision, eliminate possible over payments, recover over payments, management of energy consumption, and continuous energy usage analysis. Electricity brokers can uncover and identify areas in the business processes where they can implement significant improvements. These brokers are not in any way tied up with any major retail electric provider, allowing them to give unbiased advice to businesses and help them get the best energy solutions for their companies.

Our Perspective:

Hutchinson Business Solutions (HBS) is an independent energy management company. We represent all the major providers selling deregulated energy in deregulated states. We will do a full analysis of your account and shop your account with our  providers to find the best value and savings for your company.

HBS clients are finding savings from 10% to 20% in the deregulated utility market.

To learn more 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.”