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Live Update

June 11, 2015

Good Afternoon…..

This is George Hutchinson….

Bringing you a live energy update

From our HBS studios

Located in a remote area of…

New Jersey

This Thursday afternoon

June 11th

The year 2015

Before we get into the current market conditions

Let’s take a minute to look

At some of the factors

That has led up to this point

It has been a crazy couple of months

Many people say…..

The energy market

Has developed a mind of it’s own

After starting out with a mild winter

We got hit with colder than normal temperatures

During the months of

February and March

This helped to push energy prices up

The gas nymex

Came close to hitting $3.00

It also had an adverse effect on Basis pricing

January 2016 basis

Was running over $7.00 a dekatherm

As cooler than expected spring temperatures hit

In April and May

We started seeing prices

Drop

Making the market

More attractive

You could hear the chatter starting ……

Maybe the summer was not going to be

That hot after all

Prices continued to drop

The door was opening

Was the bottom going to fall out

Record storage levels

Were being recorded

Then….

Sometime during

The end of last week…..

The weather gods

Started talking about

Temperatures going into the

High 80s…..

Possibly the low 90s this week

Immediately

The market corrected itself

Ohhhhh

Maybe it is going to get hot after all

Prices started to rise

Nymex jumps 10 points

Next day

Nymex jumps another 10 points

The market is up again

As I bring you this update

As I often say….

Timing is everything

But the old adage

Still rings true…..

What a difference a day makes

Stay tuned for further updates

Where’s the Floor

February 9, 2015

Natural gas is a commodity

That is traded on the nymex

When people say…

Natural gas is up 5 cents

Or

Natural gas is down 5 cents

They are talking about

The price of natural gas

Out of the ground

Which is traded

On the nymex…

If you flash back

5 to 6 years ago

You will probably remember

Natural gas prices were

Thru the roof

Trading around

$13 – $15 a dekatherm

Slowly

Over time

The market began to drop

It hit the floor

In May 2012

When the nymex

Hit $2 a decathem

(Nobody knows where the floor is

Until you pass it)

Since May 2012

We have been on a roller coaster

The nymex climbed up

To over $5.50

In Feb 2014

Then….

It began a slow descent

As of today

The nymex is

Trading at $2.59 a dekatherm

The point I am trying to make is….

The nymex is once again

Hovering

Just above the floor

It hit in May 2012

This is good news for

Those buying

Natural Gas and Electric

In the deregulated market

With the winter winding down

And with a glut of gas

In reserves

Prices are very competitive

This is a great time

To save

$$$$Money$$$$

Will gas go below the $2 a dekatherm

I wish I had a crystal ball

In a market

Where timing is everything…..

Now is a good time to be

Locking in future savings

As reported in Wall Street Journal

By
Timothy Puko

July 28, 2014 3:09 p.m. ET

NEW YORK—Natural-gas prices set a new eight-month low for the fourth time in six sessions, breaking an early-day run Monday as traders stayed focused on low prospects for demand.

Prices for the front-month August contract settled down 3.4 cents, or 0.9%, to $3.747 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. August options expired Monday and the contract expires Tuesday. The more actively traded September contract settled down 2.2 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.765/mmBtu.

The day largely focused on technical trading as buyers and sellers kept moving against the momentum of the market, analysts said. After prices quickly hit an intraday high of $3.85/mmBtu, traders began to sell, likely focused on how cool weather is likely to limit demand in the weeks to come, said Aaron Calder, senior market analyst at energy-consulting firm Gelber & Associates in Houston.

The unseasonably cool summer has allowed consumers to use less air conditioning and the gas-fired electricity that fuels it. Producers put a record string of surpluses into storage, and gas prices have fallen about 20% since mid-June.

“If the weather stays mild and we don’t have any power demand, as it has been, then I don’t think we’ve hit a bottom,” Mr. Calder said.

Forecasts still show mild weather, including temperatures as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit below normal, lingering over the center of the country into the second week of August. Weather forecasts made only small changes over the weekend, with division over whether temperatures would be slightly warmer or cooler than previously expected.

The New Normal

April 29, 2013

Since May of 2012

When the natural gas

Nymex (gas out of the ground)

Hit the floor at just under $2.04 a dth

We have seen the nymex

More than double!!!!!

Today the nymex is at $4.16 a dth

All this talk about……

Overflowing gas supplies

Storage levels being at a

5 year high

Has not dampened the market

I have had many conversations

With people in the energy industry

There is an….

Across the board agreement

That there is little substantiation

For this increase in pricing

Will prices go back down?

Hard to say…..

I do not see it dropping

To where prices were last May

Is having over a $4.00 nymex

The new normal

Stay tuned

For more insight contact george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230

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

Turning Tables

March 21, 2013

Several weeks ago

I spoke about the projected

Increase of gasoline prices

Over the upcoming months

Experts were predicting the price

Of gasoline could reach…

The dreaded $4.00 a gallon mark

Before the summer hit

At the same time….

We were seeing

Natural gas prices

Continuing to fall….

The thought was….

That the Nymex (gas out of the ground)

May be heading…..

Back under $3.00 a decatherm

Well……..

The experts were wrong

The price of gasoline in NJ

Has been dropping

Over the past few weeks

Today I saw it listed for

$3.379 a gallon

(Don’t forget that last 9

You are not paying $3.38 a gallon)

Gasoline prices are….

Down about 25 cents

Do you think we can head into the low 3s?

Possibly sneak under $3.00 a gallon

With summer insight…

That could be a stretch…

Think of all those cars

Heading for the shore

Stay tuned…….

Natural gas prices

On the other hand…

Have jumped

Over the past 3 weeks

Near the end of February

The Nymex was around

$3.15 a decatherm

The talk was….

That the Nymex

Could be heading under $3.00 a decatherm

Surprise….Surprise….Surprise

With little or no warning

The nymex took off running

As of this writing

It is $3.965 a decatherm

Poised to break the $4.00 mark?

That is a 25% jump…

In less than a month

There is little or no support

To this Meteoric rise

Yeah, we had some cold weather

After all, it is winter

December and January

Were fairly mild

It did get cold in

February and March but…

The overall winter

Has not been that cold

Spring started yesterday

That tells me the weather will be….

Getting warmer

With warmer weather

The demand will drop

They are still dealing with

Abundant supplies

The nymex should settle down

And start dropping again

Don’t change the channel

We will keep you updated

With any breaking news

For more information contact us

george@hbsadvantage.com

Smart Solutions for Smart Business

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

As reported in NJ SpotLight By Tom Johnson, February 8, 2013 in Energy & Environment

The state yesterday announced the results of its annual electricity auction, a process used partly to determine utility bill prices, and the outcome was decidedly mixed in a market some thought would deliver more savings to consumers.

At a time when natural-gas prices are near historic lows, the auction yielded savings for residential and small commercial customers for three of New Jersey’s four electric utilities, with prices dropping by 3 percent to as much as 5.4 percent, effective June 1. It is the fourth year prices have dropped for residents and small businesses.

That’s the good news.

But for larger commercial and industrial customers, prices basically doubled for the electricity they will need, according to a consultant for the state Board of Utilities, which conducted the auction over the past few days. For both residents and larger customers, any increases apply only to the portion of the bill covering the cost of generating electricity, which accounts for about two-thirds of the cost paid by ratepayers.

The contrast in auction results reflects changes in the energy market since the state deregulated its electric monopolies in 1999, and explains partly why even with the steep drop in the fuel that sets the price for electricity, consumers in New Jersey still pay some of the highest energy bills in the nation.

Here’s why:

The BPU no longer controls the price of producing the electricity consumers get from suppliers; the federal government decides how much utilities will earn on transmission projects they undertake; and the PJM Interconnection, the regional operator of the nation’s largest power grid, regulates how much suppliers will earn for making sure the lights don’t go out. On top of all that, the state’s efforts to promote solar energy also are boosting costs, as the BPU conceded in a press release announcing the results of the auction.

The state blamed the surprising large increase for industrial customers on a rise in capacity payments to power suppliers, which ensure there is enough electricity in reserve to maintain reliability on the power grid. Those capacity payments jumped by 65 percent from the prior year, according to the BPU.

That was of little comfort to business lobbyists.

“That’s an awful large increase,’’ said Hal Bozarth, executive director of the Chemistry Industry Council of New Jersey. “It’s a clear signal to me the auction system is broken in many places.’’

The vast majority of industrial and commercial customers, however, have contracts with so-called third-party suppliers, which are not affected by the jump in prices in the most recent auction, BPU officials noted.

The doubling of prices to industrial customers only applies to the relatively few establishments that have not switched from their incumbent utility.

“It’s disturbing,’’ said Stefanie Brand, director of the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel. “It’s definitely going to have an impact on them.’’

Other factors contributed to the mixed results in the most recent auction.

For Public Service Electric & Gas, the state’s largest utility with more than 2 million customers, more than the three other utilities combined—prices for residential and small-business customers were essentially flat.

Its customers will see their monthly bills rise by 6 cents a month, an increase largely attributed to the billions of dollars the company is investing in new transmission projects ordered by the regional grid operator and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Those projects could lower electric bills in the long run by easing congestion on the power grid, which spikes electricity costs, and bringing more power into the capacity into the state, according to PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

The state, however, has contested many of the incentives handed out by FERC, which has rewarded PSE&G with much higher rates of return on a handful of transmission projects, much more than the utility receives for maintaining its distribution lines, which deliver power from substations to homes and businesses.

“We’re not saying we don’t need transmission,’’ Brand said. “But they can earn a fair return on them without earning excessive returns.’’

The price of electricity per kilowatt hour for PSE&G customers in this year’s auction was 9.218 cents per kilowatt hour, almost a penny more than the prior year, Brand said. “Some of these numbers are moving in the wrong direction,’’ she said.

The state is also trying to address the rising costs of capacity payments by giving subsidies to new power-plant developers, a controversial strategy under attack from both incumbent power suppliers and the PJM.

Nonetheless, three new power plants, one without any state subsidies, are due to begin supplying power in 2015 — too late, however, to drive down costs for this year and next.

Citing the increase in capacity costs, Brand said the auction results show “graphically when efforts have been made to increase investment in new generation and why residents will benefit from it.’’

BPU President Bob Hanna, in a conference call with reporters to discuss the auction results, said it is very hard to predict what is going to happen with natural-gas prices, the main driver in setting electricity prices.

“For now, I see a period of stability,’’ he said.

And for now, some consumers will see a drop in bills. According to the BPU, customers of Atlantic City Electric will see their monthly bills drop by 5.4 percent, or $6.42 cents a month; for Jersey Central Power & Light customers, there will be a decline of 3 percent, or $2.91 per month; and Rockland Electric customers will see their bills dip 5.3 percent, or $6.74 monthly.

For more information call 856-857-1230 or email george@hbsadvantage.com

Hutchinson Business Solutions………Smart Solutions for Smart Business

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

Low prices for natural gas used to fuel power plants may help keep down rates.

By Tom Johnson, January 31, 2013 in Energy & Environment as reported in NJ Spotlight

For the past four years, consumers and many businesses in New Jersey have enjoyed a rare occurrence — a drop in the price of the electricity delivered to their homes from power plants around the region.

Might the trend continue? More will be known by the end of next week when the state Board of Public Utilities holds its annual online auction to purchase most of the electricity needed to power millions of New Jersey homes and businesses.

The results of the annual auction play a big role in determining whether electricity prices fall or rise each June in a state saddled with some of the highest energy costs in the nation.

But in the increasingly complex energy market, the auction is not the only factor: Transmission prices continue to rise and the state has increased the amount of electricity that power suppliers are required to buy from solar-energy systems, which costs more than electricity produced from more conventional power sources. Those and other factors can wipe out any savings achieved in the auction.

The auction typically involves the expenditure of more than $7 billion in ratepayer funds, although that amount may drop given the number of customers who have switched in the last year.

For the most part, state officials and industry executives were reluctant to predict the outcome of this year’s auction, but the general consensus was there should not be a drastic change in consumer prices, given the continued relatively low cost of natural gas.

‘’I don’t think there will be any major swings,’’ said Jay Kooper, the New Jersey chairman of the Retail Energy Suppliers Association, a group representing power suppliers who try to offer customers cheaper electricity than that supplied by the state’s four electric utilities.

With the steep drop in natural-gas prices, Kooper’s members have been much more successful in luring customers away from the state’s utilities, which buy the power they need to supply their customers in bulk in the annual auction held by the BPU. The cost of generating that electricity generally amounts to about two-thirds of a customer’s bill, with most of the rest of the cost tied to the expense of delivering the power over a utility’s transmission and distribution lines.

Natural-gas prices are still historically low, but they have bumped up a bit since last year, according to Tancred Lidderdale, a senior analyst at the Energy Information Administration, an arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

“Natural gas prices are still low, but they are not as low as last year,’’ Lidderdale said, noting that the price of the fuel, which is largely used to power generating stations in the region, was about $2.40 last January in one sector; prices were running at about $3.29 in future contracts in the same sector this month.

The price differential should not have a big impact on the New Jersey auction because of the way state regulators have structured it. Last year, prices for electricity purchased from the power suppliers fell from 1.1 percent to as much as 6.4 percent, depending upon the utility supplying the electricity.

Critics, however, said the price drops could have been steeper if the state’s utilities were not locked into the present system of buying electricity. Under that system, the utilities buy one-third of the power they need for customers each February. By doing so, they avoid the possibility of their customers be hit with huge price spikes when natural-gas costs rise rapidly, as happened during Hurricane Katrina.

The downside is that when natural-gas prices fall, customers do not gain the savings very quickly from their utilities, which has prompted more and more customers to shop around for cheaper energy rates. By the end of December, about 15 percent of more than 3 million residential customers had switched electricity suppliers, way up from the 5 percent who had switched in February.

New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand, who has argued for changes in the current auction structure, said the lower natural-gas prices may offset other factors driving up costs for consumers.

“Hopefully, it will be good news for consumers,’’ Brand said in a telephone interview. “I would love to see prices go down, but I can’t say I know what’s going to happen.’’

Hal Bozarth, director of the Chemistry Industry Council of New Jersey and a frequent critic of the state’s energy policies, said he would expect prices to go down, given the low natural-gas prices. “I’d be sadly disappointed to see prices go higher,’’ he said. “The rates are so high they are a disincentive for economic development.’’

In New Jersey, energy costs for the industrial sector usually rate as sixth- or seventh-highest in the country, about 60 percent higher than the national average, according to Bozarth.

Kooper, who said the state’s system of buying power needs some structural changes, remained hopeful. “I think there will be opportunities to shop for electricity,’’ he said.