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

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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

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.

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

By Andrew Maykuth

Inquirer Staff Writer

Pennsylvania electricity customers are skeptical they can save much by
shopping for power.

Although 88 percent of customers say they are aware they can switch to
alternative suppliers, only 45 percent have shopped, according to a statewide
survey conducted by Terry Madonna Opinion Research.

Twenty-three percent of residential customers statewide have switched,
according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. About 1.4 million
customers have switched.

Madonna and several electricity suppliers told the PUC on Thursday that
nearly a year after Pennsylvania’s retail utility deregulation went into full
effect, the public remains wary of shopping.

“There are a fair number of people who did not look into changing an electric
supplier because they didn’t believe there would be long-term savings in it,”
said Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin
and Marshall College in Lancaster.

The poll results were presented Thursday at a PUC hearing on competition.

The surveys found that price was the main concern driving customers to
switch, but many said the perceived savings were insufficient to make them
switch.

Suppliers said some residential customers have recorded savings up to $300 a
year.

Madonna, who conducted his telephone survey of 801 customers in September on
behalf of Constellation Energy, said 78 percent said they would consider
switching if they could save 10 percent on their generation charge.

Many customers who declined to shop said they were happy with their current
supplier regardless of the cost.

Madonna’s findings were echoed by an Internet survey of 450 customers
conducted by AlphaBuyer, a Paoli group- buyer that markets online.

Forty percent of the customers said the savings were not worth it, said Kevin
McCloskey, AlphaBuyer’s chief operating officer. About 24 percent said shopping
was too confusing or the choices overwhelming. About 15 percent said switching
was too risky or that it was a “scam.”

Under Pennsylvania’s Electric Choice law, customers can choose a company that
markets the power. Billing is still conducted by the incumbent utility company,
which collects a fee for distributing the power.

Customers who don’t switch are still supplied by the utility at a default
rate.

Only 18 percent of customers had visited the PUC’s website for choosing a
supplier. PUC members said more customer education was needed.

“It’s perplexing to us with all the tools being made available to customers
we only see 20 percent of the residential customers shopping,” said Robert F.
Powelson, PUC chairman.

Our Perspective:

HBS has been dealing in the deregulated energy market for over 10 years. I have always been suspect of the proposed residential savings in this market.  Most of the time you are offered a floating rate that may offer minimal savings.

The opposite is true in the commercial market. There are providers offering fixed price alternatives that offer a great opportunity for savings. HBS has found great success in the PA commercial deregulated market. We represent all the major providers selling electric in the PA market.

There is no upfront cost. Deregulated savings in the energy market has been a welcomed windfall for any business in both the New Jersey and Peennsylvania market who willing to look at the opportunity.

 

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20111111_Most_in_Pa__avoid_shopping_for_electricity_supplier.html#ixzz1ddcYbDS5

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

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

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

Who Hit the Switch?

December 9, 2010

We have been lucky over the pas t few years. We have been blessed with warmer than usual winter temperatures. I know; last year we had some major snowstorms but overall the winter temperatures have been warmer.

Over the last year we have seen the natural gas market prices react to these warmer temperatures. Storage numbers have been at a 5-year high and prices have continued to drop to their lowest sustaining level in the last 3 to 4 years.

Speaking with many energy analysts, they feel we may have hit the bottom and prices will slowly start inching up.

Inching up may be an understatement? Just in the last week, prices jumped over 10%. Hit with the sudden cold front the market took off.

The cost of buying natural gas on the open market is made up of 2 factors. Nymex (gas out of the ground to the banks of Louisiana) and Basis (the transportation cost for getting natural gas delivered to your local provider). These 2 factors combined give us the Index. This is the total wholesale cost to buy natural gas on the open market.

The last couple of weeks have seen the market in a holding pattern. Nymex prices were under $4.00 a decatherm ($.40 cents a therm) and it was a wait and see scenario. Should we have seen continued mild temperatures the market would have remained stable.

With the sudden switch to cold temperatures and forecast for a continued cold snap; the market did not inch up but leapt. Nymex prices open today, as of this writing, at $4.61 a decatherm. Measure this against the low opening on 10/25/10 of $3.29 a decatherm.

Prices are still low compared to where they were 2 to 3 years ago. In 2008, natural gas prices hit a high of $14 to $16 a decatherm ($1.40 to $1.60 a therm). Just last year (2009) we were looking at the average price to compare of around $10.00 a decathem ($1.00 a therm). We are now seeing fixed price positions in the low to mid $6.00 a decatherm range.

Each account is unique and priced individually, for pricing is based on demand factors. Many clients are seasonal clients and their biggest usage comes from heating their locations during the winter. Their natural gas prices would be higher than a client having a more even demand factor, for they use natural gas throughout the year (a restaurant would be a good example).

Some clients have benefited by floating the market, taking advantage of the falling prices over the last couple of years. Now may be the time to begin a discussion and review your options. There is more upside risk (chance of prices raising higher) than there is downside risk (market prices have been at a 4 year low).

You can lock the price going forward for a 1 or 2-year period, which will provide an overall savings from the average prices you have been paying over the last year or at the minimum, lock the winter month which will provide price certainty.

Should you feel this is only a temporary rise in market prices, you may choose to float the market and look for a continued flatness in pricing.

One other option to consider, should the float scenario be of interest, would be to lock the basis (transportation cost) and continue to float the nymex. Several of our clients have found success with this option in the past. This position is normally taken when they see the Nymex as being too high and feel the market will be dropping over time. In the past, if we saw basis price fall under $2.00 this was considered to be a good deal. The current basis prices are well under $2.00.

Should you like to know more about your deregulated gas options email george@hbsadvantage.com or call 856-857-1230

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com