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

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

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

About Deregulation

July 19, 2010

As reported by PSEG

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.

Our Perspective:

Deregulation has presented a great opportunity for busnesses who are spending more than $3000 a month on their electric bills. Open market electric prices are the lowest they have been in over 4 years. HBS clients are saving from10% to 25% on their electric supply cost depending on their uasge patterns. Those businesses that are designed to use more off hours usage, will find the largest opportunity for savings.

To learn more about your opportunity to save in the deregulated energy market  email george@hbsadvantage.com