By Andrew Maykuth

Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted Jan. 13, 2011

A coalition of electrical-power interests is encouraging New Jersey Gov. Christie to veto a controversial bill that would subsidize development of a Gloucester County power plant that they say would unsettle the region’s energy markets.

The bill’s sponsors said the legislation approved Tuesday by the New Jersey Legislature would lower energy rates. But opponents, including power generators such as Exelon Corp. and large industrial consumers, call it an anticompetitive sweetheart deal that will cost consumers in the long run.

“We cannot afford an energy surcharge to guarantee billions of dollars of revenue to a few select developers,” said George M. Waidelich, vice president of energy operations for Safeway Inc., which says it now spends about $2 million a year on electricity for its five Genuardi’s stores in South Jersey.

The measure would provide a guaranteed long-term income for developers of several large power plants. The legislation was known as the “LS Power Bill” because its initial aim was to provide guarantees for LS Power Development L.L.C. to build a giant natural-gas power plant in West Deptford, the hometown of state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester).

Tom Hoatson, director of regulatory affairs for LS Power, said the guarantees were necessary to obtain financing to construct the 640-megawatt plant along the Delaware River, which would cost from $800 million to $1 billion.

Hoatson said the bill would provide the New Brunswick company “an opportunity to compete with other generators.” The plant would employ up to 500 people to build and about 25 people to operate.

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said the bill was under review. Legislative sources said the governor was expected to sign it because his office was consulted in drafting amendments that addressed some of the administration’s concerns.

In the arcane world of wholesale electrical markets, the New Jersey bill has attracted intense attention because its opponents say it would turn back the clock on years of efforts to open electrical-power markets to more competition.

But supporters of the legislation say those markets, which are managed by regional power-grid operator PJM Interconnection Inc., have failed to lower prices for N.J. residents.

And they say that many of the interests opposed to the N.J. legislation are incumbent power generators like Exelon Corp. and Public Service Enterprise Group of Newark, which stand to gain by keeping new power generators out of the market.

“I don’t think it’s a system that encourages building new generation to keep prices down,” said Stefanie Brand, the New Jersey Rate Counsel, the state’s consumer advocate.

“The market is not a true free market,” she said. “It’s a constructed market that was created by PJM, and as far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t work.”

N.J. officials complain that the Garden State has suffered more than its western neighbors because it has paid up to $1.9 billion a year in extra capacity and congestion charges that PJM imposes on power transmitted into the state.

Lee A. Solomon, a Christie appointee who is president of the N.J. Board of Public Utilities, told PJM in December that “it is incumbent upon New Jersey to promote new generation in locations where it is needed the most to ensure reliability and to control costs.”

Sweeney, whose West Deptford hometown would host the LS plant, introduced the legislation that would allow the board to sign long-term contracts with several power generators to provide up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity at guaranteed rates. If market rates fall below the threshold, N.J. ratepayers would pick up the tab.

“Consumers have been paying inflated capacity charges,” said Derek Roseman, Sweeney’s spokesman. “This is a chance to reverse that. How can that not be a good thing for consumers?”

The Compete Coalition, a Washington lobbying group that promotes open electrical markets, has appealed to Christie’s antitax sentiments by branding the bill the “Energy Tax of 2011.”

John E. Shelk, president of the Electric Power Supply Association, testified in December that the bill would “artificially depress” rates in the short term, but would discourage other generators from investing in the future.

Shelk said the bill likely would be challenged because it would interfere with federally sanctioned wholesale power markets.

Public Service Enterprise Group, the politically powerful Newark energy company that operates the PSE&G utility, announced its opposition to the measure last week.

Anne Hoskins, the company’s senior vice president for public affairs, said the state’s intervention in the past requiring utilities to enter into long-term supply contracts had “disastrous results.”

In the next six years, PSE&G will pay $1 billion for the remaining costs of the long-term contracts, she said. And Atlantic City Electric recently received approval to raise its customers’ bills 5 percent to recover the costs of its out-of-market contracts.

“Subsidies are a slippery slope,” she said, “and will drive away other nonsubsidized private investment in New Jersey.”


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Generation: Net generation in the United States rose 8.0 percent from June 2009 to June 2010. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand (REDTI) was the second highest June value on record as “the unusual warmth in the highly populated South and Southeast” weighed heavily. The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production was 8.2 percent higher than it had been in June 2009, the sixth consecutive month that industrial production was higher than it had been in the corresponding months of the previous year.

The rise in coal-fired generation was the largest absolute fuel-specific increase from June 2009 to June 2010 as it was up 17,483 thousand megawatthours or 11.8 percent, and represented over three-fifths of the overall national rise in generation. Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Pennsylvania showed the biggest gains over June 2009, but the gains were widespread as only 8 of the 48 States reporting coal-fired generation showed lower totals in June 2010. Natural gas-fired generation was second to coal as it was up 8,121 thousand megawatthours, or 9.6 percent. New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Louisiana accounted for 62.0 percent of the national increase. Nuclear generation was down 2.1 percent or 1,434 thousand megawatthours – the largest absolute fuel-specific decline – as there were refueling outages at the Davis Besse, Crystal River, and H B Robinson plants that led to generation totals for these three plants that were far below what they had been in June 2009.

Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources increased 0.6 percent, or 164 thousand megawatthours. The higher level of hydroelectric generation in California was by far the largest contributor to the national rise. Generation from wind was up 44.2 percent, or 2,388 thousand megawatthours. Wind was the energy source with the third-highest absolute megawatthour increase over June 2009. Increased wind generation in Texas, Washington, Kansas, and Oklahoma accounted for 55.1 percent of the national rise. Petroleum liquid-fired generation was up 28.8 percent compared to a year ago, but its overall share of net generation continued to be quite small compared to coal, nuclear, natural gas-fired, and hydroelectric sources. Figure 1 shows net generation by month for the last 12 months.

Figure 1: Net Generation by Major Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), July 2009 through June 2010

Year-to-date, total net generation increased 3.4 percent from 2009 levels. Net generation attributable to coal-fired plants rose 6.2 percent. Natural gas-fired generation was up 5.2 percent. Nuclear generation declined 1.3 percent, and petroleum liquid-fired generation was down 23.4 percent.

Year-to-date, coal-fired plants contributed 45.9 percent of the power generated in the United States. Natural gas-fired plants contributed 21.8 percent, and nuclear plants contributed 19.9 percent. Of the 0.9 percent contributed by petroleum-fired plants, petroleum liquids represented 0.6 percent, with the remainder from petroleum coke. Conventional hydroelectric sources provided 6.8 percent of the total, while other renewables (biomass, geothermal, solar, and wind) and other miscellaneous energy sources generated the remaining 4.4 percent of electric power (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Net Generation Shares by Energy Source:
Total (All Sectors), Year-to-Date through June, 2010

Consumption of Fuels: Consumption of coal for power generation in June 2010 was up 10.4 percent compared to June 2009. Consumption of natural gas rose 10.0 percent. For the same time period, consumption of petroleum liquids was up 27.9 percent, while petroleum coke rose 15.2 percent.

I have been getting a lot of feedback recently from many clients. They are all saying the same thing, “ What’s going on with the energy market, seems like everyone is starting to sell energy.”

That’s a good point! Energy prices are the most competitive they have been in the last 4 to 5 years and many people are trying to jump on the bandwagon.

Hutchinson Business Solutions (HBS) has been selling both gas and electric for the last 10 years. We represent all the major providers licensed to sell energy in New Jersey and that puts us in a unique position. We do not just represent 1 company. We are an independent energy broker, able to shop both your natural gas and electric accounts to all the providers, finding you the best opportunity for savings.

You will be surprised by some of the disparity of prices we find between the various providers, although they all seem to offer a savings over the current price to compare from your local provider. What needs to be understood is that each provider may have what is known as a sweet spot ie. those markets where they are more competitive.

Electric Opportunity

 We recently presented a proposal to a client where the price to compare from PSEG was  $.1162 cents per kwh. One of our providers submitted a proposal of $.109 cents per kwh, while another one came in at $.103 cents per kwh. By shopping the account we were able to provide more value with greater savings.

 Another thing that you must be aware of, while looking at your electric price in the deregulated market, be certain that the price is fully loaded and includes all the tarrifs and Sales Tax. I have seen where a client has been given a proposal with these items left out. What might look like a better deal can in fact be deceptive for the actual price will include a 7% loss allowance and also 7% sales tax. The loss allowance and the sales tax is already included in your price to compare from the local provider. To make the proposal apples to apples this must be included.

 Should you like to know more about your opportunity for savings in the deregulated electric market email george@hbsadvantage.com  We offer a free analysis of your cost and will present a proposal of the opportunities based on your current demand and annual usage.

 Natural Gas Opportunity

 There are also opportunities available in the natural gas market. If you are currently receiving natural gas from your local provider; remember that they are purchasing natural gas wholesale and selling it to you retail. Each month the price of natural gas changes from the provider based on current market conditions. Should you have floated your account in the deregulated market over the past year buying your natural gas thru HBS, you would have saved from 10% to 20% depending on who your local provider is.

 We also offer the option to lock your price on natural gas from 1 year up to 2 years or more. Some companies prefer this option for it offers certainty as to what they will be paying over the life of the contract and protects their account from market price fluctuations.

 Should you like to know more about your opportunity for savings in the deregulated natural gas market email george@hbsadvantage.com  We offer a free analysis of your cost and will present a proposal of the opportunities based on your current demand and annual usage.

 Hutchinson Business Solutions does not charge any additional fees for our services. As stated, we are an independent energy broker and receive a small residual from our providers during the life of the contract. Therefore, all the savings fall to the bottom line.

 There are minimum usages that may qualify your account to be able to participate in the deregulated market. Normally, if you are spending on average of $2000 a month on natural gas or a minimum of $5000 a month on electric, you should be looking at the opportunities for savings in the deregulated market.

July 1 (Bloomberg) — Billionaire investor Eli Broad said the U.S. economy is in the worst recession since World War II and a recovery in the housing market is “several years” away.

 

“This is worse than any recession we’ve had since World War II,” Broad, 75, said in an interview yesterday. Broad, the founder of homebuilder KB Home, said the U.S. should avoid a depression on the scale of the 1930s because the country now has sufficient “safety nets.”

 

With home sales and prices declining and consumer confidence at a 28-year low, “I don’t see it turning around very quickly,” Broad said. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 1 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said last week. That caps the weakest six months of growth in five years.

 

“This is the worst period of my adult lifetime,” Broad said, speaking about the U.S. economy. “I do not think things are going to get any better” before the next president takes office in January. Selling off vacant, unsold homes could take “several years,” he said.

 

The U.S. will avoid a collapse as severe as the 1930s thanks in part to Federal Reserve oversight of the banking system and other safeguards that didn’t exist then, he said.

 

New Capital

 

Still, U.S. banks may have to raise as much as $65 billion as losses and writedowns extend into the first quarter of 2009, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said last month.

 

The world’s biggest financial firms have posted about $400 billion in writedowns and credit losses tied to the U.S. housing slump, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

 

The U.S. lost 49,000 jobs in May, when the unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent, the fifth straight month with a drop in payrolls and the biggest jump in the jobless rate in more than two decades. Financial companies have announced plans to eliminate more than 83,000 jobs since last July.

 

Broad said his concerns for the U.S. center around energy, healthcare and public education.

 

“I don’t see national leadership that is going to have the ability to really ride over the deep rooted vested interests,” he said.

 

“The problem is, people don’t believe prices have bottomed out,” he said. “You’ve got to induce people to buy houses” with federal policies including tax incentives.

 

Our Perspective:

 

The economy is now foremost in peoples mind. Gas continues to go up, now it is over $4.00 a gallon. There is even talk of prices being over $5.00 per gallon in the fall.

 

The mortgage market is at a stand still. Although rates are very desirable, the only people to benefit are those with above average credit ratings. Granted things got a little out of hand, the mortgage companies were giving away money to anyone who was willing to sign there name. There must be a middle ground. Confidence must be gained to allow the economy move forward.

 

Food costs are now feeling the effect of higher gas and utility prices. This is going to cause more anxiety.

 

Speaking of utilities, natural gas prices are continue to climb even thou reserves are still at a 5yr high. New Jersey Natural Gas has applied for an 18% increase beginning Oct 2008. In NJ, PSE&G electric rates just increased over 13% in June 2008. 

 

What to do

 

Consumers must be more diligent. Although you are paying more, take the time to look at viable alternatives. Just don’t settle for business as usual.

 

Businesses who use a large volume of natural gas can buy their gas in the deregulated market. Savings are normally 5% to 8% lower than the provider.

 

Tired of rising electric prices! Get off the grid. There are incentives to install solar panels at your business or home. These incentives more than cover the cost of installation. Become your own provider.

 

Should you want to know more about opportunities to reduce cost and discuss viable alternatives email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Visit us on the web www.hbsadvantage.com to learn more opportunities available for you.

The NJ Solar Lure

June 3, 2008

 

As electric costs continue to rise, companies are looking for opportunities to control these costs. They find it is hard to budget for the yearly increases that are market driven and unpredictable.

 

The State Dilemma:

 

  • The demand for electric is projected to increase 1.5% a year thru 2020
  • Increase demand will lead to possible brownouts in the next 8–10 years
  • Electric price increases are trending over 10% a year

 

The State of New Jersey is committed to increasing the amount of renewable energy source to 22.5% by 2020.  Recent steps have been implemented to help jump start the program and provide an incentive that finally provides an ROI that makes sense.

 

Below is an outline of the steps recently taken that makes this investment desirable.

  • Federal Government provides 30% tax credit.
  • PSEG will be paying SREC’s (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate) each time a solar electric system generates 1000kwh of electricity. 
  • Your electric bill will be decreased by the value of the electric you are generating.
  • Full 7% State Sales Tax Exemption
  • Federal Guidelines allow for 5 year accelerated Depreciation of basis.
  • We can provide very competitive financing and your loan interest is deductible. 

Hutchinson Business Solutions has partners with BP Solar, a world leader in the solar field. They are the only company that has been making solar panels longer than their warranty (30 years). They offer a full 25-year warranty on the equipment and a full 10-year warranty on the installation.

 

The first step

The Federal Government and the State of New Jersey recognize they must provide incentives to entice the public to participate. They have taken the first step, it is now our turn. We must recognize the issue is real. Our demand for electric is surpassing our ability to supply this need. Alternative methods must be found to help supplement the supply of electric.

 

You can be your own provider

 

Our solar solution will not only help reduce the need to buy electric from the local provider; some clients are finding they are actually selling electric back to the provider. 

 

To learn more about your solar opportunities send an email to george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com to learn more about opportunities to provide savings for your company.

 

Recently a client contacted us and was questioning if there were opportunities to save money in the electric deregulated market. They had multiple accounts and were paying very high monthly bills for LPLP rated accounts.

 Below is an overview we provided to help our client understand the market and where the opportunities for savings are found.

David, we understand your question about the size of these two accounts. Both accounts are on the PSE&G rate class LPLP. This means they have primary service (higher voltage accounts). 

LPLS accounts have secondary service (lower voltage accounts).  

Customers with primary power services are automatically part of the CIEP group (Commercial and Industrial Energy Pricing). CIEP customers are paying an hourly floating PJM index rate plus a $0.05 per KW retail adder. 

LPLS customers must have a peak load share at or above 1000KW to be considered a CIEP and qualify. 

The savings is found in being able to discount the $.05 per KW retail added.

This discount can provide substantial savings.

 Look at your bill! 

If you are not sure if your company qualifies, take a look at your bill.  

For PSEG customers see if you are listed as a LPLS or LPLP account?      If the answer is yes, contact us and we can discuss the options available. 

For Atlantic Electric customers see if you are listed as an AGS Primary account? If the answer is yes, contact us and we can discuss the options available. 

Would you like to know more electric deregulation?

Do you have a question?

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go.  

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company. 

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