Deregulated Gas Savings

March 14, 2010

As reported by Energysop

Deregulation of utilities means that the historical monopolies granted to a few large utilities providing electricity, telephone and natural gas are eliminated. These companies will just operate the distribution systems, the wires and the pipes. Competitors then enter the market with different pricing and service offerings. With the onset of deregulation in all of these industries, it is possible for consumers to realize significant savings by shopping around for these commodities.

 Utility deregulation is complicated since there is a fixed and very expensive distribution system already in place – pipelines, power and phone lines. It’s just too expensive, disruptive and environmentally harmful to construct parallel distribution systems. This is different from deregulation of airlines or financial services where no such fixed infrastructure existed. As a result, only the commodity, gas, electricity or telecom, is deregulated.

Natural Gas Deregulation

Historically, consumers received supply and delivery of natural gas from a single company who had the monopoly franchise for the region in which they lived. These companies bought gas on the wholesale market and sold it to consumers in their jurisdictions according to regulated rates set by the local regulatory agency, an energy board or public service commission.

 Natural gas is being deregulated in many jurisdictions. Examples are, Ontario, Alberta, Maryland, California, Georgia and Pennsylvania. This means that a householder or business can buy gas directly from a supplier at a competitive price — not just from the gas utility. These utilities, however, continue to have the franchise to distribute gas and charge a regulated fee.

Deregulation separates the sale of the gas as a commodity from it’s distribution. The product is available at a competitive price and under competitive conditions but the delivery is a standard regulated charge. This would be similar to a situation where you might buy milk by phone, and it is delivered by a large courier service such as Federal Express. The milk is a commodity, and it would be priced differently between suppliers, but the supplier relies on a distribution system provided by Federal Express trucks. A portion of what you pay would be for the commodity (milk), and a portion for the distribution (Fed Ex). In the case of utilities, the distribution will remain regulated, but the commodity supply will be a free market.

 Experience in Other Jurisdictions

The U.S. initiated deregulation in the gas industry at the wholesale level in the mid 1980s which resulted in gas prices declining about 35 per cent for large commercial and industrial customers, according to a Harvard University study. Prices for residential consumers changed only slightly.

Agents, Brokers and Marketers (ABMs)

Consumers choosing to shop around for their natural gas supplies can benefit from the price swings and variations inherent in a competitive energy marketplace. But where do consumers go to buy natural gas? Deregulation has given rise to a number of sources of gas supply.

 First, you can continue to let your distributing utility purchase gas on your behalf and deliver it to you with no change in the process.

 Or you can look into purchasing it from an agent, broker or marketer. These are independent companies that either sell on behalf of gas producers or purchase supplies of gas and re-sell it to consumers. Securing a long term supply from one of these energy marketers when the gas prices are lower can result in significant savings over the term of your contract.

 Should you choose to buy from a gas marketer, nothing about your service will change. You will still get a bill from your distributing utility which will indicate a regulated Delivery Charge. This is about 1/3 of your bill and a Gas Supply Charge which is the remaining 2/3. The delivery charge will be kept by your distributing utility and the gas supply charge will be forwarded to the gas marketer or supplier you chose. Should you choose some value-added services offered by gas brokers, such as energy cost comparisons, rental gas equipment or an equipment service contract, these will also be added to your bill. If you switch to a gas marketer, there is no interruption of service nor any other additional fee charged.

 This cost split is a key point to remember when you are comparing costs or considering an appeal from one of the gas suppliers or marketers. You have no doubt received promotional materials from one of these either by phone, by mail or from someone knocking on your door. The suppliers, brokers and marketers are only dealing with 2/3 of your bill. The distribution charge, which is 1/3 of your bill, is fixed and regulated by regulatory boards. They have periodic hearings to evaluate and set this rate. The remaining 2/3 is variable depending on which supplier you choose. As a result, when a promotional message claims a 10% saving, it is referring to 10% of the 2/3.

 Take, as an example a fairly typical annual gas bill of $ 1,500. One third of that, $500, is a fixed distribution charge. The remainder, $1,000, is the gas supply charge. A supplier offering a 10% saving is offering a saving of $ 100, which is 10 % of the $ 1000 gas supply charge. The saving on the total energy bill is 6.7 %, ($100 saving on a $1,500 gas bill).

 Gas marketers offer varying contract terms and conditions. In general, however, you have two basic choices. You can sign on for a single or multi-year contract at a fixed price or you can choose a rebate option which means you pay the regulated price set by your distributing utility and will receive a rebate if your marketer can buy the supply for less than that price.

Our Perspective:

I found this article gave a good explanation of the deregulated natural gas opportunity. If your company is spending more than $3000 a month for natural gas, you should be looking at buying natural gas in the deregulated market. Our clients are saving a minimum of 10% to 15% by buying natural gas in the deregulated market.

Currently yor local provider is buying natural gas in the wholesale market and then selling it to their clients for retail prices. Should you qualify, we are able to put your company in a wholesale position and the savings will fall to your bottom line.

Hutchinson Business Solutions provides independent financial solutions in the dereglated energy market. We have been positioning our clients for savings in the deregulated energy market for over 10 years.

To find our more information, visit our website www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

or email george@hbsadvantage.com  You may also call 856-857-1230.

What is an “aggregator”?
An aggregator is a company or association that buys power at a wholesale price from power generating companies and passes the savings on to its customers. Because the aggregator is buying vary large amounts of power on behalf of all its customers, they can negotiate for the best rates on your behalf.

Does taking advantage of the deregulated electricity market require changes in wiring to my business?
None whatsoever. Your new agreement to buy electricity through an aggregator simply requires your local utility (the company that delivers power to your meter) to utilize electricity generated by the companies that sell power wholesale to the aggregator.

Can I take advantage of the deregulated electricity market in my home?
Not at this moment, in most cases. Aggregators need to acquire the bargaining power of larger electricity users to be able to negotiate favorably for their clients. At some time in the future, aggregators may turn to groups of homeowners.

Is there any service interuption when I change my electricity provider?
The change from buying power from your current provider to your new provider is “seamless”, in most cases simply requiring a reading of the meter at the time your new service takes effect. There is usually no need to replace the meter or otherwise interupt your power service. Your aggregator will take care of all the paperwork, contacting the various utility companies, etc.

Who do I call if the power is out?
Your local utility is responsible for delivering electricity to your business. In case of a storm-related or other outage, call your local utility just like you do now.

Will my local utility put me “at the back of the line” if I report an outage?
No, this is illegal. More importantly, in practical terms, most outages are not to just one address, but to an entire area or zone of their service grid. These repairs restore everybody’s service regardless of where they buy their electricity from.

How does the billing for my electric service work? How do I pay my bill?
You’ll still get just one bill. Whereas you currently typically receive just one bill to cover the generation, transmission, and delivery of power from one company, you now will receive one bill that shows the cost of all of these elements. In order to keep administration costs as low as possible and deliver power at the lowest cost to all customers, most aggregators require automated monthly payment of your bill, in the same safe and reliable manner as you may currently schedule your bank or credit card to automatically pay other regular bills for your business or home.

Who do I contact for questions about my bill?
For questions regarding your bill for electricity contact your aggregator. For questions regarding the delivery of your service such as outages, meter checks, etc., contact your local utility, which is responsible for delivering power (from whatever source) to your business.

Who is responsible for the safety and reliability of my service?
The delivery system is still the responsibility of your local utility and as such, its safety and reliability. The utility will maintain the lines and repair them if there is an outage or storm. The regulatory body overseeing utilities in
your state will help to ensure that the utility continues to provide a safe, reliable delivery system for your use.

Can I buy power from one specific power generating company?
Since saving money is most people’s primary reason for buying electricity through an aggregator, your energy may come from any number of different electricity generating companies at any given time, depending on price. Other options are usually available to purchase electricity solely from a “green” generator, such as solar and wind farms.

Do I have to make a long-term committment to a different electricity provider?
Avoid making long-term commitments with an aggregator or broker, at least initially. A safer option is to choose an aggregator who offers a no-commitment service so you can be satisfied that you are receiving the expected savings and service. If, for whatever reason, you are unsatisfied, you’ll have the option of returning to your previous electric supplier.

What reasons are there to stay with my current electricity company?
If you are a stockholder receiving dividends from your current provider (although the potential savings may cover much more than your current dividends), or if you are not concerned with the amount of money you spend for electricity.

How do I find a reliable aggregator to help cut my electricity bills?
Email George@hbsadvantage.com to learn more of how yo can save in the deregulated Market

Visit or webite to learn more www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

The Deregulated Electricity Market will SAVE your company money…but only if YOU act.

Just as deregulating the airline industry resulted in more competition and lower airfares, and the deregulation of the telephone industry resulted in slashing service costs, the deregulation of the nation’s electric utilities will result in utility companies competing for your business with better service and lower prices. While it’s not yet truly practical for the average household to utilize this deregulated environment, the “mid-size” to “large” electricity consumers (small to large businesses) are now able to drastically cut their electricity costs through “aggregators” (companies that buy large volumes of electricity at wholesale rates on behalf of their clients).

A Brief History of
Utility Deregulation

Before deregulation, you were ‘held hostage’ by one telephone company monopoly. You had to pay the rates that they decided were ‘fair’ (though they had to receive approval from the government). The phone company owned the wires, switches, even your actual phone which you had to rent from the phone company (you were not allowed to own a phone of your choice and connect it to “their” system.

Then the phone company monopoly was broken up by the U.S. Justice Department and the FTC, and allowed the entry of competition. The competition began with long distance phone calls, and companies like MCI and Sprint set up their own switching systems and wires and leased the use of the old phone company’s lines (this latter part was mandated by government decree to insure competition). Long distance rates started dropping, first by a little, then drastically. Today a long-distance call can cost as little as a penny (sometimes even less), whereas that same phone call 30 years ago would have cost 20 or 30 cents (or more) per minute. The End Result? Consumers of telephone service now have multiple choices for service providers, and the cost of telephone services (especially long distance, but also local service) have dropped dramatically, saving consumers tens of millions of dollars.

THE SAME SITUATION IS OCCURING TODAY WITH
ANOTHER UTILITY: THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.

In the interest of providing the public with the lowest possible rates and a selection of service options, the U.S. electric utility industry is now in the process of being deregulated. This allows power plants to compete for your business, and as we all know, competition breeds savings for consumers. It also changes the electrical utility industry into two distinct types of services: The companies that transmit power from the electrical generating station to your home or business (they own the poles, transformers, wires, etc…these are called “the distributors”); and the companies who actually operate power plants (“the generators”) and feed electricity into the distributors’ power grids. Of course, some companies are both generators and distributors. Still, deregulation allows you to choose who actually generates the power you consume, and you are free to choose the company that generates electricity in the most cost-effective manner and therefore can sell it to you at the best price.

In 1978, Congress passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act which laid the groundwork for deregulation and competition by opening wholesale power markets to nonutility producers of electricity. Congress voted to promote greater competition in the bulk power market with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) implemented the intent of the Act in 1996 with Orders 888 and 889, with the stated objective to “remove impediments to competition in wholesale trade and to bring more efficient, lower cost power to the Nation’s electricity customers.” The FERC orders required open and equal access to jurisdictional utilities’ transmission lines for all electricity producers, thus facilitating the States’ restructuring of the electric power industry to allow customers direct access to retail power generation.

As a result of the Federal and State initiatives, the electric power industry is transitioning from highly regulated, local monopolies which provided their customers with a total package of all electric services and moving towards competitive companies that provide the electricity while utilities continue to provide transmission or distribution services. States are moving away from regulations that set rates for electricity and toward oversight of an increasingly deregulated industry in which prices are determined by competitive markets. (source: United States Department of Energy)

So how do you get electricity from “Power Company A” when your existing power company is “Power Company Z”?  Envision this example: Suppose your town is served by “Power Company Z”…this is the company that owns and maintains all the wires in your town, and they also happen to have a power generating station as well. This power company also is connected via larger regional or national power grids to 3 other power generating companies (let’s call them “Generator A, B, and C”). 25% of the power users in your town buy their power from Generator A, 25% from Generator B, 25% from Generator C, and the remaining 25% continue to buy from the distributing company “Power Company Z”. If you are one of the 25% that decides to buy your power from “Generator A”, then your distributor “Power Company Z” is required to buy 25% of their overall power from Generator A, 25% from Generator B, and 25% from Generator C. That means that the actual “juice” delivered to your business at any given moment could actually be a combination of electricity from up to 4 different providers, but the end result is the same…YOU, the CONSUMER, dictates which power company provides your share of the total power distributed and used, and you pay for your energy at Power Company A’s rates.

Of course it’s entirely possible that a power distributor has no actual power generating facility, OR that everybody in their service area chooses to buy their power from a source OTHER than the distributing company. The distributing company can not be expected to maintain the poles, towers, lines, transformers, etc. for nothing. Under the new deregulated industry, you will in effect receive two bills: One to pay for the actual amount of electricity used, and another for the delivery of the energy to your business. In actuality, your monthly power bill is consolidated into one payment, but it’s easy to see how much you are paying for electricity and how much for delivery.

In the end the competition between power generating companies will lower your bill by 15 to 20%, based on the experience of electricity users in states where deregulation has already been in place for several years. In the near future this competition will also allow you to make significant social and environmental choices. You may choose, for example, to obtain your electricity from a generating company that produces electricity at a slightly lower level of savings, but uses a cleaner fuel source than another generating company. You might even choose to take a firm environmental stand of receiving very little in savings but purchasing your electricity only from a very “green” power source, such as a producer who uses hydro, solar or wind turbines to generate electricity.

In the past, you could only buy electricity from your local utility, at the rates they set. Today, you have the freedom to buy from a variety of utilities that compete on price and quality for your business.

Come to think of it

June 16, 2009

Has the recent turndown in the economy had an effect on your business?

What steps have you taken to tighten the belt?

Did you reduce the workforce? 

Did you reduce or drop employee benefits? 

In difficult times you may find you have to think outside the box. Reducing the workforce and employee benefits are obvious choices. 

There are diamonds in the rough out there! 

Where you ask? If you only knew!

 Most companies budget for expenses and never really drill down to see if there are opportunities for savings.

 Deregulated Energy: Natural Gas and Electric

 Is your company paying more than $5000 a month on natural gas or electric for your building! 

The deregulated Gas and electric market is the lowest it has been in the last 3 to 4 years. 

Our clients are saving from 15% to 30% on natural gas. 

 

Just in the last week, we saved a client over $45,000 by locking in their Natural gas for the next 12 months.

 

Our electric clients are saving from 6% to 15%

 

Just last week, a client saved over $94,000 by locking in their electric for the next 12 months.

 

How much do you think your company may qualify to save?

The local provider buys gas and electric in the wholesale marker and sells it to you retail.

We put our clients in the wholesale position.

 The savings is yours and falls to the bottom line!

 Voice and Data:

Here is the real sleeper. Many companies feel they wear a safety blanket for they have Verizon or ATT as their provider.

You are paying a premium for that blanket!

Deregulation allows third party providers to use the Verizon / ATT platform and deliver voice to their clients at a discount.

 Our clients are saving from 15% to 40% on their monthly Voice and Data Billing. 

What is 25% of your bill?

 Come to think of it, we haven’t looked at these costs recently?

 Call Hutchinson Business Solutions 856-857-1230. There is no fee for our services!

 Or you can email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Let the savings begin!!!!!