Why you should have Better Cost Control manage your energy procurement

It is our desire to be the #1 electricity and natural gas consulting company in the Northeast. If not in terms of volume, then in terms of professionalism, integrity and best business practices. We are well on our way!

Many of our clients have attempted to negotiate electricity contracts themselves with the list of electric power companies they find online. After spending weeks trying to compare confusing offers and listening to the biased sales pitch of individual electric or gas companies, they have decided to outsource utility negotiations to us. These are our best references.

The greatest challenge in this business is choosing the right Supplier. There are over 60 electricity suppliers and over thirty gas suppliers, choosing the right one for your business is a daunting and time consuming task.

The owner and president of our company has 9 years of energy procurement experience. His main job is to evaluate the Suppliers and determine who the top 10 Suppliers in the industry are. We have them competitively bid on your business.

We have made a significant investment in developing and training a highly skilled staff specializing in electricity and gas deregulation.

As of July, 2011 we have 350,000,000 kWh under our management. We service all sizes of business clients, and take great pride in giving the same level of service to all sizes of clients, from the Fortune 500 client to the “mom and pop” restaurants.

We are in the business of energy procurement for the long-term. Our core values are Integrity and Professionalism. These are things that we have seen a shortage of in our field.

80% of our clients sign an Exclusivity Agreement that states that we are to completely handle all negotiations and correspondence for and behalf of our client. This is a testimony to our professionalism and energy procurement expertise. It is also the best way for a client to be assured of getting the best service.

Our pricing desk utilizes a variety of web based automation tools. This enables a quick Request for Quotation process, timely negotiations, preparation of Bid Comparison and Savings analysis.

Our desire is to completely manage your Energy Procurement, with as little effort from our Client is possible. At the same time, our energy consultants bring significant business to our Suppliers with the least amount of effort on their part. We make a concerted effort to be “easy” to do business with.  This helps you, the customer, to get the best possible prices on your energy.

Reliability Maintained Through the Heat Wave

ISO New England (ISO-NE) started taking emergency actions Friday under its Operating Procedure No 4 — titled “Action during a capacity deficiency”  — as a result of the high power demand triggered by the heat wave late last week.  That move and the associated warnings that went out triggered a slew of calls from reporters, the ISO’s press office told us. National news outlets carried the story Friday including at least one interview with an ISO press officer on a nationally syndicated radio show.

The first level of emergency response in the ISO’s rules is mostly notification requirements that offer no extra power or demand relief — except the step to “begin to allow the depletion of 30-minute reserve.” That one can deliver about 600 MW, said an appendix to OP4.

The next level can deliver about 550 MW, said the appendix, by dispatching “real-time demand resources in the amount and location required.” At 1:30 PM, the ISO implemented Action Three under OP4, requesting voluntary load curtailment of market participant facilities and office complexes.

PJM breaks record

PJM Thursday broke its August 2006 peak record by delivering 158,450 MW and started releasing alerts for Friday at 7:13 AM that day with a heavy load voltage schedule warning.  That was followed by 54 entries on
PJM’s emergency message webpage ending at 10:55 PM Friday, mostly “post contingency local load relief” warnings.  The purpose of those is to give advanced notice to a transmission owner of the potential for manual load dump
in their area only, explained the PJM website.

Other messages included “non-market post contingency local load relief” warnings, the same message but for non-market facilities.

PJM issued at 11:00 AM an emergency mandatory load management with short lead time for Baltimore Gas & Electric.  “Load reduction is expected to be fully implemented within one hour,” of the alert time, said the PJM website, “and should remain off for six hours unless released earlier by PJM.

Others of the 54 entries included NERC-mandated alerts and letting generation owners boost generation above the normal economic limit — for BG&E, Duquesne Light and Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G).

Alerts started back up just after midnight on Saturday with a hot weather alert for the entire RTO, warning the temperature was expected to hit 103°F later that day.  A “heavy load voltage schedule warning was issued
at 7:30 AM and by noon a 60 MW load relief warning was posted for an area of AEP.

The Maryland PSC reminded customers that utilities in the state are not allowed to disconnect service for non-payment during a heat wave.

BG&E, PPL respond

Customers of BG&E were told Friday that members of the firm’s PeakRewards emergency load management program that they were being phased down to the level they had agreed to — 50%, 75% or 100% demand reduction — although they all were cycled to 50% during a transition period, said the firm.

What did they get for that? Participating customers receive bill credits of up to $200 in the first year of participation and up to $100 for each subsequent year, regardless of whether the program is activated.

The program cut peak demand by about 500 MW, said BG&E.

Early figures showed the demand at PPL Electric Utilities (PPL) at 2 PM Friday reached 7,622 MW — breaking the firm’s all-time summer peak of 7,554 MW set Aug 1, 2006 and the all-time winter peak of 7,577 MW set on Feb 5, 2007.  The
firm kept the power on and cited attention to maintenance and inspection, the increasing investments in the grid plus system planning for that.  It plans to spend over $450 million in capital investments this year, mainly to upgrade and expand the grid and address aging infrastructure, the IOU said.

“Investing in reliability means we’re prepared for the hottest days of summer and the frigid cold of winter,” said Gregory Dudkin, senior VP of operations.

The mark set Friday was the sixth day this year peak demand topped 7,000 MW and four of those six days occurred last week.  The others two were June 6 (7,049 MW) and Jan 24 (7,365 MW).

Over the past 10 years, PPL’s average summer peak was 6,949 MW, so Friday’s peak was about 10% higher than the firm’s summer average.

PSE&G has outages

About 6,600 PSE&G customers were without power due to the weather, the New Jersey IOU reported late Saturday morning.  The unofficial peak during this heat wave for the firm was 10,883 MW, set Friday at
about 3:00 PM — shy of the all-time peak of 11,108 MW set in August 2006, said PSE&G.  The utility has additional crews on hand to respond to service interruptions as they occur.  PJM, the regional grid operator, has had adequate power supplies to meet the increased demand.

The utility asked customers to use power wisely and conserve when possible to help the environment and save money.  “Turn off everything you’re not using, including TVs and computers,” said the firm.  The message listed many other actions customers could take including turning air conditioners warmer, using ceiling fans among lots of others.

New York calls DR

Con Edison (ConEd) said Friday it broke its all-time record, reaching 13,189 MW at 4 PM that day, “eclipsing” the all-time record of 13,141 MW set Aug 2, 2006.

DR programs were credited with cutting peak demand by about 500 MW when 3.2 million customers “heeded calls to conserve power.” The utility “saluted” them “and credited them with a key assist in keeping the power flowing reliably.”

The IOU did experience scattered power outages and as of 7 PM Friday the firm had restored power to over 16,500 of the 24,000 customers affected since Thursday.

New York ISO (NYISO) reported Thursday’s peak at 33,454 MW between 4-5 PM, 485 MW below the all-time peak of 33,939 MW set in August 2006.  The peak Thursday was 2 MW above the 2010 peak of 33,452 MW set July 6.

NYISO activated DR programs in the “downstate” region to help manage load between 1-6 PM where over 800 MW of DR is enrolled in the Lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.
DR was called statewide Friday where over 2,000 MW is available, said the ISO.

“While New York’s power system performed well and sufficient resources were available to meet the higher demand, it’s important for all electricity consumers to heed the conservation advice of their local utility,” NYISO CEO Stephen Whitley said.

Meanwhile, New York PSC Chairman Garry Brown Friday asked New Yorkers to conserve energy to help take stress off the power.  “It is critically important for consumers to reduce their energy use at this time.  Equally important is for our state’s residents to stay cool and stay hydrated as hot and humid weather continues to stay with us.  We must all work together to reduce unnecessary electricity usage during this heat wave.”

Wind keeps blowing

Cape Wind took the constrained power situation as an opportunity to point out its offshore wind power project could help supply clean power in such an event.  The wind farm “planned for Nantucket Sound would have been
running at its full capacity of 420 MW yesterday and today Cape Wind would be running above average in power production,” said the firm Friday, citing wind data gathered both days.

“People sometimes think about the ‘dog days’ of summer and wonder if wind turbines will help,” Communications Director Mark Rodgers said in a prepared statement.  The “data shows us that offshore in Nantucket Sound, those
hot summer afternoons tend to be quite windy.”

In average conditions, Cape Wind will meet about 75% of the electricity demand of Cape Cod and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, it added.

Comparison of New England and PJM Power Generation Sources

People often wonder why electricity is more expensive in the Northeast versus in the PJM area.  PJM covers PA, NJ, DE, MD, WV, VA, OH and parts of IN and MI.  In a word, it comes down to the cost of the fuel powering their generators.  The PJM uses coal for 40% of their fuel versus NEPOOL uses coal for only 12.8% of their fuel, coal being the least expensive.

Here is the comparison:

Power Sources New England Power Pool System Mix

  • Coal 12.81%
  • Natural Gas 37.59%
  • Oil (Diesel, Jet, Oil) 5.58%
  • Nuclear 30.46%
  • Renewable Sources 5.24%
  • Other, Misc. 8.31%
    Total 100.00%

Power Sources PJM System Mix

  • Coal 40%
  • Natural Gas 29%
  • Oil (Diesel, Jet, Oil) 6%
  • Nuclear 19%
  • Renewable Sources 6%
    Total 100.00%

Opportunities for Sales in Electricity and Natural Gas

In tough economic times, there are always slick salespeople who take advantage of the economy to sell dreams. Today, the dream being sold by Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) companies is the recurring commissions of residential electricity sales.  Sell everyone you know to sell everyone they know and you will make a fortune and retire.  The pitch and the web site are slick.  The opportunity makes sense.  It seems like a no-brainer.  But believe me: It is a dream.  It really doesn’t turn out that way.

If you have sales skills and an interest in building a business in commercial electricity and natural gas sales, that is another story.  You build your own business.  Better Cost Control operates as the licensed broker and performs the back office work.  We provide an online portal for CRM, Contact Management, Commission Tracking and Forecasting, plus automatic reminder emails to you and your customers when contracts are approaching renewal dates, so nothing slips by.

We have relationships with more suppliers than any independent electricity or natural gas broker.  This means we can honestly obtain the lowest prices for our and your customers.  You make recurring commissions.  No secrets.  No meetings.  Just honest people who have been doing this since 2002 and plan on continuing to broker energy for the long term.  We’re honest enough to tell you that no sales job provides easy money.  You need sales skills. You need to work hard. You won’t be selling to your friends, but to businesses. Never pay anyone for the opportunity to sell on their behalf.

If electricity and/or natural gas sales might be in your future, call us at 617-332-7767 x150.  Learn more by visiting: http://bettercostcontrol.com/energy-sales-opportunity/

50% energy savings possible with new home energy rebates from Maryland Energy Administration

50% energy savings possible with new home energy rebates from Maryland Energy Administration

A new rebate program from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) unveiled January 20 enables Marylanders to save up to 50% on home energy efficiency upgrades.

The Home Performance Rebate program is designed to bring Maryland closer to achieving its goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% by 2015. It offers a 35% rebate (up to $3,100 total) toward qualifying home efficiency upgrades. When combined with the existing utility-sponsored rebates of 15% off the cost of qualifying home efficiency upgrades, Marylanders are now able to reduce the cost of upgrading their home by as much as half.