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UV Lighting and Indoor Air Quality – TMT

Video Transcript

With people returning to the office, kids going back to school, and others remaining in their residential buildings, everyone is concerned about keeping shared spaces safe. One solution you may be hearing about is UV radiation in air ducts to improve indoor air quality and kill germs.

If you’re getting questions on this or it’s something you may be looking into in the near future, then this Two-Minute Tuesday video is for you. We’re going to talk about 3 things you need to know before looking into UV solutions.

1) Does it work?

The first thing you need to know is, does it work?

And the short answer is: yes. The right type of UV lighting can kill many germs, bacteria, and viruses. It can even help with mold spores and odors in the air.

Now according to the FDA, UV radiation — specifically UVC — has been shown to destroy proteins in other coronaviruses, ultimately leading to deactivation of the virus. Early findings support that it could be equally effective for COVID-19.

Which takes us to the second thing you need to know.

2) Not all UV lights are the same, and not all UV radiation is the same.

While UVA and UVB can kill some germs and bacteria, there is a specific wavelength of UVC that was used to successfully inactivate other coronaviruses, such as H1N1 and SARS.

Enough exposure to UVC-254 damages DNA so viruses can’t replicate. However, direct exposure is also dangerous to people, damaging both skin and eyes. This is why the strongest equipment has been used in medical applications for years, and why it’s installed in air ducts and not in the lobby.

When you’re evaluating UV lights themselves, make note of the type of UV (A, B, or C) and check the light rating. That’s an indication of its effectiveness.

Overall, the effectiveness is based on dose and duration, so power is important. Handheld wands, for example, have a very low dose, and it’s not enough to immediately damage a bacteria or virus. This means it would take prolonged exposure in order to render a virus inactive.

3) Work with an HVAC professional.

The last and most important point: this is NOT a DIY upgrade. You need to work with a professional.

You can buy lights on your own, and in some applications it may seem like an easy install. But there are a lot of ramifications throughout your building that can easily be overlooked. If adequate adjustments are not made to your HVAC system, you can overwork existing equipment or cause condensation issues throughout the entire building.

Be sure to consult an HVAC professional. They can:

  • Tell you whether your current HVAC system can handle UV radiation,
  • Identify the best types of lights that will work with your existing system, and
  • Make the necessary adjustments after they have been installed.

 

These are just a few quick things you should know in case you’re asked about UV lighting. Our November webinar will dive deeper into this topic. So if you’re getting questions or have further questions yourself, please share them in the comments section below, and we’ll be sure to address them in that webinar.

Take care, and thanks for watching!

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What does an energy advisor do? – TMT

Video Transcript

Hi! I’m Sam Greenberg, and I am a strategic energy advisor representing Nania across the Mid-Atlantic.

In this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, I’m going to dive into specifically what energy advisors do, and how we can help your company through our services.

Energy Broker vs. Advisor

In one of our previous videos, my colleague Calvin talked about how advisors and brokers are similar but far from the same. To quickly recap, when put simply, a broker only shows up when it is time to renew your contract, regardless of where the market is at that time.

What we do as advisors is take an all-inclusive approach to energy management by:

  • monitoring the market for best times to buy,
  • helping you identify areas of opportunity like demand response, and
  • connecting you with some of the best resources across the country for completing an efficiency project.

The energy industry is complex, and energy procurement is even harder to navigate. It is our goal to make energy buying not only easy, but make it an area of opportunity for your company when it comes to budget stability and reducing expenses.

By consistently monitoring the market, keeping you up to speed with the newest regulations, and providing strategic advice for execution, being an energy advisor is an ever-evolving line of work. But, it’s one that is extremely rewarding when we see our clients being set up for success.

If you have any questions about your business or would like to speak further about taking advantage of your deregulated market for energy, feel free to reach out me or any of my colleagues. My contact information is below.

If you enjoyed this video, please like, share, and subscribe. Stay classy, energy clients.

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Technology and Energy Strategy – TMT

Video Transcript

By this point, the impact of COVID-19 has permeated our lives in almost every conceivable way. With the changes you’re facing, you’ve had to adapt to a world where almost everything is now online, including managing your energy strategy.

In this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, we’re going to talk about a couple of ways you can leverage technology to save you time and money in the energy purchasing process.

Video Conferencing

The first way seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: digital communication and data exchange. In this day and age with so many ways to communicate, we are continuously surprised by how impersonal energy procurement can be. There’s nothing like meeting in person, but video conferencing is the next best thing.

Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft Teams all provide excellent platforms to see each other during meetings and to share and review data. Not only are video communications more personal, but they’re also more productive. More accomplished in less time means more time for you to dedicate elsewhere.

E-Signature

Speaking of saving time, e-signatures are next on our list, and they have skyrocketed in popularity for documents that require signatures. If you’re tired of negotiating with the scanner like me, e-signatures are going to be your best friend.

Reverse Auction

Another way we’re leveraging technology is with a reverse auction. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re going to want to take some notes.

The completely online procurement event has suppliers log in and compete against one another in real time in an online platform. The streamlined event can produce results up to 10 percent better than a traditional sealed bid. Couple that with a 15-minute time limit, and you save time and money all online.

Our workplace is definitely different than it was in January of this year, but that doesn’t mean that your productivity has to suffer. Our mission remains the same: make energy easy to make you successful.

If you’d like to learn more or just want to chat, hit me up and I’ll send you a Zoom invite. Thanks for watching!

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TMT: 3 Factors Impacting Your 2021 Energy Budget

Video Transcript

Hi! It’s Calvin, back with another Two-Minute Tuesday. It’s budget season, so this week we’re going to take a look at three macro factors that may impact energy budgets for Illinois customers in 2021.

Budget Factor 1: COVID-19

The first and most obvious factor is COVID-19 and the potential for a second wave later this year.

Initially, with stay-at-home orders, we were in a shoulder period when there wasn’t significant usage for heating or cooling. If there’s a second wave, it’s likely going to come during the heating season. So there’s a big potential for staying at home to increase usage, thus driving up natural gas costs.

Budget Factor 2: Clean Energy Legislation

The second major factor is Illinois clean energy legislation.

There’s legislation on the table right now that includes Northern Illinois being removed from the PJM market. What this means is Illinois residents and businesses will be paying a completely different structure for their capacity costs. The goal of this is to support renewable generation, which historically is higher cost, so it could lead to dramatically higher rates for capacity and overall electricity costs for Northern Illinois customers.

Budget Factor 3: Oil Prices

The third major factor, hot off the presses, is oil prices.

Over the weekend, OPEC announced that they are considering increasing production. They’re meeting tomorrow, July 15, to have discussions and potentially vote on increasing production starting in August. This means that they consider the market to be recovering or demand to be increasing in the future. It could just be wishful thinking on their part, but if they’re correct, then we could see a continuing increase in oil cost and, ultimately, energy rates for 2021.

 

So to recap, the three big things to keep an eye on for next year: COVID wave two, Illinois energy legislation, and OPEC’s discussion to increase production.

If you have questions on this or are looking for additional guidance in your budget planning for 2021, please feel free to reach out to us! You can give a call or email info@naniaenergy.com.

We thank you again for tuning in to another Two-Minute Tuesday, and if you found it helpful please like or comment below.

TMT: Choosing the Right Energy Product

Video Transcript

Let’s discuss risk. If we were having this webinar three months ago, we would be talking a lot about the cost savings versus your prior contract and how we hit some of the lowest prices in the last 20 years in February, which was just unheard of.

It would have been a very different conversation from today where we want to focus on cost aversion — avoiding any risk in the future given all the factors that we’re aware of today. Where we anticipate using those factors, where we anticipate energy prices to go, and what that means for you and your energy costs.

The biggest way to do this is through product selection. When a supplier uses “product” terminology, they’re basically meaning of all the moving components of your electricity or natural gas costs, how are you fixing those and what is the variability going to be from those month-to-month on your invoice?

Low Risk Tolerance Customers

So when we look at this meter, you see in that bluish-white area is for low risk-tolerance customers. You need a lot of budget certainty, you can’t have a lot of variation in the rate month-to-month, and you need to plan in advance for what’s coming down the pike. This would be more of a fixed product, or a fixed all-in. You’re taking all of the different components of your energy cost and locking them as much as possible.

When done correctly, you should in theory have the same per-kWh or per-therm cost on your invoice every month.

High Risk Tolerance Customers

If you go to the other side of the meter, you have the index or variable or floating type of products. These ride the roller coaster of the energy market. So you’re going to have a lot of variability.

There’s been some advantages to this certainly in the past year or two where prices have continued to come down continuously, so if you’ve been riding an index product you may have seen some of those record-low prices and been able to take advantage of that.

But on the flip side, now we’re facing volatility. And volatility, again, means a roller coaster. So if you have a little more bandwidth to have a higher risk tolerance, then this may be the kind of product for you.

Product type is going to look different for every organization. We’ve already seen where COVID-19 has affected every business (even within the same industry) very differently, and going forward a recession could affect every organization differently. So I would stress that you should really look at your internal risk tolerance — not only what it was in the past but also what it’s going to be going forward with all of the unknowns.

Current Energy Product Trends

A trend that we’re seeing right now is even some of our long-term clients that have always been on some type of float or index product are actually looking to fix as much as they possibly can. There’s a lot of uncertainty still up in the air. We don’t know a lot of things that are going to shake out from COVID and the recession and these other factors we’ve described.

So to be able to have control over a certain portion of your budget via energy, we’re seeing where people are starting to switch more to the fixed and low-risk types of products.

 

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TMT: Energy Challenges for Manufacturers

Video Transcript

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another Nania Energy Advisors’ Two-Minute Tuesday. I’m AJ Brockman, Nania’s Content Marketing Manager. Today we will be talking with Senior Energy Advisor and Mid-Atlantic Manager Mike Eckenroth about the specific challenges that manufacturers face when it comes to energy. So let’s get started!

Energy Challenges for Manufacturers

AJ: So Mike, when it comes to energy, what would you say are the top two to three challenges manufacturers typically face?

Mike E: Good question! I would say number one is probably how to reduce and control energy costs.

Manufacturing is typically an energy-intensive process. You’re taking a number of raw materials, putting them through your process, and converting them into what you want to make. And throughout that process, there’s a lot of energy consumed. So the concern is about how to reduce and control those costs to keep operational costs low.

Secondly, manufacturers want efficiency and confidence in their energy procurement, which isn’t always easy to have. There’s a lot of different choices available — brokers, advisors, consultants, suppliers and products — to choose from. Figuring out a process to determine which method to use for procurement is definitely a challenge.

Tips for Reducing Costs

AJ: And when you talk to manufacturers or decision makers in manufacturing, what sorts of tips or solutions to those challenges are they typically looking for?

ME: So to answer the second point, we did a broker versus advisor video a few months ago, so I recommend they check that out. But, really, it’s about finding an advisor or consultant that you trust and that sits on your side of the table.

You want them negotiating with suppliers on your behalf to achieve your goals. So you should feel that all of those things are being met by them, and I’d recommend interviewing a few different ones to get a feel of who has your best interests in mind and who you have the most confidence in.

Secondly, they’re looking to identify opportunities that they might not have seen otherwise. The number one way to do this is with an energy audit.

You have various operations that you’re doing day in and day out, and you might not realize there are opportunities in front of you for that. This could be things like LEDs or HVAC controls, variable frequency drives, water controls. An energy audit will identify those opportunities, and then we can prioritize those according to your ROI goals. So this is really about making you more efficient, doing more of the same output with less energy input, reducing those costs from that side.

Along that same vein is demand response. Demand response is a voluntary curtailment program during emergencies. So for a few hours of participation a year, a manufacturer could earn tens of thousands of dollars in payment for those.

This is particularly important for manufacturers because they usually have some control over when their energy is being consumed. They can schedule activities at different times and things like that, and so it’s typically a program that works really well for them.

And lastly is tax exemptions. This has been huge for manufacturers that we work with. Nania Energy is not a tax firm, we are not licensed tax professionals that can provide advice on taxes.

However, we’re aware of some exemptions that exist, and we can double check your bills for those. So if you are paying taxes and you shouldn’t be, that’s something we’ll be able to take a look at and either recommend you to one of our partnered tax firms or have you investigate it and recover that money (up to 48 months in some states) as well as remove that cost going forward. So that’s really low-hanging fruit that’s available for manufacturers.

Sustainable Manufacturing

AJ: Great tips, Mike. Lastly, I want to talk about green energy. Sustainability is starting to become more of a factor for both producers and consumers. What advice would you give to manufacturers who are interested in going green?

ME: So what we talked about with energy audits: even though it may or may not seem like that’s the easiest way to go green, it probably is one of the easiest. There’s a lot of wasted energy in a lot of different processes that manufacturers use, and there are ways to recover that. There are ROIs that are increasingly lower and lower to match those 2 and 3 year goals that some organizations have for that. So that would be number one: looking for those efficiency opportunities.

Number two is sourcing your energy with green power. Typically, energy supply agreements are going to be maybe 10 percent renewable, depending on your state or municipality. And there are opportunities for you to source 100 percent of your energy from renewable sources.

You do pay a little bit of a premium for it, but you’re talking about one to two percent, so it’s very manageable if green energy is a corporate initiative or an initiative for your organization. That’s definitely a way to achieve that.

And thirdly is on-site generation. This is typically a little less popular, mostly because you have to have the floor space or the space to dedicate to it. There are requirements, such as how long you’re going to be in the building, lease obligations, and ROI constraints that you have to sort through.

On-site generation is going to have longer ROI, but if you have the square footage or roof space to allocate to solar and you have a longer term that you’re willing to accept the ROI for, that’s absolutely something you should be looking into and could provide some of the results you’re looking for.

 

AJ: Great! Well thanks so much, Mike, for all of that great information. And thank you to everyone for watching our video! If you’re in manufacturing or you’re a decision maker for a manufacturing facility, tune in to our webinar on June 25th. We will be presenting some energy tips that are specific to you.

Thanks again for watching! If you found this video helpful, please like, comment, or share below.

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TMT: Is Now a Good Time to Buy Energy?

Video Transcript

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another Nania Energy Advisors’ Two-Minute Tuesday. I’m AJ Brockman, Nania Energy’s Content Marketing Manager. And today we will be talking with Senior Energy Advisor Mike Zaura.

We’ve seen a lot more market volatility recently, which has led to some clients asking us, “Is now still a good time to buy?” And that’s what Mike and I will be talking about in today’s video.

Recent Market Movement

AJ: So Mike, most states started putting COVID-19 measures in place in early March. What have the energy markets looked like in these past two months?

MZ: Thank you, AJ, for the question. Yes most states started those in early March, but we started seeing energy markets go down as early as the end of February. And as the chart shows here, you can see the steady decline.

Source: ino.com, New York Mercantile Exchange Natural Gas 3 month history

So that coincided with equity markets. As we all know, stocks went down quite a bit and everybody felt the pains of watching that happen.

But energy markets went down quite a bit as well. Now, while stocks and equity markets have recovered, the energy markets have not. They’ve recovered a little bit, but a lot slower than the equity markets.

So, while the energy markets are still down, there’s a lot of volatility still out there right now. A good example of this is what happened a couple Mondays ago. There was a pipeline explosion in Kentucky, and overnight and going into Tuesday morning gas markets spiked about 8.5 percent.

Now that’s volatility that’s not COVID-related, but it gives you an idea of some of the spikes that can occur and how the market recovers after that.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy Energy?

AJ: Okay Mike, let’s answer the question that’s on everybody’s mind. Is now a good time to buy?

MZ: An excellent question, and yes it is a good time to buy.  But, more importantly, it’s a better time to explore your options. A lot of the questions we’ve been getting recently are “With all the volatility going on, should I even think about buying? Should I wait? What should we do?”

If you explore your options, that’s one of the best things you can do right now. This puts you in a position to at least see what’s out there — you can see what rates and term options are available to you. Regardless of when your agreement is up, whether it’s a few months from now or the end of 2021, exploring your options now gives you ability to make a good decision on whether to buy now or wait.

What Do You Recommend?

AJ: What would you recommend to your clients today?

MZ: Exactly what I touched upon a little bit earlier: explore your options. In addition to looking at what’s available now, it also sets you up if you do decide to wait. If you’re willing to wait and are a little less risk adverse, then you are set up to take advantage of a little volatility in the market.

To give you an example, say the market goes down 3-5 percent on a given day. If you did explore your options, you’re already set up with suppliers with your account information and they have everything they’re looking for. If the market goes down, you can easily jump on an opportunity to grab those savings. You wouldn’t be able to do that if you weren’t set up earlier than that.

So exploring your options is the best recommendation. Maybe you’d see 10-15 percent savings right now, maybe 20 percent savings. What kind of impact could that have on you and your bottom line during these times? So you can act now by exploring. If you like what you see, great. If you have a little more time to wait on your agreement, that’s even better. You can take on a little more risk if you have the appetite for it and then jump on the market opportunity when it presents itself. Those would be my recommendations right now.

AJ: Well thank you so much, Mike, for all of that awesome information. And thank you to you all for watching! If you found this video helpful, please like, comment, or share below, and be on the lookout for next week’s Two-Minute Tuesday video.

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TMT: Energy Tips for Facilities and Operations Managers

Video Transcript

If you’re a facilities manager, Director of Operations, or COO, you deal with almost everything happening at your facility on a daily basis. And if you oversee more than one facility, your tasks and responsibilities are even greater.

In this week’s Two-Minute Tuesday, we’re going to dive into energy concerns specific to you and share some energy tips for facilities and operations managers that make the process easier for you.

Concern #1: Ease of Procurement Process

One of your concerns is that you need the procurement process to be as easy as possible.

With all you have going on, you don’t have time to sift through mounds of paperwork or charts or spend hours considering every option.

To make the process easier on yourself, consider working with an energy broker or an energy advisor.

They’ll do the heavy lifting for you — requesting pricing, communicating with suppliers, and comparing supplier offerings. Based on their findings, they’ll give you a proposal that clearly states their recommendation based on your facility’s needs.

Concern #2: Efficiency

You also want your facility to be operating as efficiently as possible to reduce your bottom line. Old or outdated machinery could be using more energy than necessary and causing you to be over budget.

To combat this, have an audit performed on your facility to identify possible inefficiencies. The audit will identify both immediate and long-term opportunities for you to lower your energy usage.

And as an added bonus, many utilities currently offer efficiency incentives, reducing your overall project cost.

Concern #3: Budget Adherence and Risk Avoidance

Another important aspect of your job is making sure you’re adhering to your budget.

Can you explain to your CFO why your projected energy costs were ten percent over budget? Are you sure it was due to increased production? What if it was something else?

Taking unnecessary risks with your energy can easily blow up your budget, and you don’t have time to examine the details of every available energy product.

An energy advisor or broker is well-versed in supplier product options and can help you select the one that makes the most sense for your facility. This should be based on your production schedule, sustainability requirements, and any upcoming energy efficiency projects.

Concern #4: Looking for Competitive Advantages

Lastly, you’re looking for ways to give your facility a competitive advantage.

In addition to a strong procurement strategy and doing efficiency projects, consider enrolling in a Demand Response program.

Facilities that choose to participate earn money for voluntarily reducing their usage during test events and peak usage times. The more you can curtail, the higher your payout, and the more funds you have at your disposal for site upgrades.

 

As a facilities or operations manager, you deal with so many variables every day. Your energy consumption and spend is an important aspect of this, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Keep these energy tips for facilities in mind when looking at your next project or agreement.

Thank you for watching! If you found this video helpful, please feel free to share it with other operations folks, then like or comment below.

Deregulated Energy Markets – Ask An Advisor

Energy advisors, brokers, and consultants all operate in deregulated energy markets.

In today’s video, we’re going to talk about deregulation. I’m going to ask John some questions and we’re going to have some conversation about deregulated energy markets.

What does “energy deregulation” mean?

MZ: So John, when an energy market is deregulated in a state, what exactly does that mean?

JN: Let me turn back the clock a little bit. So back in the late 1980’s, the federal government allowed states to implement what they called “Choice” for natural gas. But it was up to each state to decide whether they wanted to do it or not.

That experiment produced extraordinary results in the states that implemented it. And the savings that the end users — mostly large commercial — realized was dramatic.

Then, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the federal government deregulated electricity in much the same way. Each state got to choose.

So today, roughly half the states have deregulated natural gas, and probably one-third of all the states have opportunities where end users can purchase electricity in their deregulated market.

Choosing Electricity and Natural Gas Products

MZ: So when you talk about purchasing electricity, we talk to our clients about different products whereas you don’t really get a choice with the utility. Talk a little bit about product mix and what products are available in deregulated energy markets.

JN: Well, if your business or home resides in a deregulated state, with gas and electricity you have the ability to purchase them in different ways.

There’s what we call “floating market” or “spot market” and you could also fix a price for some duration, whether it’s for three months or even out as far as ten years.

If you’re using the utility — whether it’s a default service in your state or your state doesn’t offer choice — the utility almost always provides some kind of variable rate. It is subject to the market and subject to change.

So the products that have been created over time in response to how the utilities provide their prices are generally around fixing a rate. Fixing a rate is the tool that probably 95 percent of customers in deregulated markets use.

MZ: And part of that product mix, too, is green energy and sustainability. Can you talk about that?

JN: When consumers have choice in deregulated markets, it’s proven not only to provide savings but also budget certainty. That means that customers now know roughly what their total cost is going to be for energy.

But a newer reason why people want to be in deregulated markets is that they can choose whether they’d like to go green or not.

Unfortunately, there are not many green options for natural gas — it just doesn’t exist that way. But in electricity, “going green” means that you could be buying your electricity from a renewable source — like solar, wind, water, or waste.  By doing so, you’re aiding the environment.

These are generally not options that you have when you’re operating in a regulated market.

MZ: We’ve helped a lot of our manufacturing clients achieve their sustainability requirements by buying Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). In these deregulated markets, people have been asking about RECs a lot more recently as well.

Which states have deregulated energy markets?

MZ: Some of the states or areas of the country are deregulated. Would you mind talking about which ones?

JN: What we saw with natural gas is that the states that were heavily populated with manufacturing were the

States with deregulated energy markets

States with deregulated energy markets

first ones to adopt deregulation. So think about the Midwest and the Northeast. Since natural gas has been deregulated longer than electricity, it has spread a wider net.

So about half of the states in the nation have opportunities end users — whether it’s for commercial, residential, or both — to choose for natural gas.

On the electric side, probably 13 or 14 states are offering choice. Again, a lot along the Midwest to Northeast corridor, California, and certainly Texas which is the biggest market by far.

Benefits of Energy Deregulation

MZ: So, obviously, states have deregulation available. We get asked all the time by customers about why their state isn’t deregulated. What are some of the benefits that you see to deregulation?

JN: Well, the evidence is absolutely conclusive at this point. The end users in states that have implemented choice have realized lower costs.

The best example is Illinois versus Wisconsin. Illinois deregulated electricity early in this process. Wisconsin never deregulated. Before deregulation, businesses were leaving Illinois and flocking to Wisconsin because they wanted to take advantage of the lower electric rates.

That has since ended. Wisconsin’s electric rates today on average are probably 20-30 percent higher that what they are in Illinois. Being neighbors, we source our power from the same places. Nothing else has really changed. The only thing that has is the fact that Illinois offers its businesses and homeowners choice, and in Wisconsin they don’t.

Downsides of Deregulation

MZ: Sure. And some other big advantages besides the lower prices are product mix like we talked about and budget certainty. But there are the naysayers and those that talk about the downsides of deregulation. What are your opinions on that?

JN: The downside of it is that the utilities lose some of their monopoly. So most of the doubts that have been cast about deregulation and its effectiveness have been by those people representing the utilities, who have a vested interest in leaving regulation in place.

The stakeholders are the legislators, politicians, and utility companies in those regulated states, and they want more of the status quo.

In other states, the stakeholders are the end users and they have a voice.

There’s really no downside. We haven’t seen a market that’s re-regulated. At one point, California re-regulated and now they’ve deregulated again. But otherwise, no market has and in fact several states are actually pushing for deregulation.

The Carolinas, Florida, Arizona, Virginia are the most recent ones moving toward deregulation because they know that the benefits to the end user work. And they need to make their state competitive if they want to attract businesses and employment accordingly. They have to be able to make it a better business environment, and what better way to create that environment than giving them the opportunity to lower their energy costs?

The only other downside is in the residential market. There’s been some less-than-scrupulous players that have gone after less-informed consumers and taken advantage of them by putting them in higher rates than they otherwise would be paying.

It’s a bad practice. The states’ attorneys have aggressively gone after those companies, and we as an industry have self-policed aggressively. So to say that no one has ever been harmed by this would not be true.

Aside from that, deregulation is mostly a positive. In Illinois, for instance, almost 98 percent of all the businesses that have a choice are actually taking advantage of it. That means they like it.

Closing Thoughts

MZ: Absolutely. And we’ve seen the overwhelming savings and positivity from our clients in our market, but in the other states that also have deregulation you can see the big impact it has on their bottom line.

Any other general thoughts on deregulation? Anything else you’d like to touch on?

JN: Well, deregulation has brought choice to end users. And that choice comes with options. How long are you going to fix a rate? Do you want to use a different product than the utility company is offering as the default?

But the most recent benefit is that end users can choose to go green now whereas they didn’t have that option before. So whether you’re a business or a resident, you can buy your power from a sustainable source, and that’s kind of cool. It doesn’t exist in natural gas per se — we haven’t figured out how to “green up,” if you will, natural gas — but we’ve certainly done that in electricity.

MZ: Well John, thank you very much for your time today. It was a great conversation on deregulation. And thank you all for watching! If you’d like to learn more about options in your state, please feel free to reach out to us or visit our website.

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Run an Effective Energy RFP – Energy ABC’s #3

Video Transcript

Figuring out when to buy energy and what to include in your energy RFP can mean the difference between an operating budget bust or surplus for your District.

Get your notes ready! Because I’m about to rapid-fire some best practices for running an effective energy RFP for your district.

Give yourself plenty of time.

Let’s say you get yet another call from an energy provider asking you about your gas and electric contracts. You spout off your standard answer of “We’re locked in for another three years, so we’re all good” and hang up the phone.

While you’re not interested in taking a sales call, it does jog your memory that you haven’t looked at your actual contracts in quite a while. So you track them down and see that you’re up in the next 12 months. So now what?

I’ll give you a hint: the answer is not file it away in a cabinet until a month before your contract expires.

Give yourself ample time to review this process. Engage with new providers. Watch the market. And get buy-in from any necessary parties, such as your Board.

By giving yourself plenty of runway, you could save thousands of dollars and add to your bottom line.

Know your contract end date.

Because all energy supply contracts are purchased on the futures market, they’re all technically forward-facing agreements. So, you can go to market at any time during your current agreement for your renewal.

Let’s say, for example, you have a December end date on your current agreement. You can go out to RFP in January, if you’d like. And you would set a parameter for a December start date. Suppliers can start the new contract whenever you’d like.

How this would work is your new contract would bookend to your current agreement. Just make sure you have accuracy in what your current contract end date is. What you don’t want to happen is to have an overlap of two supply agreements or have a gap in service — both which can result in large penalties to your District.

Watch the market.

So is there a better time of year to buy than others?

Not really.

In theory, it makes sense that you would buy in the off-peak seasons — so you would buy gas when it’s warm outside and buy electricity when it’s cool outside.

But anymore, the market’s not really weather-driven because we’re at a surplus of natural gas domestically. You want to pay more attention to geopolitical speculations and financial gains of any traders, and that’s really what’s going to affect the market.

If you’re trying to “time the market,” you’re better off to give yourself enough runway to watch the market for opportunities. And if you don’t have the time to do that, align yourself with a partner who will and will notify you of any substantial changes.

Consider competitive bidding.

Which brings me to my final point. Call your peers and ask for referrals of any energy partners they utilize. Then pick their brains on RFP parameters that they have.

Keep in mind any changes you have upcoming, such as a closing building or solar installation. These partners should be able to help you build out an effective energy RFP to run on your own, or maybe you trust them enough to run it for you.

Also, keep in mind that energy procurement in public schools does not require a formal bidding process per school code. So, you’re able to work and align with partners that you trust and value.

However, competitive bidding is always a great option, whether you do a traditional sealed bid or maybe you utilized a more tech-advanced option, such as a reverse auction software. Competitive bidding where multiple suppliers compete against each other can really drive down your overall cost.

Build your own effective energy RFP.

Now that you have a jumping-off point, pull out those dusty old contracts and see when they end. If it’s in the next 12-18 months, now is the perfect time to start gathering information and engage with new partners.

Thanks for watching! Check us out in our next video in the series Energy ABC’s.

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