Whether you are a small-business owner or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you know the importance of making every dollar count. Many companies waste money on common energy contract mistakes and don’t realize it.

Here are some common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Do Your Research!

When searching for the best energy contact, time spent researching the right fit will pay off. All energy companies and contracts are not created equal. One thing to consider is which companies in your area have the best reputation for service and affordable pricing. Choose a reputable, long-lasting supplier so you can have confidence they will be there for years to come.

Get The Most Competitive Offers

Part of doing your research is getting many bids to compare. A common mistake is to get bids from only two or three companies and then go with the best one of this limited sample. Instead, Energy Professionals can help you get the most competitive offers in your area. With your location and service type, we can ensure you are getting the best deal.

Read The Fine Print

Once you’ve chosen the best energy supplier for your needs, look over the contract carefully. It is common these days to just click “agree” or sign a document without reading everything. After all, who has the time to read pages and pages of details? This is a case where time invested now has the potential to save money in the long run.

Will your rates go up if national or regional energy rates fluctuate? Is there an early termination fee? Will energy outages affect your rates? Read the fine print and find out.

Think Ahead

Though energy usage can at times be unpredictable, you can often foresee periods of heavy usage and plan accordingly. Does your air conditioning run steadily all year, or is it likely to increase during the summer? Does your company put up a large holiday display using many lights during the winter months? Are there other events or conditions that will increase your usage temporarily? If you think ahead, you can ensure your contract is designed to accommodate these times.

Fixed Vs. Variable Rates

Energy companies will usually offer either fixed or variable-rate contracts. There are advantages and disadvantages to each depending on your company’s individual needs.

With a fixed-rate contract, your monthly energy bill will be predictable, allowing for certainty in your monthly budget. If energy prices go up, your fixed rate protects you from a budget increase for the duration of your contract. However, if energy prices drop you will need to wait for the end of your contract to take advantage of the lower rate.

A variable-rate contract allows lower energy prices to take effect immediately. However, increases in energy market rates will affect your energy bill negatively. In addition, variable rates can make budgeting for energy costs unpredictable. Planning ahead (as discussed earlier) can help to mitigate this as a factor.

Know When Your Contract is Going to Expire

It is important to know when your energy contract is set to expire. Sometimes contracts have a clause allowing a change to variable rates if your fixed-rate contract expires. Know your expiration date and start researching options beforehand. Energy Professionals can help ensure you always receive the most competitive rates.

The Best Energy Contract is Easier to Find Than You Think

Energy Professionals focuses on energy management by using audits and software data analytics, and by identifying energy-saving strategies and opportunities. We can help ensure you have an energy contract that best fits your business’ needs. Contact us today to get started.

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Commercial energy bills are anything but fixed.

We work with our commercial energy customers to ensure they are getting the best products at the best possible rates.

But beyond just the rate for the energy you use, many businesses waste energy…in ways which can be remedied.

Here are several of the most frequent offenders in commercial energy waste.

Air Leaks

While many buildings have been retrofitted with caulking, weather stripping, new insulation, and new windows, air leaks are still one of the most common energy wasters in many facilities.

Where the foundation meets the exterior, the exterior meets the roofing, throughout exterior walls, and especially where there are older windows, buildings such as churches, warehouses, and offices can leak thousands of dollars worth of energy annually.

Air leaks also lead to harder work for the next item…

HVAC

Heating and air conditioning are two of the biggest energy expenditures for commercial facilities of every type.

In addition to better insulation, as described in the section above, advances in technology have dramatically improved HVAC functions, including:

  • Smart thermostats, which adjust for daily occupancy times, seasonal changes, and other important factors.
  • Flexible energy equipment, such as those that can heat with different fuels (depending on market rates), or AC which can run off of solar panels.
  • Heating reuse technology, where heat leaked from appliances or other equipment is used for occupancy heating, or the energy from heating gets redirected into process heating and electrochemical processes (two of the biggest energy guzzlers in many industries).

Trends in heating and cooling suggest that we will see continued advances in these technologies.

Lighting

While many businesses have switched to lower-cost, lower maintenance LED lighting, many others have not, or have in limited application.

Lighting was the 2nd biggest energy expenditure in commercial buildings in the United States just a few short years ago, but thanks to smarter light bulbs and fixtures, those numbers have dramatically improved. Further improvements can be made with lighting occupancy sensors, including dimming features.

Appliances

In some industries, appliance usage is directly tied to cooling and lighting, such as with commercial vending machines.

In nearly every industry, appliance and machinery technologies have improved. Here are some of the key ways to save on appliance and machinery-related energy expenses:

  • Workflow analysis – Use the same equipment at off-peak times, when possible.
  • Equipment upgrades – Many newer appliances are much smarter about energy usage.
  • Auto shut-offs – Just like thermostats and lighting, appliances can get smarter, turning down or off completely when not in usage

Depending on the industry, tax breaks and incentives can help upgrade equipment and reduce energy waste.

Bonus: The Energy You Could Generate

One of the biggest energy wasters is lost potential: the energy that could be generated on site.

For example, a large commercial bakery in Colorado recently turned their rooftop into an onsite power plant by installing solar panels.

Solar panels look better and cost less than ever before, with no upfront costs or paying for themselves in a short period of time, depending on purchasing agreements.

For those commercial properties looking to dramatically reduce energy expenses, onsite energy generation is the way to go.

Get Smart with Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we operate as independent energy brokers for a complete energy management strategy.

Whether you want to reduce energy expenses, target the most effective energy upgrades for your facility, or “go green” with renewable energy resourcing, we have the expertise to get you there.

We offer our commercial energy clients a free energy soft audit, to help determine the most effective strategy to save you thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, on your energy needs.

Contact us to find out how.

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When considering the possibility of generating power onsite with solar power or natural gas generators, many customers are choosing to take advantage of energy buy back agreements.

Read on to find out how these agreements work, and what options might be available for your commercial or residential application.

Connecting to the Grid

The energy utility grid (or “the grid) has to provide the energy supply for everyone in the service area, even if you live in an area with a deregulated energy market (where consumers can choose the brand of the energy supply).

The grid has to provide the infrastructure for the maximum energy used at any time.

This requirement, which helps an area avoid energy brownout or blackout conditions, leads to high energy peak demand charges–the variable rate charge based on the maximum usage of a commercial consumer at any point during the month.

One of the ways that a utility grid can have more available energy, without the expense of building additional power stations, is through energy buy back agreements and interconnection agreements with energy consumers.

An interconnection agreement with the utility still allows you to purchase energy, but also allows the flow of your surplus energy back to the energy grid.

Interconnection with the utility is regulated differently in different states, but the essential similarity is that when you have an interconnection agreement, you can sell surplus energy to the utility.

You can also still purchase needed energy from the utility.

Solar Power Purchase Agreements

In addition to an energy buy back agreement, a term to understand is a power purchase agreement (PPA).

A PPA means that an energy provider will handle all aspects of a project installation–design, permitting, financing, installing and servicing–at little to no cost to the customer.

Then, with those onsite solar panels or other power generation installation, the customer also saves money every month on their utility bill.

So why would an energy provider agree to do such a thing at their own expense?

Under the terms of a PPA, the solar provider will typically receive the income of the electricity sales back to the grid, as well as any tax incentives or other incentives generated by the solar power system.

You get a lower monthly energy bill, they get the utility rewards and income.

Choose Your Own Solar Adventure

Given the options, there are several ways to go about a solar installation, including:

  1. Pay for the equipment, installation and service, but retain tax incentives and other incentives, as well as selling your power back to the utility to generate a power income. This option is very popular for smaller installs, such as for residential application.
  2. Enter into a PPA with an energy provider, and purchase your reduced energy needs from the installer, who will cover the expenses (but also retain the incentives). This option essentially makes you a host site for the energy provider for a contract term length (anywhere from 10 to 25 years). At the end of the term, you have the option to extend the contract, buyout the equipment, or have the installer remove the equipment. This option is very popular, particularly for commercial applications.
  3. Lease through a third-party financing company, the way that one might lease an automobile. You have little-to-no upfront costs, just like a PPA. This is a popular option in both residential and commercial applications.

Any of these options result in lower utility expenses on a residential or commercial energy bill.

Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals we operate at as independent energy brokers, where our sole mission is to save you money. We work with hundreds of utilities and energy solution providers across the country.

We are the experts in understanding your needs, as well as experts in the opportunities and incentives available in your sector of the energy market.

We will help you understand the contract terms with zero surprises. If there are any out-of-pocket expenses, you will know the exact point of return on your investment.

Our only mission is to save you money on your utility bill.

Contact us to find out how.

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As a church, synagogue, or other place of worship, effective management of resources is vital. Every dollar that you save on your energy bill can go toward your more important, mission-driven programs.

To help you, we offer this guide: 4 key ways that places of worship can save on energy bills.

Get Smart with Energy Usage

Many chapels, churches and other religious facilities use their buildings only at certain key times each week.

One way to save money is to have your energy usage closely mirror your needs.

Occupancy sensors, digital thermostats, motion-activated lights, and other energy regulators can help you maximize energy “down time.”

Particularly in climates with major heating or cooling needs, much of a church utility bill goes toward temperature regulation. With digital regulation and a little planning, you can save money on your utility bill.

Invest in Energy Upgrades

Depending on the age of your facilities, it may have been built before many of today’s advances in energy efficiency.

What’s more, there are many programs that make energy upgrades more accessible to organizations than years past — incentive programs, energy surplus buy-back programs, “savings as a service” programs and many more.

Energy upgrades vary greatly, but examples include:

  • Insulation upgrades – Walls, windows, roofs, and floors may leak significant energy if not up to today’s standards.
  • Lighting upgrades – LED lighting, auto-dimming features, and other lighting upgrades can make a big impact on energy usage.
  • Appliance upgrades – Most religious facilities contain at least a kitchenette, sometimes a heavy-use commercial kitchen. These and other appliances can drain resources, if not efficient in their energy consumption.
  • Heating and cooling upgrades – Not only are HVAC systems more efficient than years past, technologies such as geothermal systems can use the ground temperature to help regulate indoor temperatures.
  • Onsite energy generation – Natural gas generates and solar panels are some of the technologies which can be installed to generate electricity onsite, saving thousands on energy bills, preventing energy blackout/brownout conditions, or even taking a building completely off the grid (particularly when combined with on-site battery storage).

Since houses of worship, in many communities, also operate as emergency shelters, onsite energy generation can make it possible to serve a community even when other facilities lose power.

What’s more, energy upgrades empower a religious facility to take charge of utility bills.

Change How You Pay

Across the nation, the dynamic shifts in the energy business have made it possible for organizations of all types to save money on utility bills.

In many states, energy choice programs make it possible to pay less per kWh. Others offer buy back agreements of on-site energy generation (solar panels connected to the grid) or savings as a service program.

Savings as a service means that the energy provider will provide onsite equipment or energy upgrades at their own cost to help improve energy efficiency. They may get their own tax benefits for doing so, or they may own the equipment but install it onsite, or many other setups that reduce or eliminate the cost of installing energy efficiency upgrades.

Get an Energy Audit

With so many possibilities and unique facilities, the best place for a house of worship to start is with an energy audit.

An energy audit will examine your particular usage, needs, and goals, then help determine the most effective way to reduce your energy expenses.

Whether upgrading your facility, changing energy providers, or negotiating rates for an upgrade installation, at Energy Professionals we work all day to save you the most money on your energy expenses.

Even reducing your energy bill by 20-30% can save you thousands of dollars, over time.

Contact us to request a free energy soft audit today.

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Energy deregulation across the country, particularly for commercial consumers, has led to more choice than ever–with no interruption to your service and the potential for substantial savings.

Yet the data can be overwhelming–where do you even start when it comes to choosing an energy provider?

Here is a simple guide to making a complex process a great deal more navigable.

Step 1: Understand Your Energy Bill

In order to really compare energy prices, which can be a bit like comparing apples and oranges, you need to understand your current energy expenses.

  • What do you spend on energy, broken down by costs?
  • What energy resources do you need (electricity, natural gas, etc) for which functions?
  • What flexibility do you have, in terms of onsite resources or utilization (such as operating hour needs)?
  • What are your future goals and expectations for energy usage, including your sustainability goals?

When it comes to comparing energy companies, not everyone will fit your needs, but that might be hard to identify unless you know what your current and future expectations might be.  For example, the cost of the energy might look lower at company B, but the service or delivery charges might be higher, making the overall cost higher than company A.  If you know what you pay, as broken down on your bill (and not just as a total), it will be easier to compare pricing structures.

As you take a look at your current and future predicted needs, you’ll also have a better understanding of what to ask in step two.

Step Two: Research Your Options

Once you understand your own needs, you can begin to discover available options.  You’ll be comparing pricing, but also considering other factors of a potential new provider, including:

  • Licensing, registration with your state and service area,
  • Available energy sources (it may sometimes be cheaper to separate out natural gas, electricity, etc, but may also be cheaper to bundle with a single energy provider),
  • “Hidden” costs such as cancellation fees, service provider change fees, etc.
  • Possible incentives to reduce costs,
  • Fixed versus variable rate options,
  • Reputation of the company and customer service quality.

A company worthy of your business will be able to answer your questions about them, the terms of their contracts, and your expectations.

You should also discuss your growth needs and sustainability objectives, to determine if an energy provider will be able to fit your future needs (particularly when factoring in contract length).

Step Three: Get it in Writing

Verbal agreements and handshakes might be enough in some industries, but when it comes to your business energy solutions, get a written proposal.

Does it match what you were told verbally?  Does it have a cancellation period if it doesn’t work out?

Before finalizing an energy contract, you’ll want to see a written sample of your future bill as well as a formal contract.  Another best practice is to compare the written proposals of two to three of your top contenders for your future energy provider needs.  Just as you would consider a couple of contractors before upgrading an office building, a side-by-side comparison of energy providers will ensure you are getting the best solution for your energy needs.

Bonus: Consult the Professionals

Sifting through the fine print of energy contracts, comparing incentives and hidden costs, setting and meeting sustainability goals of clients and partners, and many other factors can make the process of choosing an energy provider complicated.

Fortunately, at Energy Professionals, we work as independent energy brokers, partnering with you as total energy solution providers.

Contact us to find out how you can start saving money on your energy bill.

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In the past, being considered energy independent may have had a connotation of mountain men, remote locations, or those with a fear of World War III.  But as time has moved on and technology has evolved, energy independence has become smarter, greener and more affordable than ever before.

Watch as Energy Professionals President Jim Mathers explains why there’s never been a better time to change your resources and become energy independent.

Off the Grid Business

Whether becoming energy independent in part or in full, on-site energy generation means taking control of your energy production, not just your energy bill — though the economic benefits of energy independence business operations are substantial as well.

On-site power generation means your business can:

  • Maintain power even in a brownout or blackout power outage.
  • Generate additional energy anytime you need it, not just when the power company says it is available.
  • Stabilize energy bills through greater consistency (lowering such costs as “peak usage” charges).
  • Enjoy power savings, as well as tax incentives for installing greener energy solutions.

Blackouts have become more severe in the United States in the last twenty years. But with on-site backup or power generation, you maintain power. Even if the entire area loses power, like the great New York City blackout fifteen years ago, or experiences a substantial storm, on the scale of recent hurricanes Irma or Katrina, your business can operate uninterrupted.

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas has nearly limitless applications for energy–it can be used to generate heating or cooling, electricity, cooking or even run commercial laundry equipment.  Hospitals, hotels, and other large businesses often already rely upon natural gas as their primary energy solution.

Natural gas can also be stored onsite, or hard lined to a business/facility, or both (for greater flexibility of service).

Then, with that natural gas, a business can generate power onsite.

Natural gas prices across the country are at an all-time low and are predicted to remain so. Some states even offer incentives or discounts for using natural gas to generate onsite power, over and above the lower cost of utilizing natural gas for business operations.

If you have considered natural gas, we can help you negotiate the best possible rates for equipment, installation, service, or whatever your needs may be.

Solar Power Solutions

Thanks to advances in solar technology, it is now possible to generate some or all of a business’ energy needs with onsite solar solutions.  Solar panels can:

  • Operate on short hours or even indirect sunlight, for year-round usability in nearly any geographic location.
  • Convert to power suitable for use for any energy need.
  • Generate energy on-demand or channel energy to backup batteries.
  • Recharge backup batteries for continuous operation at non-daylight hours or during overcast/stormy conditions.
  • Earn green energy credits or other incentives to reduce, offset or eliminate installation costs.

Solar power is a limitless, totally green and renewable energy source which can utilize existing real estate (such as rooftops) to meet your energy needs.

Energy Professionals are Your Total Energy Partners

At Energy Professionals, we make it possible to take control of your complete energy needs, not just your energy bill.  With hundreds of partners across North America, we will negotiate the best prices and vendors to take you partially or fully energy independent.

From a complete evaluation of your current and future energy needs to the lowest-possible-cost of installation, Energy Professionals will partner with you to meet your budgetary and sustainability goals for independent energy production.

Contact us to find out how to get off the grid and become energy independent.

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Across the United States, a growing number of states are creating energy choice programs, particularly for commercial consumers.

Energy choice represents deregulated markets — where the energy supply and delivery can be separate brands.  In such markets, energy consumers for electricity, natural gas, or both, are permitted to shop for the energy supplier who will best meet their service, budget and sustainability objectives.

Here’s a quick, 3-step guide to determining your best commercial energy solution.

(For markets without energy deregulation, skip ahead to items 2 and 3.)

  1. Exploring Your Options

In deregulated markets, you have the most choice.  While the infrastructure of power lines, pipes, etc does not change, the brand of your energy supplier can.  Best of all, this occurs with no interruption in service–often you pay the same bill but reap the benefits of the lower cost.

Energy choice programs have also created healthy capitalist competition in markets, which have resulted in such benefits as:

  • The potential of lower energy costs as companies compete for your business.
  • The possibility of loyalty rewards so that energy suppliers retain their customers.
  • Improved customer service of suppliers and delivery utilities, as they compete for your business.
  • Improved incentives, such as energy suppliers providing energy upgrades at no cost to consumers, or public energy funds reimbursing the cost of energy upgrades.

With so many potential benefits, there’s never been a better time to explore your local energy options.

  1. Investing in upgrades

Upgrades do represent an “investment” in sustainability, in longevity and in energy stewardship, but that term can be a bit of a misnomer — energy upgrade investments do not necessarily cost the consumer!

Assessing and upgrading energy usage can be paid for in 3 ways:

  1. By tax incentives at city, county, state or federal level–or in some areas of the country, by all of those governing bodies!  That’s because utility bills generally include an “Energy Efficiency Charge” (sometimes called an Energy Conservation Charge or SBC/RPS).  That money goes to a fund designated for energy upgrades, as do some other tax-based programs (depending on taxes in your jurisdiction).  These funds will generally reimburse upgrade charges.
  2. In some areas, you do not need to wait for reimbursement–an energy provider may upgrade your energy usage infrastructure at no cost to you, as part of their incentive programs.
  3. With a smart energy evaluation, one can quickly determine the energy upgrades which will best maximize return on energy savings for your particular industry and facility needs.  Such upgrades can vary tremendously–from modern insulation techniques to smarter appliances and thermostats–a professional evaluation can help determine the ROI of all of your upgrade options.

In these 3 ways, energy upgrades offer measurable value.

  1. Onsite Options

In conjunction with the options listed in step 2 above, it is possible to generate or store onsite energy for commercial energy purposes.

Onsite storage has greatly improved with newer battery technologies.  Unlike cumbersome and expensive generators of the past, batteries do not require fuel storage, are virtually maintenance-free, and can provide additional energy during times of peak usage (not just during a power outage.

Modern batteries can also be connected to commercial solar panels–allowing businesses to regulate their energy usage (reducing peak energy or “energy demand” charges), as well as generate some or all of their electrical needs.

Start with Energy Professionals

At Energy Professionals, we partner with our clients to make smart energy decisions–from better energy management to meeting efficiency and sustainability objectives.

As independent energy brokers, we work solely for the benefit of our clients.  Contact us to find out more and to start saving money.

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Choose Your Energy Supplier

Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy supply partners will provide you the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

1. Energy Type

2. Service Type

3. Zip Code