Natural gas prices in the United States are trading high in front-month and forward-month contracts, a trend we can expect to continue.

This comes as an unfortunate surprise to many energy consumers, who have seen low natural gas prices for several years running.

As we face a potentially colder winter, be prepared and looking ahead.

The Rise and Fall of Gas

Natural gas in the United States is primarily used industrially, to heat homes, or (about 35% of the time) to generate electricity.  Commercial use of natural gas is actually one of the lowest categories of use, less than 14%.

So, naturally, natural gas demand tends to follow temperatures, particularly in the northeastern part of the United States.

Natural gas pricing saw multi-year decreases but has recently turned a corner: trading over $4.00/mmBTU in forward months for several months ahead.

It’s a great time to have stock in natgas, not the best time to rely upon it for heating or other purposes.

Store and Use Natural Gas

For those commercial or industrial applications of natural gas, storage is crucial for pricing. With adequate volume and storage, a business or industry has the ability to buy at lowest points (such as warmer months) and use when costs are higher.

As a storage and backup power solution, natural gas allows for onsite energy generation, which means:

  • Independence from the energy grid for vital operations, even in the event of a blackout.
  • Backup power to supplement energy usage and reduce peak charges.
  • Emergency fuel supply when temperatures drop.
  • In some states, incentive from the local utility to generate electricity onsite.

If you currently utilize natural gas, are considering making it part of your overall energy plan, or wonder if natural gas is right for you, an Energy Professionals energy consultant can examine your industry and site-specific needs to determine the best course of action.

Switching the Gas Off

If you’ve grown weary of energy fluctuations in the natural gas market, it may be time to consider a switch to onsite solar panels.

While buying “energy credits” for off-site green energy generation is still usually more expensive than traditional energy purchasing, on-site solar panels come at much less cost.

Just as a convergence in market factors have created a surge in natural gas pricing, another market convergence has resulted in best-possible pricing in solar energy at this time:

  • Solar panels and solar installation costs are down
  • Incentives from local, state and federal programs have boosted the rebates available to solar projects
  • Third-party funding options have enabled low or no-cost solar installations across the country
  • Energy buy-back agreements, power purchase agreements, and other options continue to grow across the United States.

What’s more, even in northern states (outside of Alaska), you probably get enough sunlight to generate enough power–it only takes 4 hours of sunlight for today’s typical solar panels to fully charge.  With onsite battery storage, one can even store additional solar energy for overcast or stormy days absent of sunlight.

Energy Professionals Knows

With so many market variables and options available, energy prices can be convoluted and virtually impossible to compare.

Fortunately, we have assembled a team of experts.

We work independently from the utility and other energy providers so that we have only one purpose: to save you money on your energy bill.

We can help you “market proof” your energy expenses, save on your current utility, plan for an “off the grid” energy future, or whatever your utility goals may be for the future.

Contact us today for a free energy soft audit and to find out how to get started saving money every month!

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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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Winter 2018 Natural Gas Prices Have Exploded Due to Cooler Than Normal November, But Backwardation is Still in Place for 2019 Thru 2022!  

(My reports focus on Natural Gas as it is the largest energy source for the generation of Electricity; therefore, Natural Gas and Electricity are highly correlated.)

In my October 31st Energy Report, I explained why Natural Gas Backwardation over the next 3 years was unsustainable because low prices are a disincentive to increase production, while demand was expected to continue to increase resulting in structural imbalances leading to higher prices in 2019 and beyond.

In my September 19th Energy Report, I warned although prices remained relatively stable since the beginning of the year with supplies at very low levels, it was not wise to become complacent and count on increased production handling demand this winter with supplies at the start of the winter heating season at the lowest level in 10 years.

In today’s report, I will update what has transpired since my last report and discuss how recent price increases have impacted consumers of Natural Gas and Electricity.

As you can see in the chart below, if you did not heed my September 19th warning and have market-based or variable rate pricing, a cooler than normal November triggered an explosive rally and you will be experiencing sharp increases in your Natural Gas and Electricity bills:

After my September 19th Energy Report, Natural Gas prices increased from $2.95 per MMbtu to a high today of $4.93, an increase of approximately 67% in less than 2 months! The recent explosive increases in Natural Gas and Electricity prices have impacted rates in the forward markets through March 2019. Therefore, be very thankful if you already have an energy contract in place, you will avoid this winter’s sharp price increases.

The question is, what was the root cause of the explosive rally? The obvious answer is the rally was due to cooler than normal temperatures in November causing an already dire supply situation to continue to deteriorate and Natural Gas supplies are now projected to remain approximately 700 Bcf below the 5 Yr. Avg. by the end of November! The market is waking up to the reality supplies declined further below the 5 Yr. Avg. based on a cooler than normal November. We are not talking about Polar Vortex temperatures like the winter of 2013/14, we are talking about chilly weather in November!

But what do you think will happen to prices if we do experience a Polar Vortex this winter?

Therefore, it is not surprising as the market came to grips with this reality that Natural Gas and Electricity rates exploded thru March 2019, and you should be very thankful if you have an energy contract in place. But the good news is even if you don’t have a contract or your contract expires in the next few months, prices in the forward markets starting in April 2019 are little changed from the rates shown below in my Oct 31st Energy Report, and the market phenomenon called “Backwardation” still allows you to secure rates far below present levels in the forward market.

As I explained in My Oct 31st Energy Report, the above prices are not sustainable since E&P companies are not profitable when prices average below $3.00 per MMbtu. Therefore, I believe backwardation in the forward markets with prices from Apr 2019 thru Apr 2022 near $2.70 per MMbtu will likely lead to much higher prices in 2019 and beyond!

I believe the dramatic price increases over the last 2 months in winter 2019 prices are a harbinger of a new reality in which structural imbalances in supply/demand will periodically result in explosive price increases and I recommend securing long-term hedgers to protect yourself.

One last point to consider based on the empirical evidence contained in the chart below:

90% of the time over the last 20 years, Natural Gas prices have been higher than $2.70 per MMbtu, and since I believe prices below $3.00 per MMbtu will inevitably lead to structural supply/demand imbalances, and higher prices, I trust you can appreciate the wisdom of securing long-term hedges to protect yourself from the likelihood of higher prices in 2019 and beyond.

Conclusions:

The recent explosive 67% rally in Natural Gas since September 19th was triggered by cooler than normal temperatures in November causing an already dire supply situation to further worsen with supplies now expected to remain 700 Bcf below the 5 Yr. Avg. by the end of November.

The concern is the recent rally was triggered by chilly weather in November, but how high would prices rise if we experience a Polar Vortex this winter! Therefore, given the fact that prices in the forward markets from April 2019 thru Apr 2022 are trading near levels in which over the last 20 years, they have been higher 90% of the time, and prices this low will likely lead to structural supply/demand imbalances, and higher prices in 2019 and beyond, it is wise for anyone with contracts expiring within the next 18-months to secure long-term hedges to protect themselves from the increasing risk of higher prices.

Not every client’s risk tolerance and hedging strategy are the same, but we trust the above report will help you put into perspective the risk/reward opportunities now. I invite you to call one of our energy analysts to help you plan a hedging strategy appropriate for your situation.

 

Ray Franklin
Energy Professionals

Senior Commodity Analyst

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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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The retail industry is vital to the whole of the United States economy.  An estimated two-thirds of the US gross domestic product (GDP) comes from retail sales.

“Retail, directly and indirectly, supports 42 million jobs, provides $1.6 trillion in labor income and contributes $2.6 trillion annually to U.S. GDP.” (Select USA).

But operating a retail business can also have high overhead.

When it comes to energy expenses, there’s a pretty good chance that a retail business is paying too much.  In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified energy savings potential of up to 41% for retail stores (up to 21% for supermarkets) with effective energy management.

Retailers spend an estimated $20 billion on energy expenses each year!

One of the key ways a retailer may save is through energy upgrades.

Here are some of the key points to know to pay the lowest possible amount for energy in the retail sector.

Save Tens of Thousands

Energy upgrades may save a business thousands, even tens of thousands per year.

Considering that about 95% of the retail industry is privately or independently owned, you may not know what choice you have in dealing with a public utility.  It is not uncommon for a business to assume that a utility bill is just fixed, by various unknown factors, and a business may not have much say in rates, much less in such “add-ons” as energy upgrades.

Yet your retail business does have a choice!

One of the biggest ways to save is through energy upgrades–and there are many ways those upgrades can cost you little-to-nothing.  Energy upgrades may pay for themselves through such possibilities as:

  • Tax incentives or credits,
  • Amortization,
  • Surplus energy credits,
  • Buy-back agreements to the local utility,
  • Financing options which extend payments to closely match ROI rates,
  • And more!

Given the many options available, it is possible to know the exact timeline for ROI (return on investment) for any upgrade that may include an out-of-pocket expense.

In some cases, upgrades end up costing nothing directly to the retailer!

Upgrades Available to Retailers

Energy upgrades available to retailers vary widely depending on your location, facility specifics, and type, as well as many other factors.

Some of the biggest ways in which retailers can upgrade to save on utility bills include:

  • Structural changes such as roofing, insulation, or solar directing (using solar direction to heat in colder climates, or redirecting sunlight for improved cooling in warmer climates);
  • Appliance upgrades for more efficient refrigeration or other appliance needs;
  • Lighting upgrades, such as LED lighting, motion-activated lighting or reduced off-hours lighting;
  • Smart thermostats, thermal energy storage (TES), and other heating or cooling upgrades;
  • Timing changes to adjust peak usage expenses;
  • Onsite energy storage (batteries) or energy generation (natural gas generators, solar panels, etc).

With so many options available, retailers have the power to reduce or even eliminate their utility bill, by getting partially or fully off the utility grid.

Where to Start

With so many options available to retailers, and so many differing outside factors (such as geographic location or building lease/ownership agreements), it can be difficult for a retail business to even know where to begin to find commercial energy savings.

Fortunately, at Energy Professionals our sole mission is to save our energy partners money while helping you achieve your sustainability goals.

We know how to dig into the nitty-gritty, such as billing accuracy, but also how to effectively engage in long-range planning, such as setting and achieving energy independence objectives.

Let us work with you, through a free energy audit, to independently evaluate the potential savings and upgrades for your retail energy bill.

Contact us today to get started!

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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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After a Long Period of Complacency Natural Gas Supplies Continue to Deteriorate and Prices Breaks Out of Trading Range!  

(My reports focus on Natural Gas as it is the largest energy source for the generation of Electricity; therefore, Natural Gas and Electricity are highly correlated.)

In my Sep 19th Energy Update, I warned not to be complacent and count on increased production being sufficient to meet demand this year with supplies at the start of the winter heating season at the lowest level in 10 years. After writing this report as you can see below Natural Gas prices rallied 17% going from $288 to $336 per MMbtu:

The rally was based on an already dire supply situation deteriorating further with forecasts for colder than normal weather starting in mid-October causing supplies to fall further below the 5 Yr. Avg. by Oct 26th. Below is a summary of supply estimates for the weeks ending Oct 5th thru Oct 26th compared to the 5-Yr. Avg. based on NOAA’s present weather forecasts:

 

Week Ending    2018   Net Change    5 Yr. Avg.    Deficit to 5 Yr. Avg.    % Below 5-Yr.

    

Oct 05                     2956          +90                  3563                          607                               17.0%

Oct 12                      3039          +83                  3642                         603                              16.6%

Oct 19                      3101           +62                  3719                          618                               16.6%

Oct 26                     3151           +50                   3781                          630                              16.7%

 

Natural Gas supplies normally increase from April thru October to prepare for the winter heating season and with supplies projected to be 630 Bcf below the 5 Yr. Avg. near the end of October, it is not surprising Natural Gas prices broke out of the stable trading range it has been in all year.

The question is if you did not heed my warning about complacency and have not hedged your cost of Natural Gas and Electricity is it too late now? Absolutely not!

As I stated earlier, since Sept 19th, the nearby contract of Natural Gas increased from $2.88 to $3.36 per MMbtu and based on present weather forecasts supplies are now expected to remain 630 Bcf below the 5 Yr. Avg. near the end of October; therefore, the risk of higher prices continues to increase. But the good news is as I explained in several earlier reports due to the market phenomenon called “Backwardation”, hedgers can still secure rates below present levels in the forward market.

Below is a summary of Backwardation for Natural Gas:

Present   – $3.36 per MMbtu

Apr 2019 – $2.74 per MMbtu

Apr 2020 – $2.55 per MMbtu

Apr 2021 – $2.48 per MMbtu

The price of Natural Gas is lower in the forward markets, and although since Sept 19th, the nearby contract increased 17%, rates in the forward markets remain very attractive. This is especially true when you consider the chart below:

Anytime you can purchase a commodity near the lower end of its 20-year trading range while supplies are below the 5 Yr. Avg., it is prudent to do so, but this is especially true when a commodity such as Natural Gas has supplies starting its high demand winter heating season at the lowest level in 10 years.

As I wrote in the Sep 19th Energy Update, if we experience a normal winter, increased production should be enough resulting in stable prices, while a warmer than normal winter could lead to lower prices. But it is important to understand that since we are at the lower end of the 20-year trading range, the downside reward potential for lower prices is minimal.

But if we experienced a colder than normal winter since much more Natural Gas is used in the winter than summer, and with supplies over 600 Bcf below the 5 Yr. Avg. as we are start the winter heating season, we would likely experience a dangerous shortfall in supplies and much higher prices; therefore, the risk versus reward ratio clearly favors hedging Natural Gas and Electricity now, and not delay hoping for lower prices.

Conclusions:

The recent rally of Natural Gas was due to an already dire supply situation continuing to deteriorate with forecasts for colder than normal weather starting in mid-October causing supplies to fall further below the 5 Yr. Avg. by Oct 26th. But the good news is the market phenomenon called “Backwardation”, allows hedgers to secure rates below present levels in the forward market. This is especially beneficial when you can purchase Natural Gas near the lower end of its 20-year trading range with supplies significantly below the 5 Yr. Avg.; therefore, the risk versus reward ratio clearly favors hedging Natural Gas and Electricity now, and not delay hoping for lower prices.

Not every client’s risk tolerance and hedging strategy is the same, but we trust the above report will help you put into perspective the risk/reward opportunities now. I invite you to call one of our energy analysts to help you plan a hedging strategy appropriate for your situation.

 

Ray Franklin
North American Energy Advisory

Senior Commodity Analyst

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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