Product Updates

Reduce Load & Get Paid

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With all the talk in the industry about wind, solar, and fuel cell storage to help businesses manage their energy costs, another resource businesses have turned to is “Demand Response”.
Demand Response is a voluntary program that compensates customers for reducing their electric consumption, in an event where the reliability of the electric grid is threatened, or when wholesale prices are high.

During these critical times referred to as “Events”, businesses agree to reduce their electric usage in exchange for financial compensation “incentive payments”. By reducing energy consumption during hours of peak demand, you relieve stress on the grid, the environment, and your bottom line. Two ways consumers can reduce electricity is:

• Self-Generation – backup generators
• Usage Reduction – turning off equipment, large HP motors, slowing down or stopping production at an industrial operation, dimming or  shutting off lights, raising A/C set points, etc.

In other words the customer earns revenue for reducing their electric consumption during peak demand periods.

Currently within the PJM footprint, there are Limited, Extended Summer and Annual program options.  The most common is “Limited”.  Under this program potential events are limited to the summer months of June thru Sept.  The maximum number of events that can be called is 10, with a maximum of 6 hours of duration for an event.

Under “Extended Summer” the months are expanded to May thru October and I don’t think “Annual” needs to be explained.  Under this program the number of potential events are unlimited and the maximum duration of an event becomes 10 hours.

 

Effective June 2018 the above mentioned programs will be eliminated and replaced by Base Capacity and Capacity Performance Products.  The table below summarizes the various program and their requirements:

Reduce Load & Get Paid - Demand Response

Looking back, there have been very few actual curtailment events here in Ohio. Since deregulation started in Ohio in 2009, there have been 5 events totaling 16 hours within the First Energy markets. They occurred all in 2013 as a result of equipment constraints; issues that have since been resolved. For the rest of Ohio there have only been 2 events, 1 in 2012 and 1 in 2013, each 4 hours in duration.

To enroll into a demand response program you will need to select a PJM Curtailment Service Provider. They will monitor your performance to maximize your annual DR payments for the projected load drop, keeping you informed and notifying you of potential events.

If no actual events are called, PJM requires each participant perform a one hour test to confirm their ability to shed their committed load. This test must be completed by September 30 and will be coordinated by your PJM Curtailment Service Provider.

There is no penalty for non-performance. If a customer fails to shed the committed load during their test or during any called events, the only result is a reduced payment or no payment. The total amount of the reduction assessed in any program year is capped at the total contracted DR payment for that year.

If you have back-up generation or have the ability to modify your operation you need to consider a demand response program. We have worked with a number of companies that initially said nope we can’t shed, but after thinking outside the box are now benefiting from demand response.

If you don’t enroll into a DR program you will never receive an incentive payment. Remember you are always in control of your operation and the load you shed. If you don’t perform to your committed load, there is no out of pocket penalty.

 

Demand Response values for the June 2016/17 year are around $20,000-25,000 (per megawatt reduction). If you feel you could possibly shed some load, now is a great time to review your business. If you already have an interval meter, the cutoff for enrollment for this coming year is May 15th.

 

Pool Customer Savings to Grow to 23% in 2016

Choice Pool Flyer 2016 AES for website - 3.1.16

The PUCO recently announced Columbia Gas of Ohio (COH) will be increasing their Standard Choice Offer (SCO) from $0.129/Ccf (or $1.29/Mcf) to $0.143/Ccf (or $1.43/Mcf), effective in April, 2016. >. Full PUCO media release here

While the SCO rate is going up, we have negotiated our CHOICE pool rate to remain at $0.110/Ccf (or $1.10/Mcf) through March 31, 2017, increasing your savings against the SCO rate to 23%.


Join Today It’s Simple

Fill out the online enrollment form and take over you energy today

For more information on this program, >. Click Here

 

 

What’s the value of a ‘good’ broker/agent/consultant?

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If you haven’t noticed by now, there are a lot of people in the “energy” business eager to help you find a better deal. Customers tell us they get 100’s of calls, each one offering a better program and a lower price if you sign up today.
I venture that over 95% of the energy calls received are from a call center which are hired guns that are only dialing for dollars in search of new business acquisition. Their business model is set up to make money on signing up new customers, not the ongoing account management of your program.
If you’re looking for more in an energy advisor, then the following should help you screen energy calls to identify the 5% of the energy calls you should investigate further.

 

Here are some observations and/or questions that may help you evaluate and/or eliminate some of the noise just by understanding how to spot the call center:

 

If you can hear all the other telemarketers in background….tell them to put you on their do not call list and hang up!

Period…

The caller represents that they are “with the utility and wanted to make you aware of”……….

Think back, utilities don’t call customers. They communicate via notices on their bill and if they need to terminate service they just show up.

The caller is pushy about getting you to provide information from your utility bill, like your account number, your rate, etc.

Selling over the phone has to be simple. The simplest comparison is price and that is why the call center wants to know your rate. Anyone can offer a lower price but, will it be an apples to apples comparison to what you have?

If the caller can tell you a price without knowing your usage, or by saying your current agreement is up for expiration….run!

Most call centers are pricing out of the next start month. If your contract expires in 12 months and you switch, you will be exposed to early termination fees.

Our advice to customers is if you can’t eliminate the call from one of the above comments, then consider requesting more information from the energy broker/consultant, they should be happy to send it to you.
Now, understand that not all energy advisors are created equal. To narrow your search for the trusted energy advisor that best fits your needs, consider the following questions:
Ask yourself do you understand the energy market, do you understand how cost components impact your price, do you know what to look for in a supply agreement?

If you answered NO; then narrow down your search to brokers /consultants that are independent of the supplier, meaning they represent multiple suppliers. How long has the firm been managing the energy needs of businesses?

Ask what their broker’s fee is?

If they say they don’t charge a fee, that the supplier pays them…you should run!

Their response is the half-truth. True, the supplier pays the broker, but it is the broker that determined the fee that the supplier includes in the price.

For this reason, transparency is of huge importance as they should be more than willing to document their fee and put it in writing.

How long has the firm been managing the energy needs of businesses?

Longevity, especially in a service industry, supports strong customer service. Customer retention is a sign that the broker/consultant is demonstrating strong customer service and market knowledge.

What is the company’s scope in both service and product offerings? Are they willing to come and meet with you, face to face to explain some complex topics?

That should provide you with a level of comfort that they are not in this for a quick “sale” but are interested in working for you as an integral part of your business.

Ask questions to get comfortable with the energy advisor, it’s your most important decision.

Since most customers don’t really have the time/desire/knowledge to keep abreast of the energy market, selecting the right energy advisor is a customer’s biggest decision. Make sure fees are transparent and documented and they work to develop an energy strategy that services your needs based on your business, risk tolerance and corporate objectives.

 

You want to make sure your broker/advisor is on your side and working for you. The true consultants or advisors will ask questions before ever asking to see/review a utility invoice. They will be able to explain what types of programs may fit your needs, and options to consider.

A true advisor will be able to update you on any upcoming regulatory or policy changes that will impact your business. Selecting the right broker takes time, do you homework, selecting the wrong broker could cost you more than you think.