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Realgy Energy Services has been approved to serve Illinois electric and natural gas commercial and residential markets

At the request of our current Electric and Natural Gas customers Realgy has sought and received approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission to expand our services in the Illinois energy markets.

“This is the next logical step in Realgy’s plan to expand in the Illinois energy market and is the perfect complement to our existing gas services in the Nicor, Peoples, and North Shore markets,” stated Michael Vrtis, President of Realgy.

The Realgy Energy Services Illinois electric service area now includes both commercial and residential customers in Commonwealth Edison, Ameren Illinois, MidAmerican Energy and Mt. Carmel Public Utility. Realgy was previously only approved to serve commercial Commonwealth Edison customers.

The Illinois natural gas service area now includes both commercial and residential customers in Nicor, Peoples Gas, and North Shore. Realgy was previously only approved to serve commercial Nicor, Peoples Gas, and North Shore customers.

If you would like to enroll a residential or commercial account in any of these service areas, contact a Realgy Energy Services Energy Broker, at (877)-300 -6747 X 32 and have your bills ready.

For the full press release please visit the Realgy Energy Services Blog Press Release: Realgy Energy Services Now Offering Electricity Services to all Illinois Customers and Press Release: Realgy Energy Services Now Offering Natural Gas Services to all Illinois Customers

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PriceWatch™ and Natural Gas Storage Season

It is that time of the year when Realgy Energy Services starts to send out our PriceWatch™ emails; look for it in your email anytime from October to November. Supplies of natural gas in storage begin to be applied to your monthly natural gas usage starting November 1st.

PriceWatch™ monitors the natural gas market to pin-point the most advantageous time for our natural gas customers to lock in a rate for the winter heating months.

Realgy will only send out a PriceWatch™ email if we can lock our customers in at a rate that will save them money. If you would like more information on PriceWatch™, please visit our blog post What is PriceWatch™?

Natural Gas Storage is the service of purchasing a percentage of your annual gas usage during the summer months and storing it. This stored gas is then delivered to you during the winter months. That is why we call it “winter gas at summer prices.”

Realgy offers this storage program whenever we can. If your utility allows Realgy to offer a storage program, it will be listed in our Service Plan table on our website realgyenergyservices.com.

For more information on the Natural Gas Storage program please visit our blog posts: Natural Gas Storage Season is Here and So What Exactly is Natural Gas Storage

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact a Realgy Energy Services Customer Service Representative by phone (877)-300-6747, by email support@realgy.com, by fax (860)-233 -3884, or by mail 675 Oakwood Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06110.

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In response to “Natural Gas Increases are Diminishing Carbon Emissions”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the EnergyBiz article “Natural Gas Increases are Diminishing Carbon Emissions”

The use of natural gas is decreasing carbon emission which in turn is decreasing the contribution of the US to global warming.

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in early 2012 lowest since 1992 – courtesy of EIA

Since 2007 it’s over a 10% decrease. The abundance of natural gas is decreasing the price the US pays and is reducing the impact of our emissions. This trend will continue.

Although all fuels contribute, natural gas being the cleanest fossil fuel contributes the least.

Check out the EnergyBiz article: “Natural Gas Increases are Diminishing Carbon Emissions”

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In Response to “Natural Gas a Raging Bull in Its Battle With Coal”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the CNBC article “Natural Gas a Raging Bull in Its Battle With Coal”

The thinking has always been that the US will lead in coal use as we have the largest supply in the world. In our history, coal has contributed no less than 50% of our total electrical energy needs.

Today with the technology of “fracking” the US has discovered an abundance of recoverable natural gas. So much so that US natural gas prices are nearly $2.00 less than the average world price for natural gas (this is a huge economic advantage when you consider our cost for natural gas is about $3.00).

So abundant natural gas drives the cost lower, and so with the lower cost and long term supply natural gas takes market shares from its closest rival; coal. The benefits of this economic decision have environmental benefits.

All sounds great right?

Diversity in our generation supply (a mix of natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, wave, etc) makes our electric supply gird stronger and more competitive. Consider if we had discovered this natural gas field and had not developed the technology to generate electricity from it more efficiently.

Nothing last forever; while 100 year supply sounds great. Its only one lifetime! This is where US Energy Policy has to step forward. The US should continue to invest in new technology that will not let us deplete the natural gas richness of this country and leave our children more dependent on electric energy without developing a replacement.

Check out the CNBC article: “Natural Gas a Raging Bull in Its Battle With Coal”

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In Response to “Frenemies—Why Solar and Natural Gas Will Be Central to US Energy Policy”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the Green Tech article “Frenemies—Why Solar and Natural Gas Will Be Central to US Energy Policy”

The article provides a good sense of history and assessment of our demand for electricity. This article is clear that natural gas can and is used for the production of peaking electricity (electricity used during 9Am-5PM) which is exactly the time when solar energy is delivering its energy. So on that point they could appear competitive but as was pointed out  in the article, it is a false choice on several levels.

The deployment of investment in solar verse natural gas generators is a question of size; how much is needed and for what purpose. Natural gas will dominate when energy demand is critical and very large (urban areas, major manufacturing centers, etc.). Whereas solar can and should take its place where surface area for its installation (solar takes up a lot of space compared to any other electric generating technology) is available.

Realgy Energy Services has invested in building solar projects on the roof of buildings in Illinois. These customers use more than the solar panels can generate (during most days) and the additional electricity is purchased from gas and coal fired power plants. The solar projects were supported with tax incentives that made the investment possible. The solar panels have a 20-25 year operating life with near zero operating costs; no other generating technology can match this (wind does come close but it has higher operating costs). These projects demonstrate how solar energy and all the grid supported generators work together.

Technology will advance and with it the costs of generating electricity will decrease. All energy options should be evaluated and used so as to create diversity of technology, fuels and operations so that the electricity gird is robust and not dependent on a single energy source (remember the 1970’s oil shock) or technology risk. I hear often of the need for a US Energy Policy I think we have it; look at how the US Government supports industry through tax policy and you will see our Energy Policy (heavily favors oil and natural gas).

A real success; consider that is the span of the last 20 years wind energy went from being a tax incentivized technology that was not “financeable” to what is now considered standard technology and capable of investment grade financing. Solar energy will follow the pattern that wind energy and the diversification of the US energy market (along with environmental, jobs, etc.) will benefit.

Green Tech, “Frenemies—Why Solar and Natural Gas Will Be Central to US Energy Policy”

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4 Reasons why Natural Gas is So Cheap

1. Markets are Local

Natural gas from American wells is transported through pipelines on land across the US. Unlike oil which must be shipped in from overseas

2. Mild Winters

The mild winter of 2011 resulted in less demand for natural gas to heat homes, leaving suppliers with too much natural gas still in storage.

3. Fracking

Fracking has greatly increased the supplies of natural gas in America.

 

4. Lack of Consumer Demand

Only 19% of natural gas consumption in America is used by end consumers, 31% is used to create electricity in power plants and 28% is used in industrial settings.

 

Read the whole story at Investopedia

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In response to “Fracking is Misunderstood”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to the Forbes article “Fracking Is Misunderstood, It’s The Key To Energy Self-Sufficiency”

This article articulates that the US should embrace fracking on the basis that it can lead to energy independence.  Given the free-trade mantra advocated for years if not decades I chuckle at the thought of independence in energy.

 So what does fracking mean to you and the US?

  • Fracking will evolve as a technique for extracting natural gas.
  • Its impact on the US cannot be understated; this is like finding a Saudi Arabian natural gas field in our backyard!
  • It has the potential to keep the US below the world market price for natural gas for decades to come (currently by almost $5.00 / Dth)
  • Manufacturing will return to the US to take advantage of lower energy costs
  • Air pollution will decrease in the Northeast US
  • The EPA will regulate the fracking fluid and will require ground water and aquifer monitoring; this is a responsible position and will prevent restricting the fracking technique

Instead of politician trying to seek energy independence I would like to see them embrace natural gas and encourage its use as a transportation fuel. This will reducing oil imports of which 60% is used as transportation fuel.

Forbes, “Fracking is Misunderstood, It’s the Key to Energy Self-Sufficiency”

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Homes with Natural Gas appliances save approximatly $518 annually

According to The American Gas Association households that have natural gas appliances, such as cooking ranges, clothes driers and heaters save about $518 compared to homes that use electric appliances.

Benefits of using natural gas for key appliances includes:

Lower energy bills

Decrease in greenhouse emissions and pollutants (up to 37% less emissions compared to electric appliances)

Safety and Reliability

“The direct use of natural gas provides three times more useful energy to consumers than electricity,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA.

To read more about the benefits and savings of natural gas visit the American Gas Association website

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In Response to “IBM’s Battery 500 Project”

Written by Michael Vrtis President of Realgy Energy Services in response to “IBM’s Battery 500 project”

The known amount of natural gas in the US has increased over the last 5 years to the point that it now represents over 20% of all the US’s energy reserves (remember some call the US the Saudi Arabia of coal). The natural gas recoverable by the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a game changer for the US.

Map of Shale Gas in the US courtesy of US EIA (July 2011)

There is discussion among business leaders (not politicians) that the conversion to natural gas vehicles and investment in natural gas distribution could reduce oil imports over 60% within 5 years! This is not a political aspiration it’s business.

How has the electric energy industry responded?

Well electricity and natural gas have always been competitors through technology.  Natural gas heating applications have been constantly targeted by electric heating. Electric motors have been challenged by natural gas driven engines. Large electric driven air conditioning systems have competed with natural gas driven absorption technology.

So given that natural gas resources (from fracking) has allowed natural gas to truly challenge gasoline as a transportation fuel I am not surprised that an electric option will not be far behind!

Let’s keep competing.

Huffington Post, Tech “EV’s Holy Grail: 500 Miles on a Single Charge”

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So what exactly is Natural Gas Storage?

Natural gas as you know or may not know is a colorless, odorless gas that can be stored in a number of different ways for an indefinite period of time. Natural gas that is transported through the pipelines is not always needed right away, and is put into storage for later use. Most natural gas in the United States is stored in depleted natural gas or oil fields underground. These underground storage fields take advantage of existing wells, gathering systems and pipeline connections. Natural Aquifers, Salt caverns and abandoned mines are also used to store natural gas.

Types of Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

The demand for natural gas is normally higher in the winter than in the summer. This is mostly due to the fact that most homes and organizations use natural gas for heating in the winter. The stored natural gas delivered during the summer months normally at a lower price again due to supply and demand, is ready and available for use during the increased demand of the winter months. The natural gas in storage can also be used as insurance against natural disasters or other unforeseen accidents which may affect the production or delivery of natural gas.

Before 1992 natural gas was a regulated commodity and storage was required for the operational requirements of the pipelines to meet the needs of the utilities. In 1992 the Federal Regulatory Commission introduced Order 636 which opened up the natural gas market to deregulation. What Order 636 did was make storage available to industry participants for commercial reason. For example Realgy Energy Services Storage program which stores gas when prices are low, and withdraws it when prices are high.

Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities in the Lower 48 States

Most utilities and industry participants pocket the savings from storing gas at a lower rate and sell it at an increased rate for a profit. What makes Realgy Energy Services Storage program unique is that the savings from stored gas is always passed along to our customers.

Realgy Energy Services offers the Summer Storage Program to our customers to help offset the cost of winter natural gas usage. Under the program customers put away 20% of their historic usage into storage at the lower summer rates to be used in the winter when the price of natural gas normally increases.

If you would like more information on The Realgy Energy Services Storage Program you can contact one of our Energy Brokers at (877) 300-6747 or check out our website www.realgyenergyservices.com

Sources:

U.S Energy Information Administration The Basics of Underground Natural Gas Storage

NaturalGas.Org Storage of Natural Gas

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