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Make A Flu Shot Your Halloween Tradition

FLUSHOT-4×3

For everything there is a season…

Halloween, in addition to costumes and candy should include a flu shot.

As the following article explains, it will maximize its effectiveness just as flu season peaks… being unprotected at peak flu season; now that’s scary!

Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include Guaranteed SavingsTM, ManagedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM Index, Fixed and PriceAssuranceTM.

Realgy owns and operates 7 solar plants in Illinois and is looking to invest in additional locations.

Additional Information:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/make-a-flu-shot-your-halloween-tradition/

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How To Stop Telemarketing Calls

Image result for telephone

Your phone rings and it’s a number you don’t recognize. Do you answer it or let it go to voicemail? For those that are plagued by telemarketing calls, there are ways to cut down the constant influx of unsolicited ringing. Make sure to sign up for the National Do Not Call (DNC) registry at https://www.donotcall.gov/. It can take some time for this list to update and you might receive calls during that period. If you happen to answer one of those unwanted calls, ask to be put on their business DNC list and that company must comply. You can report illegal activity in the instance that you believe the DNC registry has been violated.

Check out the links below for more information on your state’s Utility Regulations:
Illinois Commerce Commission • www.icc.illinois.gov
Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission • www.in.gov/iurc
Michigan Public Service Commission • www.michigan.gov/mpsc
Ohio Public Utilities Commission • https://www.puco.ohio.gov/

Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include Guaranteed SavingsTM, ManagedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM Index, Fixed and PriceAssuranceTM.

Realgy owns and operates 6 solar plants in Illinois and is looking to invest in additional locations.

Additional Information:
https://www.theenergy.coop/electricity/how-stop-calls-electricity-marketers

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Weekly Basis Report

Here is the weekly basis report which is representing the future price change when trading natural gas, the quoted price is the difference between the Henry Hub price and a specific location’s price – called the basis price. A basis position is one that has exposure to two different locations: the Henry Hub and separate location’s price.

Here are some basic understanding on how to measure natural gas:

BTU is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a pint of water (which weighs exactly 16 ounces) by one degree Fahrenheit.

Since BTUs are measurements of energy consumption, they can be converted directly to kilowatt-hours (3412 BTUs = 1 kWh) or joules (1 BTU = 1,055.06 joules).

MBTU stands for one million BTUs, which can also be expressed as one decatherm (10 therms). MBTU is occasionally used as a standard unit of measurement for natural gas, and provides a convenient basis for comparing the energy content of various grades of natural gas and other fuels.

One cubic foot of natural gas produces approximately 1,000 BTUs, so 1,000 cu.ft. of gas are comparable to 1 MBTU.

MBTU is occasionally expressed as MMBTU, which is intended to represent a thousand thousand BTUs

weekly basis 09 09

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Communications take effort, does yours?

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6 Common Communication Mistakes that You May be Making   by Ann Meacham

Communication can make or break our world. Bad communication leads to broken relationships: with the people who work for you, with you, your clients or customers, your family, your at-large community.

6 Common Communication Mistakes that you might be making:

1.  Not using “we” language.

Newsflash: Relationships are not a competition. Or at least they shouldn’t be. When you start to think in terms of “me” and “you”, it’s time re-frame the conversation and think of yourselves as a team. Work to solve a problem, not to be victorious.

 2.  Not giving eye contact.

When people are not looking at you when you talk, how does that make you feel? Not good. Right? So try living by the golden rule and give other people the same courtesy that you want to be given.

  3.  Interrupting.

What does it say to someone when you interrupt them? It says, “What I have to say is more important than what you have to say.” This can be a result of excitement or a desire for power. Either way, it still says, “I’m more important than you.”

 4.  Making assumptions before you hear the whole message.

You have probably had the thought, “Oh I don’t even have to hear the rest of this – I already know what they’re going to say!” Well, maybe you do, and maybe you don’t. Don’t do that. We don’t like when people make assumptions about what we are saying, so don’t do that to other people either.

 5.  Not asking probing questions of other people.

Saying things like, “Tell me more about that”  or “So how did that make you feel?” lets the other person know that you care about them enough to ask for more information. That’s called a probing question. Ask people to elaborate. It makes them feel good and shows that you’re interested. (Always open-ended questions.  Never ask “why.”

 6.  Needing to “win” an argument.

I repeat… Relationships are not a competition. Admitting that you’re wrong is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of maturity. No one is right all of the time. Don’t think you have to “win.” Acknowledging your mistakes will not give away your power. It shows that you are the better person because you can be honest.

Being a good communicator takes effort. It’s like being a good athlete – you have to practice if you want to be good at your craft!

Realgy Energy Services is a registered Retail Energy Marketer in the states of Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. We offer Service Plans that will provide electric and natural gas at wholesale pricing direct to customers without any utility markup. Our Service Plans work with the local utility to provide seamless service and annual energy savings. Service Plans include; Guaranteed SavingsTM, MangedPriceTM, ManagedGreenTM and Index, Fixed pricing.

Additional information: www.realgyenergyservices.com

Supporting Article: http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2015/08/11/charged-dte-misses-point-choice-works/

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Chicago sending city households back to ComEd

Crain’s recently reported that after more than 1 year of charging customers MORE than COMED and the City will send them back to the utility (AFTER the summer)!

http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150421/NEWS11/150429969

No one likes an “I told you so”…..so I won’t say it.

 

One year ago: I posted: Chicago electric bills to rise up to 18% in June

http://realgyenergyservices.com/chicago-electric-bills-rise-18-june/ which included the following:

The idea is that “aggregation” of the residents will provide the marketer the ability to deliver a lower price. If that were the case, no one could beat the utility because the question is who would be a bigger aggregator than a utility? The utility AGGREGATES everyone in the state. Yet, Realgy beats ComEd and Ameren consistently. So why can’t municipalities come in lower?

The difference is cost of service and overhead.

Municipalities require energy marketers to deliver savings compared to the utility, take on billing and collections, and pay the municipality a portion of the margin. The simple fact remains; the cost municipalities want to collect makes them higher than the utility.

Realgy continues to post savings compared to both COMED and Ameren.

To learn more about how Realgy Energy Services’ variety of programs that can help you save money on electricity, call 877-300-6747, or visit www.realgyenergyservices.com.

Realgy Energy Services is a registered energy marketer with a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and able to save you money on your natural gas and electricity usage anywhere in Illinois.

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Electricity Savings with Fixed Pricing

 

 

 

SETTING A FIXED RATE FOR ELECTRICITY IS A GREAT WAY TO SAVE…IF IT’S BELOW THE UTILITY’S PRICE
We all look for ways to save. Oftentimes savings opportunities exist, but we’re not aware of them, or we’re too busy to look into them further. COMED and Ameren forecast their summer rates in early Spring….that’s the time to lock in a fixed rate for the upcoming summer. Setting a fixed price for more than one season means you will probably pay more than the utility during the next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAVE AND MANAGE YOUR BUDGET
Budgeting for electricity for an entire year can be a challenge due to fluctuations in usage. Colder month prices are typically lower, as usage is less. Prices jump during the summer months as demand increases. So how do you make spending more predicable? By setting a fixed price during the highest cost season (summer) when demand is highest. During winter a variable rate allows you to save when prices decline.

WHEN TO LOCK IN A RATE
The best way to save on electricity is to think seasonally. Since demand is at its peak in the summer months, setting a fixed rate for this period will provide a level of assurance, and can help you save. With Realgy’s PriceWatchTM we will watch market prices, utilizing our proprietary trading and computer services, and alert you when a fixed rate is in line with your budget and can beat the utility.

 

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How to Get a Good Deal from an Energy Marketer

I am often asked how to get a “good deal” in choosing an energy supplier?

In the past, my answer typically began with an explanation of how “deregulation” or “customer choice” developed (which gets me glassy-eyed looks), which was followed by general advice such as: determine the quality of supplier; review the terms and conditions and then the pricing.

However, as we are having renewals with our customers reoccurring for the 4th, 5th and 6th time, I think what these customers have told me is more relevant….

In addition, during our 12+ years we seen many, many processes from consultants, aggregators or in request for proposals, I have consolidated these experiences into what I believe is a list of best practices;

1. Assemble a copy of all your bills (either electric or gas) including the following (this will help you eliminate or question what a marketer sends you in step 2).

a. Identify the energy cost on the bill(s).
b. Identify the delivery cost on the bill(s).
c. Add up the total energy used (either kwh for electric or Therms for natural gas) for 1-12 months, pairing each month with the energy cost (the delivery cost will not change).

2. Contact marketers and ask them for a proposal for service.

a. A list is available at: http://realgyenergyservices.com/customer-services/web-links/ under each utility.
b. Eliminate the ones who do not reply.
c. For ones who reply, ask for a comparison for at least the last 12 months of how their proposal price compared to the utility cost. Again, eliminate those who do not respond.
d. Look at how the marketer’s pricing and the utility pricing are presented.
IN MANY CASES marketers may be above a utility in some months; they should be able to explain why.
AVOID those that are above the utility for 12 months in a row.
AVOID those marketers whose comparison does not accurately show the utility cost.

3. With the marketers who responded and sent you their pricing comparison, ask for their terms and conditions (contract or Agreement). Read their agreements paying special attention to the following;

a. Pricing; is it defined, how long does it last, and what happens when it ends?
b. Quantity; if you’re buying a fixed price make sure it says how much gas you’re buying at the fixed price and what happens if you use more or less than that amount. If you’re buying a variable rate, it should state it’s for all your usage or “open” quality.
c. Renewal; when do you have to give notice to terminate, what happens if you don’t?
d. Additional Services: is storage included, what about changing plans (from variable to fixed), taxes, service fee, online access, answered customer service (vs. automated attendants), etc. Some additional service is worth the price, some are not.

While not an official step, there are good reasons to eliminate a marketer from consideration (in other words, absolutely avoid), such reasons include;

 a. No trade references or BBB accreditation.
b. An initial rate (fixed or variable) that lasts only 1-6 months and renews which is followed by a different (perhaps) vaguely defined price. These are known as “teaser” rates and will inevitably cost you more than the utility.
c. Language that doesn’t make sense is not clear in its intent or clearly favors the marketer.
d. A renewal date scheduled during the winter or summer. Make sure you can terminate your agreement for natural gas or electricity in April or May. This will give you the best period to switch or renew during a “low” energy usage period when pricing is more stable and you will not be under pressure to continue the agreement.

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Natural Gas price increased 27% on February 18, 2014

To keep track of the wholesale prices please enroll with Realgy’s NYMEX reports. It will send you NYMEX end-of-day reports daily.

Realgy Online Reports

Realgy is working to ensure our pricing stays as low as possible. Given we are all dealing with the coldest winter in 20 years and the highest energy prices in over 5 years.

Daily NYMEX Report 2

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Ten Wood-burning Fireplace Safety Tips

A nice wood burning fireplace will help decrease your winter heating bills and keep the house warm. But beware, heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires every year. Make sure to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once a year. And throughout the winter, practice these 10 fireplace safety tips from Realgy Energy Services.

Five Fireplace Safety Dos:

  1. Use only seasoned hardwoods such as maple, oak, ash, and birch, which will burn hot and long. Green and soft woods produce more creosote.
  2. Check for creosote build ups. Creosote is a flammable byproduct that can build up in the chimney if wood is not burning completely.
  3. When building a fire, place the logs at the back of the fireplace on a metal grate.
  4. Install Smoke Detectors on every floor and keep a charged fire extinguisher on hand.
  5. The area around the hearth should be clear of decorations and debris.

fire place

Five Fireplace Safety Don’ts

  1. Do not use flammable liquids to start the fire; instead use kindling, or small dry twigs.
  2. Do not build the fire too big. A smaller fire will generate less smoke and creosote buildup. An overly large or hot fire could end up cracking the chimney.
  3. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace.
  4. Never leave a fire unattended. Always extinguish the fire before leaving the house or going to bed.
  5. Never empty ash directly into a trash can. Always allow ash to cool completely before disposal.

 

Sources:

U.S. Fire Administration, “Fireplace and home fire safety

DIY network, “10 tips for maintaining a wood-burning fireplace

 

 

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