And now the lawsuits over winter’s Polar Vortex 2014 begin. Much like this winter (coldest in 22 years), this is a unique circumstance and would be record-setting.
PJM—the regional authority that calls on power generators to meet expected and actual electric (power) demand (PJM could represent any utility that was affected).
Duke—owns generation plants (this could be any energy marketer serving customers).
FERC—the federal government overseeing wholesale interstate markets (this of as the referee).
Like all power suppliers when the utility (in this case PJM) called for more power to meet the record demand for electricity (natural gas) the generators had to respond. Duke went out and bought natural gas to generate the electricity but didn’t get paid enough from the electricity (or reselling the natural gas) to cover its cost (plus profit). Therefore, it wants to recover the cost from PJM (think all of us).
Duke is not unique. Every utility did this to every supplier during this winter. Whether it was gas or electric, it worked the same. The utility called for more and the marketers had to respond.
The idea that we (Realgy) could go back to one of the utilities that requested more gas/electricity such as NICOR, Citizens, COMED, Consumers, etc. and say that you asked us to bring more but we didn’t get paid enough so please make up the difference—well it’s laughable. However, Duke thinks it’s not!
Realgy Energy Services is an energy marketer of natural gas and electricity in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. We provide direct service without a utility mark-up behind 12 utilities. To learn how much we can save you and the benefits of Customer Choice please see www.realgyenergyservices.com.
Read the whole ROT Insider article, “PJM Backs Duke’s $9.8M ‘Stranded Gas’ Claim”
Illinois has current legislation on renewal energy that sets aside a percentage of supply; that is, a percentage each year of the total energy used in Illinois must come from renewable (wind or solar) generation sources. However, the spirit of this program relies on the utilities passing through the costs of acquiring the renewable energy to their customers. Customer Choice, municipal aggregation, and the IPA itself changed how the utility acquires power for their customers (which is dwindling due to choice and municipalization). Therefore the current renewable legislation’s intent has been blunted.
This effort seems to be another bite of the same apple. Renewable energy should be supported by open and competitive process and we are heartened to see that this legislation will be overseen by the ICC. Past legislative efforts have bypassed the ICC’s oversight and expertise in favor of the utilities (real-time metering) or municipalization (allowing towns to aggregate energy purchases).
Realgy owns 120 kw of solar energy in Illinois and invests annually in the creation of new renewable solar projects.
Read the whole Crain’s Chicago Business article, “Here comes the sun: Rooftop solar panels get jump-start in Illinois”.
Electric prices need not be confusing. The primary reason we have regulated utilities is for efficiency, no duplicate wires or pipes. Offering electric choice does not change this. Electric prices have always been controlled by rather confusing processes called tariffs (akin to IRS taxes) because it was, and is a regulated monopoly. THE REGULATORS are in charge of the process; utilities must prove they spent money according to the tariff so they can get it repaid. Customer choice does not change this relationship between regulators and the utility; it just adds a new player—the retail energy supplier.
Having energy choice need not confuse customers. The regulators need to continue balancing customer choice against their desire to have a regulated market without innovation or price volatility.
Realgy believes in open competition and easily understood explanations of energy offers. Realgy offers energy prices that show a savings compared to the utility, offers fixed pricing during seasons, and offers to beat or match any competitor’s offer.
Check out our current prices that will show you our price as compared to the utility for every market we serve.
Read the whole Chicago Business article, “Emanuel’s power pact could zap Chicago homeowners”.
Manufacturing companies once practiced this technique of promising one product while delivering something cheaper. In this day and age, this kind of activity is a crime in any business.
This may act as a wake-up call, a “coming of age” issue for the energy industry. Previously there were few energy suppliers and most trusted their own employees to be transparent and honest. The proliferation of energy suppliers combined with the use of third parties to sell has the unfortunate effect of increasing the chances of such dishonesty and greed.
I am glad to see that it was dealt with in a severe manner because unscrupulous practices will continue if not caught and prosecuted.
Energy supply services are unique amongst most other businesses in that regulatory protection as well as consumer protection helps guard against abuses.
Read the full Retail Energy article, “SHOCK: Broker Agent’s Electricity Rate ‘Bait And Switch’ Leads to Prison Sentence”
The Citizens Utility Board is an excellent watchdog organization. Their warnings and advice could not be more timely and on target.
Saving energy plays a significant role in saving the environment. When you use energy, you should know what it costs and that you are treated fairly.
There are two components to an energy agreement, price and terms. As the saying goes, what looks like a good deal is a good deal UNTIL it isn’t. This winter has certainly exposed the insider terms of energy marketers’ agreements and how cost recovery works for the utility.
In some cases, the energy suppliers provide “teaser rates” that are below utility rates but only last from 2-12 months. You are sure you will stay on top of it but time passes quickly and the next time you look at your bill, you could be paying two to three times the utility price. These “teaser rates” have a reset price that is purposely vague or that you cannot discover from any public information. Then when you want to cancel, it becomes a voice, logic, and perseverance test from the automated answering system.
As this year’s winter showed everyone that terms are important, a low rate is fine IF EVERYTHING is perfect, but that’s not the world we are in.
Realgy is proud of our price, our terms, and our customer service team. We know we offer tremendous value compared not only to the utility, but also to any other energy supplier in Illinois. In fact we put it in writing in our agreement; we call it ServiceMatchTM. It’s simple; we guarantee to beat or match any comparable proposal for your service.
Illinois is implementing real-time metering and municipalization so the complexity in energy purchases is built in. However, in our role as energy experts, Realgy offers energy service that delivers savings in an easily understandable manner as compared to the COMED or Ameren. Call our sales team today, and you’ll understand the difference.
Read the full Chicago Tribune article, “Watchdog warns of ‘rip-offs’ in electricity market”
Two recent articles seem to indicate an important trend; first, the Supreme Court rules that coal pollution can be regulated and second, the White House publishes a report on the negative environmental effects that fossil fuel combustion is having on our nation and the world.
Only global leaders have the clout to tackle this issue effectively. Everyone desires the jobs associated with fossil fuel production as well as the comfort provided by fossil fuel usage; however, governments are now beginning to understand that the costs to the environment, people’s lives, and the planet are being traded off for these comforts.
As in any widespread change, the adjustment process will start small; consumers will be urged to conserve where possible and attempt to use less. Everyday consumers should make their wishes known and the leaders will listen and follow if they know what is good for them.
Realgy invests in renewable energy (over 100KW of installed solar energy) and provides natural gas, the cleanest burning fossil fuel.
Read the full NY Times article, “Climate Change Study Finds U.S Is Already Widely Affected”
So for the last 100 years humans have had two types of light sources: natural daylight and incandescent light from the ubiquitous light bulb (there has been only one type).
Today we still have natural daylight and we still have the light bulb, but we now have choices about the light bulb!
Bowing to efficiency, the US Government (along with other governments) has banned the sale of the original incandescent light bulb technology.
In its place are technologies that provide light and do so much more efficiently but the light “quality” is a little different (we will all learn about the light spectrum). Some people are complaining about this change in “quality.” We will get over it in due course.
Replacing something so commonplace will, of course, be met with resistance; consider how energy choice was first received! But this innovation and the accompanying options will be exciting and beneficial.
This Times article highlights two new light bulbs! Think about that; after 100 years of only one kind of light bulb, we will now have some five different competing technologies all to do the same thing…only better.
Long live change.
Realgy Energy Service is bringing change; we recently opened up electric choice to MidAmerican Electric in Illinois. We are the first energy marketer authorized to serve this utility market.
Read the whole NY Times article “New Ideas in Lighting Get Closer to Market”
As the late Harry Caray, iconic baseball announcer, might say, “Holy Cow!”.
Now we see that Exelon, the corporate holding company which owns the local utilities of Baltimore Gas & Electric and COMED, seeks ownership of the utilities around Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. This would more than double the customers they serve in COMED.
Utility acquisitions that are not in relatively close proximity to their current customers would appear to offer no benefits to either Exelon or Pepco customers.
This acquisition will be closely scrutinized and I am sure will it will be opposed by several groups.
Exelon previous proposed the acquisition of a large utility group in New Jersey from which they ultimately withdrew due to opposing parties.
I look forward to hearing the rationale of how each local utility (BG&E, COMED, Pepco, and Atlantic City Electric) justifies the way each utilities’ customers are better served by having a larger corporation in charge of it.
Read the whole Crain’s Chicago Business Article “$6.8 billion Pepco buy makes Exelon an East Coast force”
Michigan Cost Recovery is approved; June billing is approved up to $5.8092 /Mcf
In a contested case, Consumers Energy Company (Consumers) has been approved to recover the costs associated with this winter’s extreme cold including the effect of the polar vortex.
Starting in June 2014, Consumers, will be allowed to recover their winter costs, which exceed $185,000,000.
The cost recovery was contested because Michigan utilities are, under normal conditions, required to submit their costs only once a year each December to cover their costs for the coming year. However, the winter costs accelerated sharply in January, February, and March 2014. Instead of sitting on these costs and paying interest, Consumers requested the Michigan Public Utility Commission (MPSC) to approve the recovery of these costs due to the extraordinary amount that would have to be carried for 12 months. Consumers, like all Michigan utilities, borrows money and repays it, thereby paying interest until the loan is repaid.
With this decision settled, it is expected that the other Michigan utilities will submit their winter costs and begin recovering them rather than waiting until next year and thereby increasing the cost to be recovered.
The Commission decision in whole is below;
The largest public bankruptcy, the largest private equity buyout funny how those two usually don’t go together.
This is perhaps a tale of how “fracking” and perhaps how a viewpoint that natural gas would continue to increase above the rate of inflation; both were shortsighted.
Read the whole New York Times article, Big Texas Utility Files for Bankruptcy