Energy News

Weekly trends and insights on the Natural Gas and Electricity Markets
Yesterday, Power Management attended the 2015 IREM Vendor Showcase. IREM, known as the Institute of Real Estate Management, is a resource for property managers that serve the multi-family and commercial sectors. The organization provides educational opportunities and related resources to their members. The showcase featured people from the Western New York Chapter 58, which covers 23 counties in upstate NY from Syracuse on West. Power Management had the opportunity to visit with some current clients, and also saw a lot of new faces! We met a lot of great individuals,...
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As an extension of the BuildSmart NY initiative, the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers are among those competing for $20 million in funding for new energy projects. Over the past year, each of these cities in conjunction with the state, have developed individual energy plans to address ways in which they will enhance the overall quality of life through a cleaner environment. In managing these efforts they will reduce energy consumption, strengthen their cities energy infrastructure, and drive investment in clean energy and economic development. The New York Power Authority will...
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As we mentioned in this week’s Energy News Flash the price of electricity on the Day Ahead Market has risen greatly as we continue to experience the coldest temperatures of the season thus far.   Last week we saw Day Ahead electricity prices in the Northeast rise above $200 MWH.  We did not see January prices rise as high as last year; however, February looks like it may be a different story as more bitter cold temperatures are forecasted and the Day Ahead Markets are awake and reacting.   For those of you on...
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Lights ON For the Super Bowl WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 04, 2015 | JOANNE SINOPOLI Whether viewing from home, or being fortunate enough to attend the game in person, you may have noticed a difference while viewing this year’s Super Bowl than in years past. And no – we’re not talking about that crazy ending! As the most-watched show in U.S. television history, Super Bowl XLIX displayed an energy technology which was a first for the big game! Although LED lights have been gaining popularity in residential and commercial spaces, it wasn’t until recently that sports...
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Twenty-eight counties in New York State lie above the Marcellus Shale. Unlike our neighbors to the south, New York has yet to directly benefit from hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. The state of NY has a moratorium on fracking which suspends natural gas drilling in the state until safety and environmental impacts are more thoroughly understood.  Likewise, several towns used zoning ordinances to ban fracking as well. A debate which has been the topic of public controversy has once again surfaced here in NY after a much awaited decision last...
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In this week’s Power News Energy Update, we mentioned that the price of natural gas continues to remain soft.  Seeing that we are in the middle of the heating season it might come as a surprise, but now is an ideal time to be looking at locking in future gas and electric pricing.  Prices are almost as low as we’ve seen in the past five years and the storage levels have made a remarkable recovery from last year, coming in 2.5% below the five year average.  Even if your contracts do not...
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On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan, a plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. The EPA aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 26% below 2005 emission levels by 2020 and 30% by 2030. Following the release of this plan, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation ((NERC) a regulatory authority that performs evaluations of proposals that may threaten the power reliability in North America) conducted their own study of the affects it may have on the bulk power system. Specifically citing...
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With winter once again upon us, many business and homeowners in the Northeast are wondering if we will see the elevated prices for natural gas and electric as we did last year. Venture partners Cabot Oil and Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas, Williams Partners, and WGL Holdings, Inc. have been diligently working to gain approval for a new pipeline to help address this pressing issue. Their proposed Constitution Pipeline aims to increase supply reliability and price stabilization for customers. The pipeline will be designed to connect New York’s natural gas supply with the...
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Last month, PJM released a new online learning portal. As a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that “coordinates the movement of electricity through all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia”, this user friendly website is designed to be beneficial to both customers and industry professionals looking for information about  PJM Interconnection. The new center, which can be found at http://learn.pjm.com, covers a variety of topics including: the basics of electricity, innovations in energy, and...
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As the temperature drops across the nation and cities brace for early winter blizzards, energy pricing in New England skyrockets!   Massachusetts consumers were anticipating the price hikes but it’s a tough pill to swallow as other energy costs are dropping throughout the country. National Grid, the largest utility in Massachusetts, recently received approval for a 37 percent increase in electric bills beginning this month, which will affect 1.3 million consumers.    Another Massachusetts utility, NSTAR, asked for a 29 percent increase, starting in January 2015.  According to the utility, this will increase...
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For energy customers in Ohio, the importance of deregulation is again being challenged. Claiming they are unable to compete in the deregulated market, some Ohio utilities including AEP and FirstEnergy are asking for assistance from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO). Their concern is directed at the coal power plants and they are requesting the PUCO to allow them into a power purchase agreement (PPA) to guarantee pricing to keep them running. If approved, consumers will not benefit from a truly competitive market. Consumers hooked up to the grid will have...
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Renewable energy sources have been getting a lot of attention and over the past few months we have highlighted a few different topics; this week we are focusing on wind power. Generating energy by the wind is not a new concept. In short, wind energy works with the combination of lift and drag causing the rotor to spin like a propeller, and electricity is produced by the turning shaft spinning a generator. However, it is only in recent years that wind energy has become more popular and thus a noticeable part of...
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Our last blog illustrated the significance of capacity charges on the overall cost of a customer’s energy supply. When rendering figures for a customer’s capacity charge, the utility calculates what is called the Peak Load Contribution (or PLC), which is a number used to show how much generation could be needed for the system’s peak load. A customer’s average peak demand is determined by the five highest-demand days of the year and although these days cannot be predicted from year to year, they usually occur on weekday afternoons during the...
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Capacity in the electric market refers to the capability to produce energy to meet your “peak” electrical use during a specific period.  There must be enough power to maintain grid reliability during periods of peak demand, regardless of when it occurs.   If there is an insufficient amount of electricity generated to meet the demand, we lose power. In order to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to meet the anticipated demand, every utility customer pays a capacity charge.   In prior years, the capacity charge was insignificant and did...
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A common question we get asked as energy consultants is, “When is the best time of year to shop for gas or electric rates?” The short answer is there is no “best time”, but as experts in energy management there are certain factors we use to best advise our clients who are looking into new plans or considering to lock in their current rates.  Factors such as the weather and economy play a role in stabilizing or disrupting the prices of gas and electric rates.  Even during spring and fall...
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There are different types of supply pricing options for electric customers, and many times each of the various suppliers have their own unique pricing systems.  However, there are common factors in every electric price.  In order to fully comprehend electric pricing, whether it be from a utility or an alternate supplier, you need to understand the basic components that make up a price. Your electric utility bill is separated into two main categories – delivery charges and supply charges.  Delivery charges always come from the utility and are their charge...
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Almost immediately after releasing last week’s blog regarding slamming, we were made aware of a recent scam affecting customers that are served by Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. (RG&E) and New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (NYSEG). Customers are being warned about scammers claiming they represent the utility and who say they are calling about billing matters. The latest scam involves mention of a “Green Dot MoneyPak Card” that the caller tries to get the client to purchase. Customers are being threatened that their utilities will be shut off...
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In the energy industry, slamming is a term used when an individual gathers enough information about a customer to enroll them with a supplier without consent and most times, little or no knowledge by the customer of this happening. Many times customers don’t find out they’ve been slammed until they get a bill from a different supplier (than the one they’ve designated to receive electricity or natural gas from) or they see increases in their bills where they don’t belong (if they were on a fixed arrangement). Slams happen a...
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FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., announced Tuesday that it will be exiting the electric retail market for mass market and mid-sized commercial and industrial customers.  FES will serve their existing customers through their contract terms but will eliminate any selling or renewal efforts to mid-C&I and mass markets.  “[W]e intend to exit the medium commercial and industrial or MCI and mass market retail channels as existing contracts expire, but we will continue to serve strategic large industrial and commercial customers as well as our governmental aggregation and...
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Among other places, you may notice the mention of the natural gas injection or inventory “storage reports” if you receive our emails, or read the Energy News Flashes or Power New Energy Updates. Each Thursday (except for weeks that include Federal holidays) around 10:30 a.m. the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report is posted on the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) website. The report provides gas inventory information of working gas volumes held in underground storage facilities at the national and regional levels. According to the EIA, there are about 120 entities that currently...
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What is the Block Bidding Program? The Block Bidding Program is a sealed-bid auction that was established by NYSEG and RG&E utilities to help New York State reach their goal of reducing energy by 15% by 2015.  NYSEG and RG&E purchase “blocks” of electricity savings – reduced electric usage – from commercial, industrial and municipal customers or from third-party aggregators working with these customers.   The purpose of the program is to create ways for customers to achieve energy savings and allow third-party aggregators to participate in offering energy-saving solutions....
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What Is ReCharge New York (“RNY”)? Statewide economic development power program for qualified businesses and not-for-profit corporations. The program is designed to retain and create jobs through allocations of low-cost power. This replaces the Power For Jobs Program. Who Is Eligible? Many businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible however, there are certain entities that do not qualify. Non-eligible entities include all retail businesses, sports venues, gaming or entertainment-related establishments, and places of overnight accommodation. How Much Power is Available? At the start of the program there were 910 Megawatts (MW) available, with 50%...
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