You may have heard some commotion over the current energy market and how it might affect your energy rates with the coming winter. Depending on your location, the concern may not be as great, but it’s still crucial to know where you stand. In Massachusetts, it’s important to know that you have a choice and even more important to choose.
While energy consumers in other parts of the country are gearing up for potential rate increases this winter, many customers in Massachusetts will not see any increases in prices this year. This is good news for now, but it is not the time to sit back and do nothing. In a deregulated state, like Massachusetts, you can choose the company that generates the power that your business uses daily. Choosing a new energy supplier does not affect your utility provider, but it can change the price you pay and allow you to take advantage of fixed-price contracts that are less expensive than market rates. It is because of deregulation that most commercial and industrial customers will not be affected by recent price changes, but only if you have chosen to take advantage of it.
With choice comes confusion. Should you buy directly from the utility? Should you join an energy aggregation? Do you even need to make a decision? Should you hire an expert? Often, these questions are ignored or are answered for you, which is great, right? Wrong. What is right for one business may not be right for another. What is a good deal right now may not be a good deal in the Spring.
What are the options?
Massachusetts has many options for buying energy.
- Utility Rates: Staying on the utility rates is always an option. It’s important to know that this rate will fluctuate with the market, but it is still worth monitoring. As a utility rate customer there are different prices charged depending on the rate class you are being billed by the utility. In a deregulated state, whether you stay with the utility as your energy supplier or not, the utility company will continue to deliver the energy you use.
- Municipal Aggregations: Many towns across Massachusetts have municipal aggregations, which purchase electricity in bulk from a competitive supplier on behalf of residents and businesses within the community. Often, these municipal aggregations include a higher percentage of green energy than mandated by the state which results in higher prices. These programs are run by the city and are voluntary but are opt-out, meaning that if you do not opt-out, customers are automatically enrolled in the aggregation, but may leave at any time after that. If you would prefer a larger percentage of green energy, you must opt into that type of energy program. It is importnat to understand what your choices may be even if you are part of a municipal aggregation.
- Energy Aggregations, like Boston Buying Power: Like municipal aggregations, these energy aggregations purchase energy (electricity and/or natural gas) in bulk from a network of competitive suppliers, however these programs are opt-in, meaning you choose to enter your business account into a contract for a length of time. Boston Buying Power, a program run by Albireo Energy and endorsed by the City of Boston, is an example of an energy aggregation specifcally for businesses in Boston, MA. The benefit of Boston Buying Power is that it is run by energy experts (not the city) and includes additional services provided by Albireo Energy.
- Energy Advisors/Experts, like Albireo Energy: This option offers the most flexibility and allows your business to be active in the conversation. Energy experts are helpful for both larger corporations and small businesses and offer advice and guidance while monitoring markets and evaluating opportunities regularly. This means your supply contract will be fulfilled in various ways and selected based on your business needs.
How do I choose?
For many businesses, energy is a top-five expense, yet management of energy spend is often overlooked. Many businesses will just rely on what is automatically set up with their utilities, but when the choice is available, it’s important to take the time to choose and be proactive. If you’re unsure of which option is best, then hiring an energy expert is a great way to get started. When you hire an energy expert, they will work with you to evaluate the options so that you are making decisions based on what makes sense for your business. It may mean switching back and forth between the options laid out above, and that is fine. When working with energy experts, like those at Albireo Energy, they will review all your locations (even if across different states) and monitor the markets regularly. When the markets are more attractive, they will price your accounts as necessary, getting you the best deal available for either short or long-term strategies. Another benefit of working with an energy expert is that they will review your energy goals and advise on additional needs, like renewable energy, emissions reduction, and benchmarketing compliance. For instance, Boston’s updated Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) has been modified to ratchet down, requiring more buildings to submit benchmarketing data to the city and, in addition, will require reduced emissions compliance, which can be achieved through buying renewable energy. Albireo Energy has a dedicated renewable energy team familiar with many green options and the ability to complete benchmarking on behalf of their customers.
When do I choose?
Now. The energy markets are up right now, and prices have increased. If you have not taken advantage of deregulation or let your contracts lapse, you may see a significant increase this year. If you have not locked in to a contract to if you want to learn more about this potential increase, give an energy expert a call today. Albiero Energy’s experts have over 25 years of experience and will make a determination on what is best for you and your business needs.
Let Albireo Energy helps you better manage your utility spend so you aren’t caught off guard by high utility prices like we are seeing today. Call our team directly at 855-521-8780 or email [email protected].