Energy Professional Brings Meaning to the Madness of Power Pricing

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Golf in 2010?

I do not know about you, but I will dearly miss Tiger Woods!

2009 has been a year of unbelievable events. Tiger coming back from knee surgery and playing at an exceptional level. Phil finally finding his game at the end of the year after his wife and mother both having breast cancer. Then, horror at the events of Tiger over Thanksgiving when his world blew up in his face, due to his own human mistakes. How unfortunate for Tiger and his family.

I can understand that he is human and accept that he has been put on a throne of godly like admiration for the athlete he is and the persona that we have seen these past 10+ years. I have loved watching him ascend into the heavens with his golf skills and have admired his ability to help children throughout the whole world with his charities. I truly believed that he was infallible in all areas of his life. I also thought his dad was probably one of the best dad's in the world for guiding him through golf and life.

We can all speculate on how or why, and we will never really know. It is not ours to know, only Tiger and his family. I pray that Tiger and his family find forgiveness and build a stronger relationship going forward. In the event that does not take place, I pray that they find peace with each other and heal quickly.

It would also be nice to see our entertainers and news media give the guy a break.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

2010 without Tiger on the PGA Tour will mean less time in front of the TV and more time spent on the course. Maybe my game will actually improve this year.

Power Corrupts!?

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Lord Acton, an English Historian (1834 to 1902)said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Bringing Meaning To Madness

I really had to think about that and the only consolation I could come up with is that most really great men that I have come in contact with have never aspired to be political leaders.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Power, The Freedom to Choose!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey (an American born in 1932) a professor and best-selling author said, "Between stimulus and response is our greatest power - the freedom to choose."

Bringing Meaning To Madness

America is the greatest country in this world where we as individuals have the right to choose how we want to live. That freedom came at a high price paid for by our forefathers. Exercise your freedom and choose wisely or that freedom may disappear.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Honesty and Power!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Melish written on January 13, 1813 said, "An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."

Bringing Meaning To Madness

How we have let our elected representatives continue to hold office when there is little if any sign of honesty, integrity or true representation of the people. It is time for us, all of us, to send a message that we will no longer tolerate dishonesty and abuse of power.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Power and Control, Be Careful!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher from 600BC-531BC, said, "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Power in any form affects everything that it comes in contact with. Be sure that any power you yield is harnessed with self control to keep from damaging those around you.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make Haste While the Power is ON!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Epictetus, Greek Philosopher from 50-120, said, "Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

Bringing Meaning To Madness

As it is with all power, it has a life of it's own. Use it wisely for it will not last long.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Power Reveals Character!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, said, "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power..”

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Give someone authority over others and their true colors come out.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Power! Positive or Negative...Be Careful with it!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Elizabeth Dole served as North Carolina's first female Senator, 2003 to 2009. She said, "We have learned that power is a positive force if it is used for positive purposes..”

Bringing Meaning To Madness

As we all know, power can either be a positive or negative force. When used correctly it enhances all our lives, and when used negatively it is harmful to everyone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Do the Right Thing!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, (born circa 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American abolitionist, women's suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Called "The Sage of Anacostia" and "The Lion of Anacostia", Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African American and United States history.

He was a firm believer in the equality of all people, whether black, female, Native American, or recent immigrant. He was fond of saying, "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong." He also said this about power: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Bringing Meaning To Madness

It is a shame that our current leaders in Washington as well as our corporate leaders do not have this same conviction. I do not know about you, but I always feel better doing the right thing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wisdom, Common Sense and Moral Integrity!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.
Thomas Jefferson, was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of republicanism in the United States, once said: "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be."


Bringing Meaning To Madness

Amen! I don't know about you, but I really hate it when we do not learn from our fore fathers and ignore common sense and moral integrity in our education.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Take a Stand!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

John Adams, the very first Vice President and second President of the United States of America and one of the most influential Founding Fathers of the United States once said: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."


Bringing Meaning To Madness

Wake up and pay attention to what our elected officials are shoving down our throats. Whether you agree or disagree your voice needs to be heard.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don't stay Bamboozled!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, astrochemist, author, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences once said: "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back."


Bringing Meaning To Madness

Wake up and quit paying high energy prices, there is a better alternative!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Power, how we use it matters!

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Al Gini, a professor of philosophy and business ethics at Loyola University, Chicago once said: "The term power comes from the Latin posse: to do, to be able, to change, to influence or effect. To have power is to possess the capacity to control or direct change. All forms of leadership must make use of power. The central issue of power in leadership is not Will it be used? But rather Will it be used wisely and well?"


Bringing Meaning To Madness

Where you know you have power, please remember to use it wisely.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perception

Perception is really everything you believe, whether it is actually real or not. In my earlier career where supply versus demand fundamentals did not necessarily determine the movement of the price of crude oil, refined products or natural gas, it dawned on me there must be other forces at play. One of those forces is “perception”.

Perception Outweighs Reality

It is the perception of supply and demand that creates the confidence or fear of price movement and the aggressive or passive approach of taking action (buying or selling).

Take natural gas as an example. In 1999, it was perceived there would be such a tremendous growth in demand, and that supply would not be able to meet that demand. I personally was responsible for buying a 5 year strip of natural gas for the company I worked for at that time at a price of $2.25 per MMBtu.

Within one year, that 5 year strip was over $10.00 per MMBtu. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars of actual price movement due to the perception there would be a shortage of natural gas.

Eventually the priced spiked as high as $15.78 per MMBtu in December of 2005. During that 6 year period of high prices, these increased revenues allowed producers to budget more for exploration. Because of that, supply has been able to meet and exceed demand so now natural gas prices have fallen to $2.409 per MMBtu, near the 10 year low of $1.620 per MMBtu.

With the advances in technology and the increased revenues companies are experiencing, we will probably see an increase in the fledgling natural gas liquids import market. This will probably keep the price of natural gas very low for the next 10 years.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

What does this mean to you? It means that the utility companies should be passing on these tremendous savings to you through lower energy bills.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Feed Your Mind Positive Information

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle once said: "The energy of the mind is the essence of life."

Another way of looking at this is to say that what the mind can perceive and believe, it can transform into reality. What are you feeding your mind?

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Focus on positive solutions and changes will occur.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Introducing Tara Energy

Why do I promote a fixed rate company as well as a variable rate company? Because some people just like the budgetary comfort of fixed prices rather than the flexibility of variable pricing.

Tara Energy is another exceptional Retail Energy Provider, based in Houston, that's become well established in the state of Texas. They should be on your short list of REP candidates. Give them a chance to cater to your specific needs. Before you realize it, you will become part of their family, and you'll enjoy the experience.

Tara is very competitive on commercial and residential rates. Their business plan is simple: to provide the best possible service and the best price available in an ever changing dynamic marketplace.

Features

1. If the business owner moves, sells, or closes the business, Tara will allow commercial contracts to be terminated without penalty.

2. For residential customers, they allow you to cancel without penalty in the event of a move. If you just want to change providers, there's a $250.00 cancellation fee.

3. They do not add any monthly administration or service fees to their commercial rates.

Tara’s family approach extends to Hotels and Restaurants to whom they offer exceptional flexibility and service. They're the only endorsed provider listed by the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association (THLA).

Tara also specializes in meeting the needs of community associations and their residents. The community of New Territory in Sugar Land chose Tara Energy as their provider of choice.

Want to help yourself, your neighbor and the community as a whole? Contact a Tara representative (like me!). Let’s plan a money savings program to meet your individual and community needs.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

There are a lot of choices out there. Tara is great for fixed rate plans, but do your own comparison so you can make a wise decision.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Switch Or Move In

So you are thinking about switching Retail Energy providers. Just what is a “switch”?

Switch Vs. Move In

A “switch” is a change of providers from one electricity company to another for a customer that already has electricity.

That's different from a “move-in” which is when a customer needing electricity is buying or taking over a business or starting a new business or moving into a new house.

What is the expected process time for these services to be completed?

A standard “move-in” still takes 3 to 5 business days. There are additional fees for an URGENT “move-in” which takes 24 to 48 hours (not counting weekends or holidays).

Rules and Regs

New Public Utility Commission (PUC) regulations for all residential and commercial customers govern “switch” process times. They should now be completed within a time frame of 1-7 business days (not the old 30-45 days). If a customer would like to have a faster switch, or a switch on a specific date, then they must request what is now called a “self-selected” switch date (formerly called out-of-cycle, or URGENT switch) which results in an extra, one-time charge from the local utility company (CenterPoint in the Houston area, or ONCOR in the Dallas, Ft, Worth area).

Please note that the new “switch” rules went into effect on Monday, August 17, 2009.

Caution

This is very important. If you are shopping around to find a new Retail Electricity Provider, you need to understand that “switches” are occurring faster, and therefore you need to be aware of your contractual obligations with your current Retail Electricity Provider and with your proposed new REP.

If “switched” too early, more than 14 days before end of term with current provider, you could be charged early termination penalties.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Always read your contract and get your REP to confirm it for you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Introducing Glacial Energy

Today, I want to tell you about Glacial Energy, one of the best friends a business owner can have. If you really want the absolute lowest prices on electricity where the monthly savings will allow you to withstand a 3 month spike, you should consider Glacial Energy as your Retail Energy Provider (REP). They're a financially strong and growing energy provider now servicing 15 states.

Secret To Success

1. Glacial’s success is in their simplicity. They offer variable rate plans based on the low wholesale prices (MCPE). variable rates, little overhead, simple billing, electronic transfer of funds and no cancellation fees.

2. They have little overhead.

3. They have simple billing.

4. They offers electronic transfer of funds so you help the environment by being paper-free with their email billing and paper-free with no check to write since it's debited from your checking account like a car payment.

5. They require NO cancellation fees if you want to change to another provider.

MCPE

Low wholesale prices are the Market Clearing Price of Energy. In Texas the MCPE is controlled by ERCOT which I have previously written about. These are the lowest rates most commercial users can obtain. They are subject to price movements, but they normally beat fixed price deals over a 12 month cycle.

Fixed rates may occasionally beat a variable rate, but not too often. Traditionally, the best deal comes from variable rates in the long run.

Overhead

Of Glacial’s employees, 90 % are revenue producing and the remaining 10% handle billing and customer service. Keeping overhead to a minimum and service high allows for lower prices to be passed on to you, the customer.

Simple Billing

Glacial only has one price for energy, not tiers of different prices based on usage on the bill. With Glacial, usage is broken out by address if there are multiple locations. Bills can be sent to multiple locations or to one main location, based on your request.

Electronic Transfer Of Funds

ETF helps keep Glacial’s revenues strong and contributes to their ability to keep bad debt low. That translates into lower prices for you, the customer. You receive a bill 10 days before the funds will be transferred in order for you to review your bill and give them a call if something does not seem correct. That also gives you 10 days to make sure the funds are in your account. So you don't have an embarrassing mistake.

No Cancellation Fees

Unlike all their competitors, Glacial does not lock you in to a term contract with hefty fees required to cancel if you don't like them. If you don’t like Glacial, simply give them a 30 day notice and sign up with someone else.

However, when you figure out that they're really the best deal out there, they'll welcome you back without penalty.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

If you don't want to lock yourself in for 2 or 3 years or even longer in some cases, then the flexibility of variable pricing is for you. Why not sign on with a company that let's you walk away if you think you get a better deal elsewhere?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Freedom To Choose

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Motivational speaker and author Stephen R. Covey said: "Between stimulus and response is our greatest power - the freedom to choose."

Sometimes, the difference between success and failure is a decision that sets one on a certain path. Analyze carefully. Gather information. Act accordingly.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Choose wisely.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Favorite Tax

I was reading an article by Scott Burns in the Business section of the Houston Chronicle recently. The title caught my eye because it had the word tax in it. I like to keep abreast of any news that might indicate changes afoot in the taxes we pay. Like most Americans, I think we pay too darn many from property taxes to sales taxes to income taxes.

Like Mr. Burns says in his article, I'm like everyone else. My favorite tax is one that doesn't affect me. Want to tax smokers? Bring it on. I don't smoke. I like to think I'm too smart for that since I saw my dad contribute to his death by smoking. My father-in-law too.

Taxes I'm Okay With

Want to slap a luxury tax on a yacht? Go for it. I don't plan to throw away a few million on a floating status symbol.

Want to tax imported luxury cars? Good for you. I buy American because I know enough about economics and balance of trade that it makes me feel downright virtuous to keep our economy strong by supporting the American automotive industry.

How about extremely expensive liquor? I can live with that. I'm a wine drinker mostly. Besides, I've still got a bottle of well-aged Scotch that I bought in a duty-free shop that should last me a very long time.

Let's Change

However, I know that eventually they'll run out of taxes I can live with then they'll start raising income taxes. After all, who do you think paid for all those clunkers that are being crushed if not us, taxpaying Americans?

Now's the time to make a change to a flat national sales tax. Everybody, individuals and businesses, would pay a flat percentage. They could, and should, exempt low income earners. With a small 1-2 per cent flat sales tax, the Treasury would overflow, and we'd all have much more from our hardwork than we currently get.

Think about it. You pay, let's say 1.5% of your annual salary, and Bill Gates pays 2% of his. Wow, we could balance the budget in nothing flat.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

How about it, America? Write your representatives and tell them you're in favor of a flat, across the board, national sales tax of 1.5%. That would be a win/win situation for everyone.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Faraday's Namesake Measurement

In the history of electricity, the invention of the capacitor, a device that can store a charge, began in the 18th century with German Ewald Georg von Kleist. A year later Dutch physicist Pieter van Musschenbroek invented a similar storage mechanism and named it the Leyden jar after the University of Leyden where he worked.

Daniel Gralath combined several Leyden jars in parallel, a "battery" that increased the charge storage capacity. Even Ben Franklin worked with a Leyden jar. He disproved the theory that the charge was stored in water when in fact it was stored on the glass itself. He's responsible for the term battery.

Storage media grew smaller and smaller and came to be known as condensers. Sometimes that word is still used instead of capacitor.

Since the capacitor is capable of storing an electrical charge, it therefore stores electrical energy in the resulting field. The measurement of a device's capacitance is called farad in honor of Michael Faraday. The symbol F is used to represent 1 farad, and that's the capacitance that develops a potential difference of one volt when it stores a charge of one coulomb.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

Aren't you glad you don't have to know all this in order to use electricity. Flip a switch, and the lights come on.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't Dream Small

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Goethe

What should you know about Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? First, how to pronounce his surname. It's a hard G sound, and, in German, is very similar to "Ger Tuh."

His life spanned 1749 to 1832, and he was a German writer, considered by many to be the most important German writer of all. His work influenced not just Germany but all of western civilization.

Goethe said: Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Shack

Do you shop at Radio Shack, the little store that from Fort Worth, Texas, that became a huge store? Pretty soon, you'll be calling them The Shack. Maybe you already call them that. A lot of people do.

Their marketing officer decided to "embrace the fact" that so many associates, investors, and customers dropped the Radio from the title long ago and just called them The Shack.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Change is constant. Get used to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Alert: New Phone for CenterPoint

Just thought I'd make sure you Texas residents who use CenterPoint know that they've changed their phone numbers recently. You do read your statements, don't you?

If you live in the CenterPoint service area for electricity, your Emergency Outage number, effective August 1, 2009. These are the new numbers for CenterPoint service area: 1-800-332-7143 or 713-207-2222.

Even if you don't use CenterPoint as your Retail Energy Provider (REP), they are still the transmission service company for this area, and they're responsible for the power lines, poles, etc.

Your REP, whoever that is, should provide service information to you so you'll know what to do in case of Outages and other emergencies. You may want to contact your REP to confirm your emergency service phone numbers.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

You must read your electricity bill, even the small print.

Monday, August 17, 2009

PGA Championship Upset

Today I watched History in the making on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods had never lost a major championship when leading, going into the final round. He was 14 and 0 until today.

History From Many Aspects

Today, Tiger's record was broken by Y. E. Yang, a 37-year-old South Korean.

Yang also became the first Asian to win a Major PGA Championship. The worthy challenger was the first to dethrone the mighty Tiger. Yang did it in such a poised and professional way that no one could really be upset. Except maybe Tiger at himself.

It was nice watching Yang play such great golf. Even though I am a die-hard Tiger fan, my hat is off to Yang! He went out there, stood toe to toe with Tiger, and took the game. It was a historic moment in so many ways.

I also know Tiger will bounce back and continue to win many more tournaments and a few more majors. Probably more than a few, or so I hope.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Oh, another thing. Yang, though born in South Korea, lives in Texas now. Smart guy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Electricity Exists

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Dave Barry

From newspaper columnist to novelist, American humorist Dave Barry has kept me laughing for decades.

Barry said: We believe that electricity exists, because the electric company keeps sending us bills for it, but we cannot figure out how it travels inside wires.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Choosing Between Electricity and Family

Trying to do the right thing isn’t always easy. I’d like to see our nation become self reliant, and I am sure you would too, but at what cost? Why does it seem to always come out of my middle American pocket?

Suddenly, the electricity providers are pitching that I can help the environment by locking in my residential rate at an unbelievable rate of 12.8 cents per kWh. The “unbelievable” part is that they think I don't know that's not a good deal. I represent 2 of the lowest retail electricity providers in Texas so I know what I'm talking about.

Other Unbelievable Items

Apparently, electricity utilities think we are all made out of gold. What I find unbelievable is that they keep lining their already bulging pockets with more of everyone's hard-earned money. Of course, I guess that helps them meet their quota for a big honking bonus.

What They Don't Know

How is it that one of the companies I represent can offer 8.0 cents per kWh for residential accounts right now and only lock me in for 12 months? Let’s compare. Do I pay more as in 12.8 cents per kWh to enrich a company that does not respond to anyone's needs during tough economic times? Or do I reduce my cost and pay a fair price of 8.0 cents and use that extra savings to help my family?

Bringing Meaning To Madness

What would you do? Help your family and yourself or help your electric company? I know my answer.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Derivatives Defined

In a previous post I mentioned derivative. Someone asked me what that actually meant. Aha! An idea for a blog post. So here's our lesson for today.

Energy Lesson

A derivative is a financial contract.

The value of this contract comes from another security, for instance, a stock, bond, currency, a commodity, or a market index like the S&P 500.

These are the most common types of derivatives: options, futures, and securities backed by mortgages. I've traded all kinds.

Derivatives are often used to hedge your risk. (Though you may not think you know what a Financial Hedge is, just think about the phrase "hedging your bets" and you'll have a basic understanding of why a hedge is used.)

A hedge is put on to help companies limit their financial exposure due to fluctuations in the currency exchange rate or the volatility of the fuel prices.

Derivatives, like any financial tool, can be risky if not properly understood and managed by someone with expertise. I've used them often and successfully, but many people don't have enough experience with them to use them wisely.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Like any tool, experience and knowledge is required to wield it well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Go Fly A Kite

Everyone knows about Benjamin Franklin's experiment with the kite. In June 1752, he allegedly tied a key to a wet kite string, went out in a storm, and flew his kite.

Sparks jumped from the key, down the wet string, and to his hand. That proved to our founding father, who had studied electricity in depth, that lightning was electrical in nature.

Later in 1791, Luigi Galvani published his discovery in Bioelectricity. He showed that electricity was the medium nerve cells used to "pass" signals to muscles.

A few years later, Alessandro Volta made a battery by alternating layers of zinc and copper. This voltaic pile gave scientists a more reliable source of electrical energy than the electrostatic machines that had been used in the past.

You can thank Hans Christian Orsted and Andre-Marie Ampere for recognizing the unity of electric and magnetic phenomena called electromagnetism. That was in 1819-1820. Then a year later Michael Faraday invented the electric motor, and Georg Ohm figured out the electrical a few years later.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

From all of these, we get the words most people recognize as having to do with electricity: galvanized, volt, amp, and ohm.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Control Self

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, usually referred to as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger, was a Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman. He was also a writer, a tutor, and an advisor to Nero who eventually had him executed. Seneca was accused, some say unjustly, as a conspirator in a plot to assassinate Nero.

Seneca said: Most powerful is he who has himself in his own power.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Death To All Mosquitoes

I started to reflect on mosquitoes, but I decided all I want to do is squash them. Fast. Preferably before they bite me since I'm lying in bed at the moment. Don't you just hate it when you turn the light off, and then you hear that buzz by your ear.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

American actor and writer Tom Wilson was probably right when he said: "Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Look To Your Windows

I'm always reading tips on how to save on utilities. I mean, as a Business Development Agent for a couple of Retail Energy Providers, I like to post information that can help my clients, both commercial and residential.

Practical? Hmmm

A lot of the stuff I read just isn't practical in today's world. Every ecology article or consumer tips list usually includes things like "line dry your laundry." Who, in this world of two career households, has time to lug a basket of wet clothes out to a clothesline and hang them, then take them in later, and iron them. Trust me, if you line dry clothes, they'll have to be ironed. If you line dry a towel, you can probably use it to sandpaper the deck.

Sure, it will save a lot of electricity, but who has the time or the inclination? Where I live, there are deed restrictions enforced by the community association that prevents you from even having a clothesline with laundry hanging on it. Most large metropolitan areas are like this too.

Grounded In Reality

So, for a tip today, I'll offer this. Think about the heat gain from your windows. Today's home decorating seems to call for minimal window coverings, or what I call naked windows. I've been in many homes that have nothing over the windows except a designer thing at the top. Oh, my wife said that's a window treatment or valance. Some windows have blinds or sheer curtains, neither of which provide a lot of insulation.

Here are some things you can do and they work for business or residential, summer or winter.

1. Install draw drapes that insulate. My wife watches those design programs on TV. She's always raving about the draperies that Candice Olson does on Divine Design, her favorite show. Take a tip from Candice and layer your window coverings with sheers and drapes as she does on many shows. Both of these can be drawn open to get maximum light on cloudy days.

2. If you insist on minimal window coverings, consider getting that tinted solar film. It needs to be applied by professionals but it will reduce your cooling costs.

3. It goes without saying that you should increase your insulation and every year check your caulking and weather stripping.

4. Oh, I've got to say this. Contact me and let me offer you the lowest electric rates possible with one of the Retail Energy Providers I represent.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

There are things you can do to reduce your expenses, but the most important thing is to take action.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The English & Electricity

In the last years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, English doctor William Gilbert studied electricity and magnetism. He made a distinction between the lodestone effect (magnetism) and the static electricity created by rubbing amber. (I talked about the static electricity created from rubbing amber rods last week.)

Gilbert is the one who coined the word electricus (New Latin) meaning of amber or like amber to describe the characteristic of attracting small objects after being rubbed, what we know as static electricity. Eventually, from this, the English words electric and electricity were born. These two words were first seen in print in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1646.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

As in most scientific advances, it took the combined work of many people in many countries to add to the wealth of knowledge that led to breakthroughs and discoveries.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Burn Candles

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Thomas Alva Edison

Our premier American inventor held, either individually or jointly, 1,093 patents. He also created the world's first industrial research lab.

Edison said: I shall make electricity so cheap that only the rich can afford to burn candles.


Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

El Nino or La Nina

Everyone talks about the heat, but I think the reason it's so hot is the El Nino effect. Someone else is getting our rain, and we're getting all the heat. You know El Nino, don't you? It's always on the news in conjunction with California usually, but it effects a lot more than California.

Depending on where the weather pattern starts, lower part of the Pacific or the upper, it's called El Nino or La Nina. Can't remember which so I'll have to look that up. I may not know at the moment which it's called, but I do know the golfers have given in to the heat. Today when I drove by the golf course, there wasn't a golf cart in sight.

About 20 years ago, it was equally hot here in Texas. Then in 1980, it was one of the hottest summers in history. We were living in Dallas at the time, and the cracks in the ground were big enough to lose a golf club in.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Weather is cyclical. Global warming may be a real phenomenon though it hasn't been proven yet, but this summer heat in Texas does seems to run in 10 year cycles.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simple Things Save Money


Saving energy is a family responsibility. Depending on your current budget and spare time there are many things or projects that can be done to save on your electric bill.

Bonding Experience

Recaulking windows and replacing the weather stripping around your doors isn’t expensive, it just takes a little effort and focus. Get your kids involved. It's something you can do that can actually become a parent/child experience that's rewarding.

Use Fans

Ceiling fans add 4 degrees of wind chill to a normal room. So turn on the fan and raise the thermostat to save money since the fan uses 80% less electricity that the air conditioner. Raising the thermostat 1 degree will translate into a 7% savings of electricity use.

Hit That Switch

Simply turning off lights and fans when you leave the room will make another contribution to dollars saved each month.

Update Appliances

If you take electricity saving seriously and want to know about appliances, go with the Energy Star ratings when you replace an appliance. Watch this video for more information.

Look for more energy tips here.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Think smart, take action, save money!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Ancients & Electric Fish

As delightful as this picture of an electric fish, the kind of electric fish I'm talking about is the kind that swims in water and can give you a jolting shock if you touch it.

Ancient Egyptians


It's hard to believe that electricity has been known of for nearly 4,000 years. Of course, they didn't precisely know about it the way we know of it. There are texts from ancient Egypt that refer to fish known as Thunderer of the Nile. Of course these were probably electric eels or something similar, but the Egyptians thought that they protected the other fish.

Greeks and Romans

Then about a thousand years later, these electric fish were written about by the Romans, Greeks, and Arabs. In fact, Pliny the Elder wrote about how the shocks delivered by some of these electric fish had a numbing effect on the hapless person who got stung. They also knew that these shocks could be conducted by some of the objects that came into contact with it.

Take One Electric Fish

Ancient physicians and naturalists seemed most interested in these electric fish. They tried to get shocks delivered to people who suffered from debilitating ailments like gout. Even those with headaches were told to touch electric fish. The powerful shock was thought to have curative powers.

Arabs

The Arabs were credited with the discovery of electricity as in lightning. Before the 1400s, they had a word for lightning, raad, and they used it in conjunction with the electric ray.

Amber & Cat Fur

The ancients also knew that amber rods could be rubbed with cat's fur and the resulting static charge would attract lightweight objects like feathers. Most of the Mediterranean cultures knew about this. In 600 BC, Thales of Miletos set forth his observations on static electricity. Of course, he misinterpreted the results and concluded that friction made amber magnetic, unlike the magnetic minerals like magnetite which didn't need rubbing.

Though he was wrong about the attraction being a result of magnetism, science did later prove a link between electricity and magnetism.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

All our science is built upon thousands of years of experimentation and knowledge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Power Tests

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Abraham Lincoln

Our sixteenth President of the United States possessed more wisdom it seems than the common man.

Lincoln said: Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

English Doctor & Electricity

Most of the terms used in electricity come from the scientists who worked with the phenomena. They either invented, created, discovered, or otherwise "found" what was subsequently named after them.

William Gilbert's Contribution

In 1600, English physician William Gilbert studied electricity and magnetism. He separated the lodestone effect from static electricity produced by rubbing amber, and he is the one who invented the word electricity from the New Latin word electricus, meaning from amber or amber-like. He used the word to refer to the property of attracting small objects after being rubbed, what we know as static electricity. In 1646, this derivation of the English words electric and electricity was published in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

History isn't dry dates and names. History is the story of the contribution of individual men and women to our world.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Give 'Em Hell

Sports has the power to move me. A photographer named David Farmer sent my wife a photo he took yesterday of the Leader Board at Turnberry. Of course, that inspired me to write something about The Open.

While watching The Open championship at Turnberry in Scotland, I was happy to see Tom Watson playing his game. I, like most of the world, was rooting for him to win and set a new record for the oldest player to win an Open. Thus, at the age of 59, he would have achieved something no one else had managed.

Reflections

In the process of watching the game, several things came to mind as Tom struggled to regain the lead only to lose it again. This was a scenario that repeated itself several times. One thing I was thinking was how annoyed my daughter and I both were getting at the commentators who constantly felt compelled to tell us how old Tom was. All in all, it was a great battle.

Confidence High

When Tom made it to the final hole with a perfect shot off the tee to the fairway, I just knew he had this one in the bag. Then his second shot into 18 went just off the green, past the hole. His third from just off the green was one I'd seen him hit thousands of times in his illustrious career. I was confident he would either hole it or stop it within 2 feet.

Darn! He put some muscle on it and blew it past the hole by 8 to 9 feet. I just knew he would make the par to win. He didn't! Now, tied with Stewart Cink, he had to go into a 4 hole play-off.

Reminder Of Masters

This situation reminded me of the this year's Masters when Kenny Perry had a 3 shot lead and blew it coming down the stretch, going into the final hole. Perry then lost in the playoff with Angel Cabrera. I was rooting for Perry the very same way I'd been rooting for Tom. I just knew Kenny Perry would pull it off. But he didn't.

Whether it's a coincidence or this year's trend for the older player to step up so close and be denied, one can only speculate. Whether it is mental or physical fatigue or both, only they know. My hat's off to the older players for giving those young whippersnappers a run for the money. And, just maybe the next older pro who tries won't be denied!

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Give 'em hell, guys!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Electricity Board Speaks

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Spike Milligan

The late Spike Milligan, an Anglo-Irish comedian, was also a writer, musician, poet, and playwright. He said: :And God said, "Let there be light" and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Electricity, A History Lesson

The word electricity comes from New Latin e-lectricus, meaning like amber. Electricity is all about the presence and flow of an electric charge. We see it in nature, in lightning. We see it in every day life when someone rubs a wool garment and gets a spark of static electricity. More scientific aspects of this flow of an electric charge are seen in an electromagnetic field and electromagnetic induction.

In everyday life, the word electricity is understood, but in the world of the scientist, it's considered too vague so more exact and definitive words are preferred. Some of these precise terms used in the lab are: Electric Potential, Electric Current, Electromagnetism, etc.

History

Man has studied electrical phenomena since ancient days. Finally, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the mysteries began to be solved. Still, little practical applications for this phenomena existed until late in the 19th century when engineers began to use it in homes and industries.

Thus, the Industrial Age blossomed. Society and industry alike changed, and the change continues today with new applications continuing unabated.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

Electricity is one of the foundations of modern society. Our infrastructure is built upon it. If you think that's overstating the case, just try existing when the power goes out for days as it sometimes does here in hurricane country.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Leadership Means

Power Quote for the Week

Welcome to Sunday's regular feature. Every week you can look for a witty, wise, or profound quotation from assorted folks about power.

I choose these quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Gandhi was the political and spiritual leader of India. He is remembered as the pioneer of nonviolent civil disobedience. This form of protest led to India's independence and has inspired civil rights movements across the globe. Gandhi said: :I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(Expletive Deleted) Property Taxes

I'm climbing out from behind the 8 Ball to tell you about another one of those challenging experiences where I ended up with less than the desired result. I went to protest the appraised value of my home with the County Appraisal District.

Annual Chore

We do this every year, and it is really one of the most useless, helpless, and hopeless events to have to go through. Bless my wife for preparing all the documentation. You see, the law in Texas allows the county to raise your property tax at least 10% per year. So that means your County Tax Assessor raises it 10% every year.

Market Related

Now, the property value is supposed to be market driven. In other words, if homes are appreciating in value in your neighborhood, tax values go up a like amount. If home values go down in your neighborhood, taxes are also supposed to go down. Right?

Wrong

Not according to our County Tax Assessor. I had documentation with me when I went to the meeting that showed home values in our neighborhood were declining. We had 17 Foreclosures in 2008 and 3 in the first quarter 2009. The average sales per sq ft dropped more than $5.00 a square foot, and the length of time it takes to move a home went from 67 days to 101 days.

In my particular situation, I live in a golf community though not on a golf course lot. After going through the list of like homes for comparison we discover our lot is valued at 2 times more than homes on the golf course. How is that possible?

My Case

I reviewed all this information with the first person who was assigned to me when my name was called. This person must be paid to play dumb or is just a stalling tactic to get you to give up and go home. I refuse to give up!

Therefore, I was remanded to another room to wait and see the appraisal board. When my name was called, again I presented my documentation. It was like talking to a blank wall. The Deputy Chief Appraiser told me it was the LAW that they could raise my taxes.

Their Action

I agreed that it was based on market values improving, but that property values hadn’t gone up and that it was not only unfair but also almost immoral to raise taxes during a declining market and economy. My remarks had no impact on him. He didn’t even address the issue of my lot (land) value being higher than lots on the golf course.

The net affect was, by pushing the issue, they lowered my appraised value a bit. So it only escalates 6% instead of 10% when in reality, they should have lowered the taxes to emulate the market value. I know, all of you on the east and west coast are wishing your property taxes were as low as mine, but that's not the point. The point is that they should not have increased the tax appraisal on my property or anyone's property here.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

Sorry, but there's no way to bring meaning to the madness of tax appraisers. You really can't fight city hall. Or tax appraisers.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Seeing Electricity

Today kicks off what will be a regular feature on this blog: Power Quotes. Every Sunday you can look for a witty or wise or profound quotation from assorted wise and/or witty folks about power.

I'll choose quotations about power as it refers to electricity, since that is what this blog is about. Sometimes though, I'll select a quotation about power, as it relates to the human condition.

Dave Barry

American humorist Dave Barry said: Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.

Bringing Meaning to Madness

I hope you enjoy this week's Power Quote. If you do, let me know, and I'll keep 'em coming.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Long Term Contracts Require Thought

Were you guided into a long term contract decision by your electric provider? Did you make a wise decision or a decision based on advice from your current electricity provider who had their own self interest involved? Excellent questions.

Answers

In my blogpost Truth About Power, I mentioned that if a Retail Energy Provider (REP) is pushing fixed price deals, it's usually in their best interest, not yours. If you are one of the unfortunates who locked into one of these long term arrangements, you are dissatisfied and may want out.

Why Do You Want Out

Why would you want out of a long term fixed contract? Because you can save money over the course of the year with variable rates. Variable monthly wholesale prices beat fixed priced deals historically, time after time. How much money are we talking about? That depends on several variables including what you are paying now relative to market prices. (To understand this, see my blogpost Alphabet Speak: MCPE).

The chart I've posted above shows possible savings over the last six months relative to the Market Clearing Price for Energy. (Click it to magnify it.) If you are locked into a Fixed Rate, use the numbers above to determine if you are paying more than you should be. The amount under Savings is what you could be putting back in your pocket every month.

Read Your Electricity Contract

Read the contract carefully and focus on the termination clause. What is the length of the contract? What's the cancellation penalty in terms of dollars? If the contract does not allow early termination prior to expiration, there is not much you can do. Sorry! (Contact me when it's getting ready to expire, and we'll see if I can save you money.)

If the terms allow you to cancel early, there is usually a cancellation fee stated. If not, you can easily calculate the dollar amount it would cost to terminate the contract early using the terms of the cancellation clause.

Once you have figured out what the cancellation dollar amount is, compare it to what you would save each month with a variable rate contract. The difference will show you whether it's worth canceling early.

Here's How

Check your monthly bill Energy Charge to get a good idea of your average kW usage. Use your average kW usage times (x) the MCPE rate. Then multiply that number times the remaining months on the contract to get a fairly close estimate of saving. The decision should become very easy whether to cancel the contract and switch to a Retail Energy Provider (REP) who bills out at an MCPE rate. I represent a REP who does not charge penalties or have a cancellation fee. How refreshing!

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Remember, when using MCPE rates in Texas, your electricity bills should reach their highest prices in late July to early September during peak air conditioner load and then possibly again in late December to mid February with the winter heating load. Savings really are possible.

Friday, June 19, 2009

To Compare, Learn Billing Elements

Before you can compare one electricity provider to another, you must first understand your electric bill.

Let me break it down for you so you can compare apples to apples, so to speak, because electric utility bills can be confusing.

A good Retail Energy Provider (REP) will make it easy for you to understand your bill because the bill will be simple and clearly represent the different components that make up the charges billed to you. In fact, it might be said that the more complex the bill, the better the chance that you might find yourself being taken advantage of.

4 Components To Electric Bill

These are what you compare from one provider to the next in order to get the best deal from competing Retail Energy Provider (REP) companies.

Energy Charge

This is the actual negotiated rate per kwh. It's multiplied by the number of kwh's you used. This is what can be negotiated with the REPs competing for your account.

Utility Charges

The utility charge may be called TDSP Charges (Transmission & Distribution) or Demand Charges. These are the charges assessed to you by your service provider (not necessarily your Retail Energy Provider (REP). These charges may be calculated differently by different utility companies.

When it's called a TDSP Charge, it's most important to make sure that the REP states in their contract that they are passing these charges through to you from the utility company without mark-up. This charge cannot be negotiated.

When it's called a Demand Charge, the utility company will quote you a specific rate per KW (Kilowatt or KW, not to be confused with the kwh rate).

Monthly Customer Charge

This is a monthly meter charge that the energy company may or may not charge you. This is strictly an administrative fee.

Gross Receipts Tax/PUC Tax

This is a utilities tax assessed by the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC). All energy companies have to charge the customer even if they qualify for sales tax exemption status. It's approximately 2% of your total electricity usage as a tax. Some energy companies list this as a separate line item on your bill, and some energy companies roll this tax into their energy rate. Either way, you end up paying it.

That's it. You see now that the two main items of concern are the Energy Charge, the one you can negotiate, and the Utility Charge, the one that you need to make sure is being passed through to you by your REP without mark up.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Take your electric bill and shop around, comparing apples to apples. Then you can easily see whether you're getting a good deal from your electricity provider. If not, email me. I've got a great REP to recommend to you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Alphabet Speak: MCPE


Today, let's look at MCPE and its benefits. If that particular acronym is unknown to you, let me introduce you to Market Clearing Price for Energy.

What Is MCPE?

Market Clearing Price for Energy is the bare bones price that Texas companies generally use to create a custom tailored contract for wholesale buyers and sellers of electricity. Briefly, these wholesale buyers and wholesale sellers of electricity are utilities, other Retail Energy Providers (REP), municipalities, or corporations that manage their own electricity needs. That pretty much covers everyone.

Essentially MCPE allows a Texas company to purchase a block or blocks of power without fear of penalty if their Load (Demand) exceeds the block they purchased. If a company's Load exceeds the block amount purchased, the company simply pays whatever the variable market rate is at that time for the amount exceeding the block purchased.

MCPE Pricing

The MCPE price for energy is a variable rate that changes every 15 minutes and the average price is historically much lower than a fixed price rate.

The smartest way to use MCPE pricing is in a block purchase contract when you know about how much energy you will use, but you don't want to pay a large amount if you exceed the usage you have forecasted. Every 15 minutes, the Real Time Data is posted on the ERCOT site.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

A good REP takes advantage of this pricing mechanism and passes that advantage on to its customers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Change Brings Rewards

Why are people reluctant to change their Retail Energy Provider, commonly known as REP? Here are some of the reasons why, I think, people don't take action to save money on their electric bills.

Procrastination

Some people are just procrastinators like me. I try hard not to procrastinate but often end up doing that very thing either because I'm short of time, energy, or motivation.

Takes Too Much Time

Some people know they should change their REP, but they are too busy and don't have the time to research the different REPs.

Change Resistant

Some people are just plain resistant to change. It could be they have a false sense of loyalty to the company that provides their electricity. After all, they may have used that same electric company for years or even decades. Why rock the boat?

Action Needed

Regardless of the reason you've stayed with your long time electricity provider, this is your call to action to change. Action must be taken to achieve a better result. The first required action is to determine who is consistently providing not just electricity, because they all provide that, but to find out who gives quality service along with the best possible price.

Second, you must determine which REPs are financially stable and strong. You don't want to change REPs only to discover the one you selected has gone belly up. Do your own research or rely on someone you trust who has already done it and is willing to share it with you.

Benefit Of Changing

The biggest reason to initiate change is that you can probably save money. I mean, why pay more money when you can pay less? Yes, folks, there really is a wide variance in what Retail Energy Providers charge a consumer. Consumer Smith may use 1000 KWH of electricty every month and pay twice as much as Consumer Jones for the very same KWH.

Give Yourself A Raise

Take action and give yourself a raise today. If you own a small or large business or manage one for someone else and want to lower costs with a quality REP, email me to discuss your situation.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Wake up, folks! It’s your money. Why give more than necessary to the power company? You deserve the best price, and the best service for your hard earned dollars.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Truth About Power

Electricity is a generated product that cannot be stored like its relatives, natural gas, natural gas liquids, or even crude oil.

The power that is generated has to match what will be used (remember, that's called Load). If what is generated isn't matched, the power generated is lost forever. That's bad for all of us consumers and for the utilities and ultimately for the environment.

Factors Governing Costs

Since generation and load forecasting are integral parts of the economics that affect all of us, it's good to have quality people managing the generation and load forecasting on our behalf.

For that, you can thank your transmission system operators known as the Independent System Operator, or ISO. The ISO coordinates the dispatch of generating units to meet the demand or load of the users across the transmission grid.

What's REP & What Do They Do

When there are competing generators in a region on the same grid, they will sell their generated electricity to retailers thus creating a wholesale electricity market. This is where money can be saved by a prudent and knowledgeable professional Retail Energy Provider, or REP.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

A really good REP should be there to help you lower your costs. If your REP is pushing fixed deals, he has a reason, and that reason is that it means more money in his pocket. Less in yours.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Is Electricity?

Electricity is the “juice” that flows to your business and home to provide you with the means to enjoy the life you live. It helps you stay cool, see at night, keeps your food from spoiling, keeps drinks cold, and provides you with fantastic entertainment options. All by just flipping a switch!

Electricity As Commodity

Electricity is also a commodity that can be bought and sold in a marketplace. The price is set by supply and demand factors.

Wholesale transactions are normally cleared and settled by an Independent System Operator, commonly known as ISO. Each ISO has a designated generating and transmission region. Here in Texas, this ISO is called ERCOT which stands for Electricity Reliability Council of Texas.

Purpose of ISO

These ISOs ensure reliability between the generating utilities (the actual power plant that produces the electricity) and the end users who are you and me. They do this by managing the demand as well as the generating and transmission assets of its region.

Demand, sometimes called load, is how much electricity users need during a specific time period.

Other Electricity Financial Instruments

There are also markets for electricity derivatives. Derivatives are simply other financial instruments derived from electricity, for instance, futures, options, and OTC (over the counter) financial transactions.

Deregulation: Curse or Blessing

All these electricity financial instruments resulted from deregulation which is the process of removing or simplifying government rules and regulations. This occurred in Texas in January 1 , 2002.

Bringing Meaning To Madness

Electricity is a more complicated issue than you think, but a little education goes a long way toward helping you make an informed decision about your provider.
"If it weren't for electricity, we'd all be watching television by candlelight." ~ George Gobel

Copyright 2009 by Larry A. Reeves

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