Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Winter Vortex & Regulatory Fees Impact on Energy Prices

Monday, June 16th, 2014

This winter the record breaking cold temperatures created an unusually high demand for natural gas heating.  The far-reaching impacts are still being felt.

The natural gas storage fields were depleted, 38% below the five-year average placing an upward pressure on energy prices.

Natural gas prices are 6% higher than in the fall and have caused increases in the resulting electricity rates by 12% than the same period a year ago.

Even though natural gas storage fields are being replenished, it seems the market is still concerned over the prospect of closing the gap needed by November 2014 to keep up with winter demand.

The question on future pricing will be determined by summer temperatures. Obviously, if summer temperatures are above normal this creates additional demand for natural gas to generate electricity and reduces storage.  A second unknown are winter temperatures.  A second straight winter of colder than normal temperatures, if only for a few weeks, will place additional upward pressure on market rates.  (The chart at the end of this article shows the changes in market rate trends since November 2013 and the short term impact in market rates after the winter.)  Market rates, however, appear to improve after April 2015.

The viability of licensed third-party suppliers suffered because of the harsh winter. Three suppliers went out of business and two reorganized their retail market groups to focus only on large volume accounts.  An additional regional supplier is currently in major re-organization. The remaining suppliers are factoring in additional risk premiums in the price offers when compared to the utility standard offer service rates.  Price offers since November 2013 have been 15% higher and are expected to remain at this base level for the next three years.

Additionally, as of May, 2014, there has been a major impact on pricing in regulatory fees assessed by the utility commissions and the interconnection grid managers.  Fees not directly related to the commodity are rising overall and new fees are being added.  The largest change has been in capacity charges based on customer demand for energy to startup equipment, turn on lights, and increase heating or cooling capacity to meet temperature variations.  These fees impact the base rates for customers on the utility standard offer service rate or with a third party supplier. They have increased regulated fees by 4% to 6% in Maryland.  Additional increases are possible over the next year.

A final change worth noting is the Maryland Legislature and the Maryland Public Service Commission have recognized the impact this winter had on customers who were on variable rate contracts.  Customers were charge exorbitant fees in January 2014 and February 2014 which in some cases were double the utility standard offer service rates.  Customers with all-in-fixed rate contracts were protected. However customers with variable rate contracts were not. An investigation is underway and new rules are expected this fall to provide additional consumer protection especially for residential customers.

CQI Associates provides a program to assist commercial and residential customers with the purchase of electricity and natural gas supply services.  Joining one of our commercial and residential energy cooperatives (Co-op) is an easy way to manage rising energy cost.

There are many benefits of joining the Co-op:

  • Customers receive an all-in-fixed rate for supply services on electric and natural gas bills which will not change during the contract term.
  • The Co-op offers Chamber members the group buying power of the Co-op, which results in lower rates.
  • The Co-op consultant, CQI Associates, licensed by the State of Maryland, professionally manages the Co-op program and has 19 years of industry experience in Maryland.
  • The Co-op offers options to obtain up to 100% clean, renewable, wind powered electricity service.

Pricing for 12, 24, and 36 month contracts will provide long-term budget stability to help manage energy costs well through to 2017.

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Renewable Energy News: The Current State of Hydropower in the United States

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Hydropower, which is, for those of you who don’t know, the use of moving water to generate electricity, is currently the largest source of renewable-generate electricity in the United States. Hydropower accounted for 63% of all renewable-generated energy in 2011, a 13.9% increase over the previous year. But could hydropower be on the decline? Experts say yes.

Hydropower use has fallen by 0.4 quadrillion Btu this year, representing a 13.9% decrease compared to 2011.

renewable energy consumption

However, the decline in hydropower use is not necessarily a bad thing. The primary reason for the drop in usage is due to the growth of other renewable energy forms, such as wind power and geothermal electricity.

The History of Hydropower in the United States

Hydropower is nothing new to the world, with the first hydroelectric power plant being built in 1879 at Niagara Falls. And just three years later, in 1882, the first hydroelectric power plant was constructed and began operation in the United States in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Since this day, hydropower has played a small, yet important role in the overall energy production in the U.S. and remains one of the cheapest ways to produce electricity.

The Current State of Electricity Prices in the United States

The United States Energy Information Association (EIA) reported average residential electricity prices across the U.S. at 12.10 cents per kilowatt hour in September 2012, the last month they released data. This number is expected to drop slightly once the numbers for October 2012 are calculated. And the average residential electricity price for 2012 is projected at 11.84 cents per kilowatthour, a 0.4% increase compared to 2011.

renewable energy use

This winter, with temperatures expected to be 13% colder than last year, EIA expects U.S. electricity prices to rise slightly compared to 2011, 5%.

Of course, all of the numbers above are national averages and can vary depending on where you live.

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

CQI Associates has saved our public and private commercial clients well over $1,500,000,000 based on our energy and environmental program and project saving recommendations.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LikedIn, and Google+.

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Induction Lighting: Another Energy Saving Tip from CQI Associates

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Induction lighting is nothing new. The technology has been around for over 100 years. But with recent developments Electronic Ballast/Generator technology and the push for more energy efficient buildings, induction lighting is quickly gaining popularity in the United States.

What is Induction Lighting and how does it work?

Similar to fluorescent lighting, induction lighting utilizes mercury in a gas fill inside the bulb. This gas fill is agitated, emitting UV radiation that is then converted into white light by the phosphor coating of the bulb. However, unlike fluorescent lighting, induction lighting does not use electrodes to initiate the flow of current across the arc. Induction lighting, instead, uses a high-frequency generator with a power coupler. This produces a radio frequency magnetic field to agitate the gas fill.

What are the Benefits of Induction Lighting?

Because induction lighting uses a high-frequency generator instead of an electrode, induction lamps last up to 100,000 hours longer. That is a useful life 5-7 times longer than metal halide and 7 times longer than T12HO (high output) fluorescent. Additional benefits of induction lighting include:

  • Instant ignition
  • A color rendering index (CRI) above 80
  • Performs well in extreme cold
  • No glare
  • Vibration resistant
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Incredibly durable
  • Reduced carbon footprint

 

 

Best of all, induction lighting is incredibly energy efficient. Below is a graph detailing the Lumens per Watt of several popular lighting solutions. Lumens per watt is a measure of efficiency. It is the amount of light a source gives off per watt.

It is no wonder that the United States Department of Energy (DOE) called induction lighting “one of the best kept secrets in energy efficient lighting.”

To learn more, please contact CQI Associates by calling 410-740-0667 or visit CQIAssociates.com today!

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LEED Certified Case Study: Operations Upgrade

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Building on existing strategies, Discovery Communications earned LEED Platinum for its global headquarters.

By Anne Vazquez
Published in the October 2009 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

Pursuing LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED EB) certification was a wholly new endeavor for Karen Kiley, vice president of building operations and security for Discovery Communications. In early 2007, upper management at the global media company (whose 100+ television networks include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC) issued a directive to increase the sustainability of operations at Discovery’s global headquarters facility in Silver Spring, MD. The 544,000 square foot building had been constructed several years prior with green initiatives in mind but, as facility professionals know, there is always room for improvement.

“There were three factors that contributed to this decision,” Kiley explains. “For one, the company was preparing to launch Planet Green, a 24 hour environmentally conscious television network. Additionally, it was expected that increased sustainability would reduce operating costs, and third, it’s a good thing for the environment.”

In order to establish the best approach to “green” the facility further, Kiley, along with colleagues and green project leaders Bradd Meadows and Marc Parsons (both LEED APs), assembled employees from various departments. Representatives from the facilities, IT, communications, human resources, creative, and Planet Green network departments were asked to identify how the company could move toward this goal. “Once it was decided we should implement more green initiatives,” says Kiley, “this team, with support from Larry Laque, Discovery’s executive vice president, facilities and real estate strategy, considered the options and decided LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council [USGBC] was the best way for us to do that.”

And while Kiley had more than 10 years of experience in facilities management (FM) at this point, this would be her first LEED endeavor. The decision was made to hire a consulting firm to assist the company in evaluating what was already in place at the headquarters and what should be done to achieve certification.

Discovery hired CQI Associates, LLC of Columbia, MD as its LEED consultant. “They completed an initial assessment, helped us identify initiatives that would provide energy savings, and compiled all the materials and completed the submission [to the USGBC],” explains Kiley.

In December 2007, less than a year after the process began, Discovery’s headquarters was recognized with LEED EB version 2.0 Platinum certification, the highest level in the rating system. Kiley points out that team collaboration and existing sustainable elements and strategies were crucial to the outcome. “At the start, we expected the facility would earn at least Silver level certification,” she explains. “But, as we were working on this, we realized we could do more [to increase sustainability]. So we kept going and adding to it.”

Under LEED EB, the USGBC requires a project to earn 40 to 47 points for Silver level certification; in the end, the Discovery team earned 66 of a possible 85 points to land the facility in the Platinum range.

A Chat With Karen Kiley, vice president of building operations and security,
Discovery Communications

What are your responsibilities at Discovery Communications? I am the vice president of building operations and security. I am responsible for the building operations and security functions for eight of the company’s U.S. locations. Under the facilities department are repairs and maintenance, as well as mailroom, copy center, and reception/office services.

How long have you worked at Discovery Communications, and how long have you worked in the facility management profession? I’ve worked at Discovery for 10 years and have been in the profession for 15.

What notable changes have occurred in facilities management during your tenure in the profession? Thinking about green/environmental actions has been a very big change in several ways. Not only are there many more programs and products than there were in the earlier years of my career, but these also have become easier to find. A few years ago, it was more difficult to find all of the products and services we needed. Now, they are more readily available and offered at more competitive price points. What has come easier with that particular area is we can find the products and services we need much quicker. That’s on the green side.

On the technology side, what has become easier is being able to adjust building systems from a computer. For instance, we don’t have to go from thermostat to thermostat to change temperature settings.

With the LEED certification complete, what other facility projects are you working on? We have transformed a portion of office space in the headquarters building into a daycare facility—Discovery Kids Place. This is a new offering here at the headquarters. In fact, we just recently received word that we have been awarded gold level LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) for that space.

Building On A Baseline

Starting the LEED pursuit meant taking stock of the facility. In early 2003, Discovery had completed construction on the new global headquarters, and environmentally friendly design and operation had been part of that plan. Kiley, who has been with the company since 1999, recalls, “We put a lot of thought into environmental issues when we built this facility. So as we went through the LEED process, we identified areas where we could receive points—the use of bamboo flooring and prevalence of natural light inside, for instance.”

Natural light shines into at least 75% of the interior spaces. And, as Kiley explains, with the exception of several executive offices along the outside of the floors, all enclosed offices are located toward the interior, so the open workstations are exposed to natural daylight.

Points in the LEED rating system are earned in six categories—Sustainable Sites (11 of 14 possible points were earned in this project); Water Efficiency (2 of 5 achieved); Energy & Atmosphere (19 of 23 earned); Materials & Resources (12 of a possible 16); Indoor Environmental Quality (17 of 22 earned); and Innovation & Design Process (5 of 5).

Under “Sustainable Sites,” existing conditions that earned points included: siting the building on a former brownfield site in a high density area, situating it in close proximity to a mass transit station, and encouraging employees to bike or walk to work when possible. (The company offers a one time reimbursement of up to $350 for a bicycle purchase and $100 annually for walking shoes.)

In the “Water Efficiency” arena, Discovery added a rainwater capture system as part of its LEED pursuit. This system, which consists of three 400 gallon underground tanks, supplies water for all the plants (though not the grass) located in the company’s sensory garden, which has been in place since 2003.

Another strategy was to install low flow fixtures in all the restroom and kitchen areas.

In tracking water use at the facility, Kiley’s team has found these initiatives have helped to reduce consumption by 25%.

Other than the “Innovation & Design Process” category, Discovery achieved the highest percentage of possible points under “Energy & Atmosphere”—19 of 23. Energy use, Kiley explains, was an area where the company wanted to make significant changes. “We made it more of a high level project and looked at the big picture,” she says. “Early in the certification process, we relamped with compact fluorescent lighting in the majority of spaces. And we have continued to assess where lighting might not be necessary all the time.”

Another part of the LEED pursuit involved installing occupancy sensors in an area referred to as Main Street—a central hallway situated between two office towers that make up the bulk of the facility. Since this area is illuminated with natural light for much of the day, lighting does not need to operate constantly.

Looking at other energy opportunities, the Discovery team decided upon the ongoing purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) equal to the amount of electricity used at the facility; the energy source chosen for this was wind power. Apart from electricity, the company uses natural gas for a small portion of heating needs, and carbon offsets are bought to account for that consumption.

These initiatives have helped to reduce energy consumption by 26%.

Under “Materials & Resources,” Kiley was pleasantly surprised to learn that elements original to the building qualified for points. She cites bamboo flooring and carpet tile used throughout much of the facility as examples, in addition to the overall approach in original construction.

“The initial design of the headquarters employed a ‘universal plan’ approach to maximize use and reuse of standard furniture, demountable office partitions, and carpet tile, while allowing flexibility for individual department needs,” she explains. “Maximizing daylighting and views, was also part of this.”

While many aspects of the LEED pursuit involved direct action by facilities staff or third party service providers, Kiley has been pleased with strides related to employee involvement (there are approximately 1,400 employees on-site). She points to the increased recycling of waste—paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic.

Each floor in the building has a kitchen area, and prior to this project, each contained a large, central trash can and several recycling receptacles. However, the central trash can became a “catchall,” since many occupants neglected to walk across the kitchen to recycle. The central trash can was removed, and people now use the recycling area which also contains a small bin for non-recyclables.

Kiley reports the recycling rate has increased by an average of 40% since that change. “And, here’s the best thing about it,” she says. “It costs nothing to do! We had the recycling bins from the day we moved in, but we couldn’t get people to the bins.”

In addition to points earned for daylighting under “Indoor Environmental Quality,” efficient scheduling of HVAC systems gained points. Kiley’s team had already been focused on efficient scheduling during non-peak hours, but additional moves included increasing cooling set points and lowering heating set points by several degrees. “Employees have been comfortable with the changes,” says Kiley. “And if there is a problem, we can make changes quickly with our building control system.”

Green cleaning initiatives also contributed in this category. The project team worked with the janitorial service to switch to cleaning products compliant with LEED. “We were using some green products; we had switched to green paper products in restrooms a few years ago,” says Kiley. “But we wanted to do a complete switchover. Our provider made recommendations, and we’ve been very happy with what was chosen.”

Under “Innovation & Design,” the project received two points for existing employee engagement programs. Says Kiley, “I was surprised we could get LEED points for that, and I was very happy we could. People are accustomed to green here; they recommend things constantly. It’s very positive.”

Programs have included contests between departments. For instance, Kiley’s staff would perform audits to find out which group saved the most energy overnight (e.g., turning off lights and computers). Another challenge was to create a baseline for paper use and track the consumption for a month.

Keeping It Going

Speaking on the task of maintaining sustainable operations, Kiley notes it has been going “very well. It’s absolutely top of mind.” She points out that this focus has been in place since the building was constructed, so the foundation for staying on track already existed.

“I really liked the collaborative effort and working with people from multiple departments here,” she says. “I learned a tremendous amount on this project, and I’m sure a lot of other people did as well.”

This article was based on an interview with Kiley.

 

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Columbia Energy Firm CQI Associates Hires Jim Roberts

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Columbia, MD-based CQI Associates has hired veteran sales representative Jim Roberts of Ellicott City to help it expand its business.
Roberts has been calling on Baltimore-Washington area businesses for 25 years, most recently as a commercial vehicle salesman for Miller Brothers Chevrolet in Ellicott City. Roberts introduced an environmentally friendly ice melt product to area businesses for Frederick-based NaturaLawn of America from May of 2008 until September of 2011. Prior to that he worked for Beltsville-based SunDun Office Refreshments for 11 years, serving as Vice President of Sales. Roberts’ experience includes five years selling and leasing heavy trucks, four years selling and leasing light-duty trucks, eight years in the news department of The Wall Street Journal, ownership of a small business newspaper and serving as the first advertising sales manager for the Baltimore Business Journal. Roberts also was the editor for three years of Food World, a grocery trade newspaper, and worked for Safeway for five years, serving as press spokesman and public relations manager for Safeway’s Eastern Division.
“We first met Jim 10 years ago when he started attending International Facility Management Association (IFMA) meetings in the Baltimore area,” said CQI founder Richard Anderson. “We saw how facility managers warmed to Jim and we learned that Jim’s customers found him to be very conscientious and concerned about their well being,” added CQI managing principal Melissa Anderson. “We believe Jim’s reputation as a caring advocate for his customers will serve CQI well as we work to expand our business,” said Ms. Anderson.
A 35-year Howard County resident, Roberts was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Montgomery County. He is a graduate of Good Counsel High School and holds a journalism degree from the University of Maryland in College Park.
“I’ve met many dedicated, knowledgeable facility managers in my 14 years attending International Facility Management Association meetings,” said Roberts. “Aside from IFMA meetings, I’ve been attending Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) meetings for a decade and 2 1/2 years ago I started attending Bisnow meetings. I’ve learned a lot about energy concerns, sustainability, LEED certification and ‘going green’ in attending those meetings.” Added Roberts: “I’ve been fortunate to tour several LEED gold buildings and even some LEED platinum buildings. I’m very familiar with Discovery’s LEED platinum headquarters building in Silver Spring as that building was my largest vending account and I had to get 23 beverage-vending and snack-vending machines in place in stages as that building was first being occupied. Watching that building get built and then walking the halls as it was being finished was very exciting.”
Roberts added that when he started selling an environmentally friendly ice melt in 2008 he joined the U.S. Green Building Council and learned more about keeping up with LEED guidelines and government regulations.
“I’ve been in thousands of buildings over the past 25 years and have come to know a lot of building engineers, property managers and commercial real estate executives,” said Roberts. “I recently joined the Chesapeake Area Society of Healthcare Engineering (CASHE) and I’m looking forward to joining a few other trade groups in hopes of meeting more people involved in energy decisions and learning how I can help them,” said Roberts.
CQI Associates (www.cqiassociates.com), founded in 1995, is an energy and environmental management services firm that provides consulting and energy-procurement services. CQI has expertise in energy deregulation, efficiency mandates, green building standards, LEED certification requirements and advanced technology applications. The company is licensed to provide energy procurement services and has created commercial and residential energy procurement cooperatives. CQI conducts energy-management assessments and creates energy-saving plans and has guided many companies through the LEED certification process.

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Energy Current – Avoid the Big Freeze

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Energy Currents

Energy Savings Tip – Avoid the Big Freeze

After record spring temperatures in the contiguous U.S., above-average temperatures are still predicted this summer. Air conditioners, a major energy consumer, will be utilized more than ever to maintain the comfort level of a home or office.  However, many office buildings are so cold inside during the summer that you need a sweater. Talk about a waste!

Avoid that scenario at home by setting your thermostat to 73 degrees when you are home and 75 degrees when you are away. The Department of Energy reports that a 1 degree change in temperature setting for a year will reduce energy consumption by 5%. However, when you are not home the temperature setting should not be greater than a 2 degrees difference or it will take more energy to recover to the occupied temperature when you get home.

A programmable thermostat, if you do not already have one, is a really good investment. Keeping cool without breaking the bank is possible.

Energy Price Projection – Energy Market Still Wary Despite Mild Hurricane Forecast

The official hurricane season has kicked off amid low expectations it will disrupt oil and gas markets.

 

Scientists predict fewer storms than average and that, combined with less of a reliance on the Gulf for U.S. energy supplies as well as greater refining capacity in the region, has many pointing to an uneventful storm season. But some warn it will only take one major hurricane to sour this optimism.

 

“If we have a major hurricane hitting the right spot in the Gulf, it could lead to a spike in oil and gasoline prices,” said Chris Lafakis, an economist at Moody’s Analytics.

 

More oil-and-gas supplies unlocked by onshore shale drilling have slightly reduced the importance of the Gulf’s offshore production in recent years. Gulf of Mexico offshore production accounts for 29% of oil and 12% of gas production in the U.S., down from about 30% for oil and 17% for gas in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

 

The Gulf Coast remains the heart of the refining industry, with more than 40% of total U.S. petroleum refining capacity. The region also contains nearly 30% of total U.S. natural-gas processing-plant capacity.

The members of the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative with contracts ending in 2012 and 2013 are being contracted to extend the contracts to 2016 at rates equal to or lower than the current contract. Call the Chamber for additional details while market rates are still low.

Energy Currents is prepared by CQI Associates, Energy and Environmental Management Consultants to the Chamber. For additional customer support or information, contract Melissa Anderson, Managing Principal at 410-740-0667 or by email at melissa@cqiassociates.com.

 


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Energy Savings Tip – Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Energy Currents

Energy Savings Tip – Clockwise or Counter-Clockwise

As the spring temperatures rise, your home and office will get warmer. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, turn on your ceiling fan. The question that is always asked is whether to operate your ceiling fan clockwise or counter-clockwise?  There is often confusion on which way to run your fans. In the spring/summer, use the ceiling fan in the counter-clockwise direction. While standing directly under the ceiling fan you should feel a cool breeze. Even at high speed, a ceiling fan typically uses less energy than a 100-watt light bulb – and less than a 25-watt bulb at low speed.  And some fans use CFLs for even greater savings. Remember, ceiling fans cool only people, not the room, so when you leave the room, turn the fan off.

Energy Price Projection – Natural Gas hits Bottom

Natural gas prices may have finally bottomed out, after hovering around 10-year lows for weeks, said energy magnate T. Boone Pickens. Prices have slowly started creeping above the $2 mark after settling below that level just a couple of weeks ago.

 

“The price for natural gas has smoothed out pretty good,” Pickens told reporters on the sidelines of the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. “I think it’s bottomed.”

Pickens said he wouldn’t be surprised to see natural gas prices at $3 in a year’s time. That would be welcome news for companies such as Chesapeake Energy, Devon and EOG that have been trying to cut production. These companies have been hampered by higher oil prices since many natural gas producers simultaneously produce oil from the same wells.

 

Pickens also thinks oil prices will continue to rise. “I think you’re going to find oil will get pretty tight this summer,” he said. “The Saudis don’t have as much oil as they say they do.” Pickens says that anything Saudi Arabia produces above 10 million barrels a day will come from storage and not new production. And it could come just as demand heats up. Pickens forecasted prices for Brent crude — Europe’s benchmark — to hit $150 a barrel by this summer.

The members of the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative with contracts ending in 2012 and 2013 are being contracted to extend the contracts to 2016 at rates equal to or lower than the current contract. Call the Chamber for additional details while market rates are still low.

Energy Currents is prepared by CQI Associates, Energy and Environmental Management Consultants to the Chamber. For additional customer support or information, contract Melissa Anderson, Managing Principal at 410-740-0667 or by email at melissa@cqiassociates.com

 

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Brunswick enters into energy cooperative

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

City hopes to save $150,000 over span of three-year contract

by Ryan Marshall, Staff Writer

 

Hoping to lock in lower energy prices, Brunswick has entered into a three-year contract with an energy cooperative to provide the city’s electricity.

The city council voted 6-0 Tuesday to sign a contract with Texas-based Reliant Energy as part of an energy cooperative.

According to the terms of the contract, the city will pay $0.05161 per kilowatt hour. The city has traditionally paid about $0.0668 per kilowatt hour.

With energy prices expected to rise over the next three years, the contract offers long-term budget security, said City Manager Rick Weldon.

The city is hoping for a net savings of about $150,000 over the life of the three-year contract.

Buying electricity comes in two parts: the price it costs to generate the power and the cost of the system needed to deliver it, Weldon said.

Brunswick’s transmission costs go to Potomac Edison, but the power itself will come from Reliant, he said.

Cooperatives harness the buying power of many small businesses to equal the power of larger companies.

To become eligible to join the cooperative, Brunswick had to join the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. The cost to join the chamber is $438 per year with a one-time $30 filing fee, Weldon said.

 


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Energy Savings Tip – Let the Sun Shine In

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Energy Currents

Energy Savings Tip – Let the Sun Shine In

Spring has arrived and as the days become longer, consider opening the curtains in your home to let in more natural light for indoor illumination. This is an especially useful tip if you haven’t yet had the chance to make the switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lighting. Since nearly 90% of the electricity incandescent bulbs consume is turned into heat, leaving your lights off during the day can mean less work for your cooling system.

Don’t forget about those warm spring breezes. Throw open your windows to take advantage of natural cooling rather than using your air conditioner. You can also use that breeze to dry clothes in the sunshine rather than in your dryer.

Energy Price Projection – Spring 2012

Natural Gas prices remain low with signs of an upswing in April. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects electric generation from natural gas to increase by nearly 9%. As electric generation by coal continues to decline.

Rising gasoline prices are an annual spring ritual, largely because of seasonal demand. This year’s earlier-than-usual run-up is more about anticipation than current supply and demand. Continued tensions with Iran have experts predicting the price of regular gas to be at $4.25 by the end of the month.

The members of the Chamber Energy Purchasing Cooperative with contracts ending in 2012 and 2013 are being contracted to extend the contracts to 2016 at rates equal to or lower than the current contract. Call the Chamber for additional details while market rates are still low.

Energy Currents is prepared by CQI Associates, Energy and Environmental Management Consultants to the Chamber. For additional customer support or information, contract Melissa Anderson, Managing Principal at 410-740-0667 or by email at melissa@cqiassociates.com

 

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CQI Celebrates Mercy Ridge Retirement Center’s Silver LEED Certification

Monday, August 22nd, 2011




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