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Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding Deregulation

What is deregulation?


Deregulation involves the unbundling of functions traditionally served only by regulated utilities. Historically utilities owned and/or controlled the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity and natural gas. However, customers in deregulated energy markets are now able to choose the company that supplies their electricity. The transmission and distribution functions are still regulated and as such will still be controlled by the local utility. Likewise, the local utility will continue to respond to emergency situation. Deregulation enables you to shop for the best price of electricity just as you do for your long distance phone service today.

What does choice mean?


Customer choice means the ability to choose the company who will supply your Electricity/gas. Your utility company will still deliver the electricity or natural gas provided by the alternate supplier you choose.

Why would I want to choose?


You may choose the company that supplies your electricity based on your individual needs and preferences. Those can include budget certainty, the lowest price, terms of the agreement or the best combination of all.

Who will read and maintain the meters at my business?


Your utility will continue to handle metering.

Will choosing a new supplier change the reliability of my service?


No, your utility company owns the poles, wires and gas pipelines. Regardless of whom you choose as a supplier, your utility will continue to deliver your gas or electricity with the same reliability as before. You will continue to have access to your utility customer service representatives, and crews will still respond to emergencies and power outages.

If one company supplies my electricity/gas and another provides the rest of my electric/gas service, who will I call about outages or repairs?


As a delivery customer, you will still call your utility company about electricity/gas outages and repairs (delivery refers to the facilities including poles, transformers, wires, and pipelines which carry and distribute the electricity/gas provided by your electric/gas supplier). If you have questions about the supply portion, you will call your new supplier.

How will I be billed?


If you choose a competitive supplier, you may receive two bills: one bill from the supplier for the electricity or generation portion, and one from the utility for the delivery of the power.

Other options also are possible - the utility may bill you on behalf of the competitive supplier and include the supplier's charges as a line item on its bill, or the supplier may bill you on behalf of the utility and include the utility's charges in the supplier's bill.

What is an Alternate Retail Electricity Supplier?


A supplier is a company that provides electricity or natural gas to commercial and/or residential customers in a competitive market. To operate in a service territory, suppliers must be accepted by that state's regulatory agency and must meet certain criteria, which varies across utilities and states.

A supplier also may offer other energy-related services such as energy efficiency programs. A competitive supplier can be a company affiliated with your local electric utility company or an independent electricity supplier.

Can a supplier turn off my service?


No. Only your current utility is authorized to connect and/or disconnect your service. If you lose your supplier for any reason, you will be given advanced notice and allowed time to choose a new supplier or return to the local utility.

Will I save money if I switch suppliers?


Your savings will depend on several things, including how much you currently pay for electricity or natural gas, how much electricity or natural gas you use, and your agreement with the supplier.

Is there a chance I will lose service temporarily when I switch companies?


No. There will be no interruption of service if you switch to a competitive supplier or from one utility to another.

What is the difference between magnetic and electronic ballasts?


It is old technology (magnetic) versus new technology (electronic). The magnetic ballast is coil and core, it hums, and operates lamps at 60 cycles per second. If the lamps are removed, it continues to operate and wastes energy if not uninstalled completely. The electronic ballast weighs 1/5 of the magnetic, and looks like a solid state device inside. It operates without a humming noise and allows the T-8 lamp to operate at more than 42 khz. The result is more lumens per watt without electrical interferences. Some electronic ballast devices are designed to work with dimmers, some with motion sensors, and others with photocells for daylight harvesting.

What is a T-8?


The T-8 is a newer fluorescent lamp. It has a one inch diameter and comes in a variety of lengths, wattages and color temperatures. It has up to a 36,000 hour rated life. It is a preferred replacement to older T-12 lamps.

How quickly will I see a return on my lighting retrofit project?


Lighting upgrades and improvements deliver the fastest payback among energy saving options available to energy users. Depending on burn hours, new systems usually pay for themselves in 2 years or less. Some companies allow the savings pay for the entire project via an equipment lease option, where the lease payment comes from a portion of the energy savings (operating costs).

How much of my energy bill relates to lighting in my facility?


As much as 50% of your energy bill could be related to lighting. HVAC systems and plug loads may contribute to the difference in non-production/manufacturing facilities.

What can be done if I want to upgrade my lighting system, but don’t have the money to do it?

 

Lighting upgrades save so much money they are considered the “low hanging fruit” of energy savings tactics. We have relationships with leasing entities that understand lighting retrofits, and offer favorable terms that allow you to pay for the lease (3-4 years.) from a PORTION of the savings.

In other words, the new lighting system can pay for itself. Most leases only require the client to pay a nominal processing fee. Once approved the lessee pays only the first and last month payment.  In some areas the electrical utility companies have rebates that reduce the project net costs.

We handle the entire process to save time and money!