It's amazing that it took companies in NY so long to realize the savings of joining an ESCO. My friend is so busy now, that when I call his cell phone it goes straight to voice mail. He usually returns my calls at the end of the day while driving home. He says it amazes him that so many NY companies had to be on the verge of bankruptcy before realizing how much they could have been saving all along by signing up with his company and joining an ESCO. The kicker is that all they have to do is fax their present natural gas bill (Front & Back) and fill out a one page form that his staff does for them! Easily done and they still get their bill from their original gas provider only it's less and the original company is grateful for it because they have to by law get a percentage of their existing customers to switch to an ESCO. So if you are a CFO, landlord, business owner or comptroller for a company that burns natural gas and is supplied by Con Edison or National Grid in NY, NYC or Long Island, you should contact them today. You and/or your boss will be very glad you did. In fact you'll probably end up looking like a genius!!


I was wondering why they wouldn't suggest joining an ESCO..? Then I found out that they didn't have the law that NY Governor Pataki made in NY regarding the deregulation of natural gas suppliers!!

Published: December 16, 2008

By William Moseley, Director of Operations for California Utility Billing Services

Like all professionals in the real estate industry, multifamily property managers have had their priorities dramatically shifted by the current economic downturn. The combination of falling housing prices and the growing unemployment rate has made attracting and retaining residents a more difficult task. Consequently, some property managers are being forced to lower rents or provide concessions in order to attract and/or retain residents. For Western National Property Management, the number-one goal for property managers in the current economic climate is to protect rental rates and economic occupancy.

Because maintaining Net Operating Income (NOI) is the top priority for property managers in today’s economy, greater attention is being paid to operating costs that could negatively affect the bottom line. Perhaps the most significant operating cost for multifamily properties is the cost of utilities. As a result, many property managers are working to implement programs that can help reduce utility costs.

This is not a temporary problem that will pass when the economy improves as the current credit crisis has had little effect on the overall hard costs of utilities. For example, in southern California, property managers face a consistent rise in the cost of water. These increased costs are not related directly to the country’s current economic situation, but because of the scarcity of the resource. Conservation is a key factor in making sure that ample water supply is available for new and existing developments, and as water continues to be scarce, costs will continue to rise.

The cost of water can also be particularly high for communities based at higher elevations, which require pumping mechanisms to deliver their water supply. These communities incur pumping surcharges, which is an energy cost that is directly affected by the price of oil. Escalating fuel costs have also been a major factor in the increased cost of other utilities, particularly trash service. As fuel prices rise, many trash service providers are adding fuel surcharges.

Sewage costs are also on the rise locally. As federal regulations have increased, the treatment of sewage is more costly and older infrastructures need improvements to meet these more stringent regulations. Infrastructure improvements to meet this need can also translate to an increase in per unit costs. The city of Long Beach, Calif. is a prime example of this. Voters passed a ballot measure during the recent election in November 2008 called the “Long Beach Infrastructure Reinvestment Act.” This ordinance calls for a special parcel tax to account for much needed infrastructure updates. For multifamily property managers, this ordinance means an annual increase of $120 per unit. These types of tax increases that make up for old infrastructure unable to support current needs are likely to become a national trend, particularly in older cities.

Electricity and gas expenses are less of an issue since individual units receive services directly from the utility company and residents are responsible for the bill. Only the common areas shared by residents incur charges for the building. If an older structure still has master-metered electricity or gas utilities for the units, there are inexpensive sub-metering devices available that can help allocate the utility costs to the units.

With all of these increased utility costs, the challenge for property managers is significant in order to manage the increase without raising rents. As a result, Western National Property Management, like other multifamily property managers around the country, is working hard to implement cost cutting initiatives to manage the issue. Executing energy efficiency updates on property are a major defense against the rising costs of utilities.

There are steps that property managers can take to help manage the situation. Retrofitting plumbing is one effective tactic to curb the high cost of water. This involves the simple and inexpensive installation of devices that replace or modify existing plumbing fixtures to conserve water by restricting flow or displacing volume. Retrofitting is effective on toilets, showers and bathroom and kitchen faucets and there are incentives and rebates that can reduce the cost of these improvements.

Property managers can greatly decrease utility costs by changing top loading washing machines to front load or energy efficient machines. Many property managers find these more environmentally friendly and energy efficient machines pay for themselves in one year through the savings in both water and sewage costs.

Intelligent irrigation equipment is another solution to managing rising utility costs. Employing smarter landscaping in general will help conserve water and keep costs down.

Another very effective strategy to lower utility costs for apartment managers is sub metering. Submetering permits the measurement of utility use in individual units through a building-owned meter that is installed for each unit. Submeters are owned by the building, not by the utility company. This allows the building to continue purchasing its utility at the cheaper, commercial bulk rate, but each individual unit is billed directly by the utility company based on consumption. This strategy is very effective in reducing utility costs by encouraging individual conservation and ultimately increasing property value.

In the event of an increase in utility costs, residents are more likely to accept an increased bill for a utility whereas an increase in rent to cover these costs is often perceived as the property management company trying to profit from residents.

Alternate energy sources such as the use of solar panels may be seen with greater frequency in the future. Some utility companies do offer programs that involve the use of alternate energy sources to make properties more environmentally friendly and cut costs. However, many of these programs lack sufficient funding. In the current market, property managers are unlikely to participate in these programs without the promise of a guaranteed return.

As an industry, property managers are looking to each other to help weather the storm of the economic downturn. Rather than focusing only on the bottom line, many are looking to like communities to compare utility costs and what is driving them to determine the best practices for managing costs without increasing rents.

Organizations such as the California Utility Billing Services (CUBS) can help companies such as Western National Property Management and others make these comparisons and help managers implement allocation formulas and submetering programs to prepare and provide bills for residents that can remove that highly variable expense from the property overhead. This helps keep rents stable, increase conservation and provides residents with a direct influence over one of their living costs.

Con Edison Wants Another Rate Hike

Utility: Rising Property Taxes, Costs Of Maintenance And Shrinking Demand Reasons Behind Unpopular Decision

Lawmaker Demands State Public Service Commission Step In

NEW YORK (CBS) ― Consolidated Edison wants to hit you again.

After socking city residents with the biggest one-time rate increase ever just six months ago, the utility has quietly asked state regulators for a another hike next year -- anywhere from 5.8 to 7.3 percent.

That's almost double the size of the last one.

Bob Murphy is your average Astoria homeowner -- hard working, active in the neighborhood and trying to make ends meet while raising four sons. But he has a powerful problem. Con Ed wants another rate hike.

"I'm totally outraged," Murphy said. "It's going to have an impact on everything that we do. We're already cutting back on other things, essentials."

Murphy already saw his Con Ed bill soar to over $200 a month after the utility raised rates last April, the highest single rate hike ever. And he's already cutting corners.

"We're going to cut down on electricity, absolutely. I mean I have to say that even now when it's getting a little chilly out I haven't yet put my gas on because I have to just give them an extra blanket," Murphy said.

This time the utility really wants to zap you. It wants an extra $819 million next year. Last April's hike was $425 million.

Con Ed already has the highest residential electricity rates of any utility in the 48 contiguous states with more than 50,000 customers.

* The average price-per-kilowatt hour in Chicago is 12.23 cents.

* In Los Angeles it's 11 cents.

* In Philadelphia it's 14.83 cents.

* In New York City, Con Ed charges 23.70 cents.

Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, D-Queen, regularly battles the utility. He said it is time for the state Public Service Commission, which has to approve the rate hike, to just say no.

"We know Con Edison has no shame," Gianaris said. "We know they don't care about their customers. We've been through this with them for year after year after year. The group that has to step up here is the Public Service Commission."

Con Ed spokesman Movahel Clendin defended the need for a rate hike, saying the utility is facing rising property taxes, higher costs for maintaining its system and will suffer economic loses because demand is going down.

I have mentioned most of the tax advantages and discounts when you sign up to have your gas delivered by an ESCO in NY, but one thing I did forgot to mention is that you may have the option (with some ESCO's) to "Lock in" your rate or price per therm.!! This means instead of signing a month to month variable rate contract, you can sign a one year contract and "Guarantee" the price you will be paying per/therm for your natural gas. It doesn't matter if you are a commercial or residential user, this option should be available to you. I just locked in my rate for a warehouse I rent out for storage. I feel better knowing what my bill will be every month, rather than worry about hurricanes and other things that will affect natural gas pricing adversely.

Hit by Fuel Costs, Con Ed Projects Bigger Rise in Bills

Published: July 12, 2008

Con Edison is expecting to bill its residential customers in New York City and Westchester County 22 percent more for electricity this summer than last because of rising fuel costs, officials at the utility said on Friday.

A customer who uses 350 kilowatt-hours of power per month, a typical amount, would pay about $105, $19 more than a year ago and $8 more than an estimate at the end of May.

Business customers will most likely see their bills rise 25 percent, to an average of $2,893.08 a month.

The expected increase for June through September, detailed in an internal monthly memo and reported in The Daily News on Friday, is nearly twice the 13 percent increase that Con Edison had forecast. With natural gas prices rising and oil near record highs, the utility revised its estimates.

“It’s all due to rising fuel costs,” said Chris Olert, a spokesman for Con Edison. “We make no money on power generation. If we pay X cents per kilowatt-hour, our customers pay X cents per kilowatt-hour as well.”

Con Edison passes along its energy costs dollar-for-dollar to its 3.2 million customers, but makes money on the transmission and delivery of that power. The rates it can charge for transmission are set by state regulators in Albany; there was a 4.9 percent increase in April.

Though Con Edison routinely passes along its fuel costs, some lawmakers said that the utility’s executives should try harder to keep costs down.

“Con Ed is continuing to fleece taxpayers while giving exorbitant pay packages to its executives,” complained Eric N. Gioia, a city councilman who represents Sunnyside and other areas of Queens and is planning to run for public advocate next year. “New Yorkers deserve better.”

“In the past year, when the price of food, milk, rent and transit has gone up, New Yorkers can ill afford yet another price increase for their utility bills,” Mr. Gioia added.

According to a filing to securities regulators made by Con Edison in April, Kevin Burke, the utility’s chief executive, received $5.52 million in compensation last year, nearly $800,000 more than in 2006.

State Assemblyman Michael N. Gianaris, Democrat of Queens, said that when Con Edison gets approval from state regulators to charge more, it should explain to customers that different parts of their bills are rising at different speeds.

The average of the different categories, he said, gives customers the false impression that their bills are not increasing as fast.

I have been asked to supply the contact information of the representative who handled the accounts of the restaurants I had mentioned in an earlier post.

After speaking to my friend and then contacting the ESCO's representative to make sure it was ok and to get his permission.

I will post it for all who may be interested, just know in advance that this is for the Con Edison and KeySpan/National Grid territories in all of New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, parts of Westchester and/or Long Island.

I'm not sure how far upstate New York they cover at this time.
Gas Pricing
Everything will remain the same with the delivery and maintenance services you now receive. Your local utility (ConEd) will still deliver the natural gas and electric through their pipelines and wires. The safety and reliability you rely upon will not change. Your local utility (ConEd) will still handle any and all emergencies such as power outages or gas leaks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Face to Face Service – Being local to their customer base ensures a seamless transition while bringing aboard new customers, and servicing their existing portfolio. This is something not offered by National Grid/Con Edison.
Winter Cap Protection - This allows their customers to take advantage of their low adjustable rates, with the security of a pricing cap, which will protect you from common winter spikes in gas prices. This is something not offered by National Grid/Con Edison. 
One Year Price Locks - This allows their customers to lock in their price for an entire year. This is something not offered by National Grid/Con Edison.

Fax: (631) 595-2080

AmeriStar Energy, LLC

Fax both sides (all pages) of your present (ConEd) electric bill to the following:

Attn: BP

After receipt of your fax and analyzing your statement one of the reps in the office will contact you promptly.

As oil hits $110 per barrel and climate change reaches the mainstream conversation in both our consumer culture (carbon neutral products, hybrid cars, etc.) and political conversations (green collar jobs, cap-and-auction schemes, etc.) the issue of energy efficiency has once again become prominent. There is virtual agreement, among policymakers and economists, that efficiency is the low-hanging fruit for reducing carbon emissions and essential to any comprehensive approach to halt global warming.

read more | digg story

This is why I have said that it is imperative before signing up with an ESCO (especially an out-of-town ESCO) to ask a few questions. One of those questions would be about any early termination fees or switching (back) fees. Besides the question of if they have "consolidated billing" so I can still read the price per therm and therms used on the same bill I have always received from my local utility.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - - They were just looking to save money on their gas bill, but many western new yorkers ended up getting burned by independent energy services companies. Many victims Called 4 Action and now all those complaints are getting action.

read more

I went to the Con Edison and also the Keyspan website and found out the ESCO's that they recommend. I also wanted to find out what the consolidated billing was all about.

I found out that I could sign up with a local ESCO here on Long Island and that I would still receive my bill from Keyspan. The only difference the woman told me is that that on my Keyspan bill it would state the name of the ESCO that was actually supplying my gas. In my case I went with Ameristar Energy, not only because they have the consolidated billing which makes it easier to still receive my single bill from Keyspan, but they are located right here on Long Island.

They also had no long term contract for me to sign, no switching fees, no hidden costs and last but not least. They had the lowest cost per therm for the natural gas.

I have recruited some friends, business people and colleagues to do the same and will keep you posted on how much our savings actually come to each month on an individual basis.

Best regards,

There are numerous ESCO's to choose from in New York State. Many of them are from down south and out of state with an office in NY so that they seem as if they're a local company to you as a customer. The ESCO's that are the best to sign with have "consolidated billing", which means that after you sign up with them, you still receive your bill from the local utility company that you were originally with, being Con Edison in New York City and KeySpan on Long Island. The only difference you will see is that the bill will have the name of the ESCO you chose on the Con Ed/KeySpan bill stating that they are now supplying your gas and electric. Oh, and obviously your bottom line payment will be much, much lower. In fact depending on the ESCO you choose and what terms they offer, you will have upwards of 10 - 15% total savings monthly..!!
My local steakhouse/restaurant just signed with an ESCO and they burn alot of gas [Therms of gas]. The owner told me that he signed on a month to month basis and that he gets a variable rate per therm, depending on the price thats tied to the commodities exchange strike/close price. That is publicly listed information on the internet and on the Exchange website. Anyway, if a company promises you an unbelievably low rate and try to get you to sign a long term contract, beware.
My restaurant friend said that he knew and trusted the man who signed him up. The gentleman explained to him that after signing with an ESCO you will probably be called by a telemarketer offering you lower "teaser rates" to switch to them. He explained this to me and stated, "I will always provide to you the lowest price, but I cannot compete with liars.!!". Being an astute businessman myself, I understand exactly what he meant by that comment and appreciate his business philosophy.
There are many websites out there that can offer you help and answer any questions you may have. But like I previously stated, for your own convenience and simplified bookkeeping. The consolidated billing, [having one bill from Con Ed and KeySpan ] is great. The companies that have this are actually being endorsed by the local utility and are the ones you can truly trust.

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