Glacial Energy Blog

What’s the Difference: Fixed or Variable Rate Plans

The commercial and residential electricity market is full of choices that can save consumers money, time and hassle. The key to understanding these choices begins with understanding the basic rate plans that are offered by most electric companies: fixed rate plans and variable rate plans.

Fixed Rate Plans
A Fixed Rate Plan is a rate per usage (measured in kilowatt hours) that remains the same over the length of a contract. No matter what happens with the cost of energy, the amount you pay per kilowatt hour of electricity used will remain the same.

Benefits of Fixed Rate Plans:

With a fixed rate plan your electric bill will only go up or down according to your usage, something you control, not because of the cost of electricity, something you do not control. By selecting a fixed rate plan you will also save time by eliminating the need for researching ever-changing electricity rates, at least during the term of your contract.

Disadvantages of Fixed Rate Plans:
If electric rates decline and you are still under your current contract, you may end up paying more per kilowatt hour than other consumers.

If you worry that electric rates are only going to increase over time, a fixed rate plan protects you from price increases during the term of your contract. However, on the other hand, if electric rates decline, you will keep paying your higher, fixed rate until the contract expires.

Variable Rate Plans
A Variable Rate Plan usually has a low introductory price for a set, short period of time (such as 1 to 3 months). After the introductory price ends, your energy supplier is free to set the price at whatever rate they choose. The electricity market can be rather volatile, meaning that you may pay a different amount per kilowatt hour every month.

Benefits of Variable Rate Plans:

If you want immediate savings when energy prices decline, can afford to pay more if they rise or prefer the freedom to change plans anytime, a variable rate plan offers the best option for you.

Disadvantages of Variable Rate Plans:

If rates increase, so will the rate you pay. Although a variable rate plan offers more flexibility, you will need to spend time researching the market and comparing suppliers. Be sure to check your rate after the introductory period ends to be sure that you are getting the savings you expected. You can call your supplier’s customer service number any time to check your rate.

If you are someone that is always looking for the best deal, you keep up to date on how much you pay for electricity, and have the time to shop, a variable rate plan provides flexibility to move with the market and get the best price currently available. With a variable rate plan you must start with the assumption that electric rates will stay the same or go lower. (If you think rates may increase, think about selecting a fixed rate plan to avoid facing higher rates)

Deciding between a fixed rate plan and a variable rate plan for your commercial or residential electric needs is a personal decision. By knowing the differences in rate plans you can become a savvier consumer, and can save you more than just a few dollars.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com

 

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How to shop for the best electric provider

As a result of energy deregulation residential and commercial electric consumers in many states can now choose the company that provides them with a portion of their electric service, typically through a Retail Electric Provider, or REP.  The U.S. Energy Information Association has a detailed map that outlines electricity deregulation by state.

It is important to understand that consumers only have a choice as to a portion of their residential and commercial electricity service. The power lines that run down your street and into your home will still be operated by your local Transmission and Distribution Service Provider, or TDSP, and a Power Generation Company remains the actual power producer, running and maintaining the power plants. However, similar to choosing which company you use for your cell phone, consumers now may choose their electricity supplier.

To begin your search you will need to find your local electric utilities  “price to compare,� which is the price charged by your local utility for the portion of your service that is open to competition.  and your typical monthly electric usage.

Once you know your utility’s price to compare and your own typical monthly usage, you can begin to shop for your electric supplier.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com   I would like to find a sample utility bill in an area we service to show visually where the price to compare and the monthly usage would be found.

The heat is on: High summer temperatures and impact on energy usage

The summer months can be grueling, especially with triple-digit afternoons and no rain in sight. It shouldn’t be any surprise that weather is one of the most important factors affecting electricity demand, and electricity pricing.

In the residential and commercial sectors, heating and cooling account for more than 40 percent of end-use energy demand. As a result, energy consumption in these sectors can vary significantly from year to year, or season to season.

The seasonal pattern of energy and electricity consumption typically exhibits two peaks, in winter and summer. Higher temperatures in summer increase energy demand for cooling and add pressure to the electricity grid during peak periods of demand. This increase in demand typically means higher electricity prices.

Much like most other consumable goods, such as produce or dairy products, prices increase as demand increases and available items decrease. In other words, as we use more energy there is less energy available, making it more valuable.

One study estimates that a “heat island effect “ may be responsible for 5–10% of the summer peak electricity demand for cooling buildings in cities. The “heat island effect� occurs as urban areas develop, changing the landscape as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure replace open land and vegetation.

Although decreasing energy demand takes everyone, individual residential and commercial energy users can do their part, and even save some money. Some quick summer energy saving tips include:
• Turn up your thermostat – Set your thermostat to 78 degrees when you are home and 85 degrees or off when you are away. Using ceiling or room fans allows you to set the thermostat higher because the air movement will cool the room. Always take into account health considerations and be sure to drink plenty of fluids in warm weather.
• Be a speedy chef – Nothing is more energy efficient for cooking than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove, and produces a lot less heat.
• Fill up the fridge – Having lots of food in your fridge keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. So your fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to stay cool.
• Operating swimming pool filters and cleaning sweeps efficiently – reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to four to five hours, and only during off-peak time.

To learn more about energy saving tips, especially during the hot summer months, keep following this blog and be sure to “Like� Glacial Energy on Facebook.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business or cost saving opportunities for your home. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com

What’s so smart about Smart Meters?

Over the past year you may have heard something about smart meters on your local, or even national, news. Surrounded by misinformation, you, as a consumer, need to know the facts about smart meters, and how the use of smart meters can offer benefits ranging from saving money on your electric and natural gas bills to more reliable service.

The term smart meter usually refers to electric meters which keep detailed statistics on energy usage, but it can be used for gas or water meters. Each smart meter has a digital display and is similar in size to regular meters. Various types and models of smart meters are available, but all of them have the same basic functionality. Using a communications network, an internal antenna sends electricity consumption data to the electricity supplier.

The number of features available with a smart meter can vary. Another common feature, telemetering, can eliminate the need for suppliers to manually collect data by travelling to the location. Meters with this feature may also provide instant reporting of power outages and other issues, which enables the supplier to give a quicker response. A supplier can also use an energy smart meter network to monitor power for better balancing energy requirements during peak demand periods, such as hot summer days in areas where people use air conditioning.

For electric and gas customers, the smart meter offers detailed breakdowns of the energy you consume, which enables you to see energy usage patterns. Using this information, you can keep a check on your energy usage to save money and to reduce the overall power demand.

Many utilities are preparing helpful videos outlining additional details for roll-out and installation process. Check out a smart meter video made by Baltimore Gas and Electric.

Smart Meter 101 from BGE:

Benefits of Using a Smart Meter:

More Reliable Service
The use of more sophisticated meters is a major step towards improving energy services, such as decreasing the chances of power outages and other service interruptions. Also, by removing the need to send representatives to each household to collect readings, more representatives are available for important issues.

See Your Daily Energy Use
Using a smart meter allows you to become an active energy participant where we all can benefit from more reliable power, reduced carbon footprint and cleaner energy development. Monitoring your energy usage is as easy as going online to see a detailed history of your energy usage and costs, up to the previous day. You can view hourly electric consumption and compare your usage to last week, or even last year – valuable information you can use to make informed energy choices.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com

 

Glacial Provides Energy Choice across 22 States

During my time at Call Center Week in Las Vegas, I met with a number of companies that were a bit “outside the box� of what one might expect from such a show. I saw representatives from businesses in the education field, those who specialized in location services, and even one particular social gaming company. Perhaps the most unexpected company present, though, was one that specialized in the retail energy market, Glacial Energy.

I sat down with William Serratore, director of sales and marketing services at Glacial Energy, to talk about his presence at Call Center Week and to take the temperature of his company and see what is on the horizon in the alternative energy space.

Glacial Energy is a seven year-old company that relies heavily on trade shows for its networking, sending Serratore or other representatives to 50 to 60 shows a year. Generally, the company is looking for customers, channel partners and resellers. Right now it boasts over 50,000 customers in 22 deregulated states.

The company sells electricity, natural gas and green energy, and thinks of utility choice as reminiscent of telecom deregulation. Glacial offers easy, month-to-month agreements so clients do not need to make huge commitments and can cancel at any time. Serratore is hoping for nationwide deregulation, which will lead to cost savings for consumers. All politics aside, he feels it will happen soon.

One big initiative at Glacial is the pursuit of green energy. Customers can opt in to green energy with no CAPEX, buying from a consortium. They would then be eligible for renewable energy credits. The green energy is available from Glacial in tiers from 10 percent all the way to 100 percent.

Another big push for Glacial is its movement into the residential market. It is already active in Michigan and Ohio and is working on other states. The company is using an outbound call center to help build awareness, which is one of the reasons it was present at Call Center Week. See, it all comes together in the end…

About the Author- Rich Steeves is a TMCnet Web editor. He taught writing for nine years. He has also worked as an editorial assistant at Penny Publications. He has written short stories, newspaper columns, blogs and recently published his first novel. He attended The George Washington University where he received his bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in education.

The Business of Doing Business: Shopping for Electricity Providers

We all know that to make a business successful one must decrease expenses while increasing profit. In times where the economy seems to flutter with the wind, smart business professionals proactively explore ways to decrease monthly expenses. One expense that can save your business money each month is the amount you pay for electricity.

In a very competitive marketplace, energy deregulation has provided businesses better control of their business electricity costs. The deregulation of the Texas electricity market gave birth to the emergence of several retail electric providers all competing for subscriptions from both residential and commercial energy users in the state and in energy deregulated cities such as Houston and Dallas.

Unlike electricity management at home, businesses have more complex processes and operational needs for electricity that if not managed would find them dealing with extremely high energy costs that would eventually affect their bottom line.

When considering energy plans businesses should:

  • First, compare the cost of the plan you are considering to the cost of your current and additional plans
  • Ask potential suppliers:
    • What type of contract will I have? What happens when it expires? What happens if I break the contract?
    • What are my payment options? What happens if I’m late in making a payment?
    • What will I pay per “kilowatt hour” (kWh) of electricity based on 1,000 kWh of average monthly usage?
    • Does this rate include everything, including the electricity generation cost, the transmission and distribution charges, fuel charges, a monthly customer charge, or any other fees?
    • Do you offer a fixed or variable rate? If variable, how can it change and how do I find out when the rate change will occur?
    • Do you offer energy audit services to help consumers conserve energy or use energy smartly?
    • Make a decision that works best for your business

Although it may seem easy, now given the “power to choose�, selecting from over 50 retail electricity providers can be a daunting task; with businesses finding themselves at the losing end should they fail to choose the best provider for their needs.

Businesses may not have the resources available to have an independent study or analysis of the various retail electric providers offering commercial electricity before they switch and commit to the services of one. Aside from this, companies may have to deal with all the other elements in the very complex energy market such as new regulations, changes in fees, penalties, reduction of carbon emissions, etc. However, many resources are available to assist in this seemingly monumental task.

One such resource, electricity brokers, can come into the picture and help businesses find ways on how they can efficiently use electricity and help them minimize their energy costs. These brokers deal and negotiate electrical rates with retail electric providers for the benefit of the business. No matter what business or industry your company may be, electricity brokers can provide professional services using up-to-date information of the energy market in a bid to obtain the best commercial electricity deals for the company.

No matter if your business researches possible electricity suppliers independently or with the help of an electricity broker, be sure to take an active role in understanding the differences offered by the various electricity suppliers. As a well-informed professional, you will have the ability to make money saving decisions that you can stand behind.

About Glacial Energy- Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers selling electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated markets across the country. Glacial Energy has the resources and market knowledge to provide customized quotes for your business. Learn more about Glacial Energy by visiting www.GlacialEnergy.com

 

Glacial Energy Opens New Opportunity for Energy Savings to Detroit-area Residents.

If you’re a residential electric customer, you can now enjoy greater savings by switching to Glacial Energy.  In fact, you can receive your first month of energy  Free if you’re one of the first 5,000 people who sign up to become a Glacial Energy residential customer.

If you’re currently a Consumers Energy or Detroit Edison electric customer and want to make the switch to Glacial Energy, you may need to wait until after the cap is raised that would allow more customers from these utilities to reserve electricity from Glacial Energy.

While savings may vary among homeowners, Glacial Energy offers options that can mean substantially greater savings compared to the electric rates you currently pay.

“Glacial Energy’s move to service residential customers comes at a critical time for Michigan,� according to Terry Hart, Glacial Energy’s Senior Vice President for Michigan.  “With Glacial Energy, customers have a cost-competitive alternative to standard service.�

For more information, visit www.switchtoglacial.com

Glacial Energy Launches Residential Electric Service in the Detroit Edison & Consumers Energy Territories

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich., April 4, 2012—Glacial Energy—a Michigan
licensed alternative electric supplier (AES) and one of the fastest growing
alternative energy suppliers in the United States—today announced it has
launched a retail electricity program targeting residential customers in the Detroit
Edison and Consumers Energy service territories. Michigan residential electric
customers now have the opportunity to switch to Glacial Energy and potentially
enjoy greater savings. As a way of saying thanks for switching, the first 5,000
residential customers that sign-up and switch will receive their first month of
electricity free once they become Glacial Energy customers. For more
information, visit www.switchtoglacial.com.

Once a customer makes the switch, they do not become a Glacial Energy
customer immediately. Under Public Act 286, only 10 percent of the electricity
generated is available to the Electric Choice Program. This “CAP” applies to
both Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison independently. This means 90
percent of all electric customers, which include residential and commercial, buy
their power from either Consumers or Detroit Edison while the other 10 percent
are able to take advantage of being a customer of an AES.

Recently, legislation has been filed that would raise the CAP and allow more of
the utility’s customers to participate in their Electric Choice Program. If the CAP
is raised, residential customers who sign up could get their electric supply from
Glacial Energy.

Based on a household’s current energy needs, Glacial Energy offers options that
best provide for planning and potential cost savings. While individual savings
vary, homeowners may potentially save compared to rates being charged by
their electric utility.

“Glacial Energy’s move to service residential customers comes at a critical time
for Michigan;� said Terry Hart, Glacial Energy’s Senior Vice President for
Michigan. “Currently, Michigan has the highest utility rates in the Midwest and for
the first time ever, rates higher than the national average. With Glacial Energy,
customers have a cost competitive alternative to standard service.�

Glacial Energy is one of the fastest growing national retail energy suppliers in the
United States, currently supplying electricity and natural gas to residential,
commercial, industrial, and institutional customers in deregulated states
throughout the country. Visit www.switchtoglacial.com for more information on
switching to Glacial Energy as your alternative electric supplier.

What is Deregulation, and how did it come about?

Today, energy in many states is deregulated, with many options for businesses and consumers. This provides healthy competition within the energy industry among suppliers like Glacial Energy. For the first 100 years of Energy commercialization, the landscape was vastly different.   The energy industry was a monopoly controlled by utilities that supplied consumers with power at whatever price they wanted to charge.

The natural gas market saw competition introduced into the market in the late 1970s with the advent of deregulation. Consumers were now able to decide who they would buy their natural gas from, giving them the freedom of choice. The electricity market followed suit a decade later. Competition became possible largely when utilities were required to give third parties non-discriminatory access to their transmission lines.

Not all parts of the country have an open, competitive free market that allows businesses and institutions to choose their energy provider. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, only 15 states plus Washington, D.C. have active electricity restructuring as of September, 2010. More than 20 states now have natural gas deregulation programs.

What does deregulation mean for the energy industry, and your ability to shop for the rates you want? We’ll explain further in our next blog, “Deregulation: before and after, and why choice matters.�

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