(Blog post derived from The Columbus Dispatch)
“There was big energy news today that American Electric Power (AEP) plans to close a coal-fired power plant near Beverly, Ohio, that had been slated for conversion to run on natural gas. The Columbus-based utility said yesterday that Muskingum River Unit 5, with a capacity of 585 MWs, will stop operating in 2015. The company is taking that action at a time when wholesale electricity prices remain low, and Ohio’s power demand has been close to flat.”
Teresa Ringenbach, Senior Manager, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Direct Energy, comments: As coal-fired power plants age and new environmental rules are put into place, it is likely some plants will be shut down. However, just like any other industry where new technology replaces the old, new plants will be built if and when they are needed. In fact, many new plants are already approved and several new plants went online in PJM over the last few years. There are federal, state, and regional reliability protections for customers to ensure the lights stay on. Lastly, competitors such as Direct Energy have the capability to offer innovative products designed to allow customers the flexibility to save money even if market prices increase. Read the July 12 article from The Columbus Dispatch.
(Post derived from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
There was big energy news this week that FirstEnergy will be deactivating two coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania – 1,710 MW Hatfield’s Ferry power station in Masontown, Greene County, and the 370 MW Mitchell plant in Courtney, Washington County. One reason is the cost to comply with EPA’s mercury and air toxics standards. Another is the cheap price of natural gas nudging coal generation to the side. And a big part of it is the lack of demand for electricity. Direct Energy comments.
As you may know, the State of Arizona is reviewing whether to open the electric market to consumer choice. A competitive electric market will give Arizona families, businesses and government entities the right to shop for their electricity. This move will advance our electric market and economy, and the time is now.
The following are some benefits of electric competition:
- Delivers competitive pricing to electric consumers
- Empowers residential and business customers with choice and reliability
- Creates jobs and foster innovation
- Promotes renewable energy use
- Improves efficiency and customer service at utility companies
The Arizonans for Electric Choice & Competition’s (AECC) mission is to promote a fair and competitive electricity market for the benefit of all Arizona consumers. I encourage you to visit AECC’s new website AZelectricity.com to learn more about the issues and to show your support for consumer choice. Your support will make a difference.
An effective energy management strategy is essential for all businesses. Direct Energy VP Mike Senff recently shared insights on energy management with the restaurant industry. His tactics are valuable examples that can be applied to all businesses.
Full-service restaurant owners should not overlook one of the simplest ways they can positively affect their bottom line: managing their energy costs. By understanding where and when your restaurant consumes energy, management of this key expense can give you a competitive advantage.
When considering how to best manage energy costs, it is important to understand that each company has a unique energy usage pattern. Different offers exist to suit consumption profiles that vary over time (versus those with more predictable consumption patterns). In addition, a company’s risk tolerance can help dictate how much of its energy usage it is prepared to expose to wholesale market fluctuations, and how much it would like to lock in to certain pricing and for what period of time.
Many people don’t realize that some of the components to their electricity spend are demand-based. Demand is the highest instantaneous usage during a period of time. Think about it this way: this morning you may have driven to work and during that trip, you covered a certain distance and averaged 25 mph. It is unlikely that you were at 25 mph the entire time because your speed fluctuated. You may have reached 35 mph, which in this example, can be thought of as your peak demand. Just as the road has to be sufficient enough to meet your peak driving demand, the electrical infrastructure has to be sufficient to meet your peak electrical demand. The greater the difference between your average consumption and your peak consumption, the more expensive on a per mile or per kilowatt basis it is to build and maintain that infrastructure.