Posted by John Hill on Mar 20, 2017
While some people dread winter’s icy temperatures, the thought of fresh, sparkling snowfall and staying indoors to keep warm brings others joy. However, most business owners, directors of operations and CFOs can agree that high natural gas rates are a serious drawback to winter.
With cold weather on its way, it’s time to start planning your energy budget in case temperatures plummet to record lows and natural gas rates skyrocket.
The right natural gas plan can help you save, but you also need a partner invested in meeting your budget goals. In the final installment of this series, find out what your energy provider should do to help you minimize high natural gas rates.
Your Natural Gas Provider Is An Essential Resource
The right natural gas provider will not only help you choose an energy plan, but also help you beat the utility rate in your area. For smaller customers, that could mean a rate that’s 24% lower.
Your provider will help you understand your territory and the utility company’s rates historically. Then, your provider should show you its average rates. Presented with both options, along with your provider’s fixed rate offer, you can make an informed decision about your energy plan.
Some smaller customers prefer the variable rate, which offers the market price of natural gas on a month-by-month basis. They recognize that an event like a polar vortex is an anomaly – it may be a smart move to take the risk and save more on energy costs throughout the rest of the year.
However, larger businesses should be more hesitant to take that sort of risk. Prices rise immensely if the weather turns frigid. With much larger loads, the potential costs are more significant.
Price structuring isn’t everything. Your natural gas provider should advise you to implement other cost savings strategies. For example, HVAC maintenance, lighting upgrades and thermostat control are vital to reducing energy costs.
Your natural gas provider should also help you take advantage of statewide commercial and industrial energy programs. For example, financial incentives are available in New Jersey for businesses that upgrade their heating and cooling, lighting and controls, and other energy systems through the NJ SmartStart Buildings program.
Small and medium-sized businesses also benefit from the Direct Install program, which pays up to 70% of the retrofit costs for replacing lighting, HVAC and other equipment to improve energy efficiency. Look for an energy provider that works as a participating contractor for Direct Install.
Through programs such as these, you can reduce your energy load, save on natural gas costs and receive funding for a more energy efficient future.
When Is The Best Time To Choose A Natural Gas Plan?
While there’s no guaranteed best time of year to lock up a natural gas plan, you should avoid the worst times, such as immediately after a harsh winter or large storm. In other words, don’t wait for the weather to drive up prices. You should act while prices are low.
Other market conditions may have an impact on your gas pricing as well. You must understand the options available to you today. To choose a plan at the opportune time, you need an Energy Advocate on your side. A trusted Energy Advocate will help you navigate the market and find solutions that not only meet your budget, but also control energy costs for the long term.
Ready to learn more about protecting your budget in the winter? Discover why natural gas rates rise in cold weather and how to choose the right pricing structure for your business.