Toby Slocum has some pretty straight forward advice for any commercial business owner when the discussion turns to electrical costs.
“What we tell customers is, you should shop your rate,” says Slocum, Energy Program Manager for GEM Energy.
Slocum and Glenn Powers, Energy Efficiency Manager at GEM, spoke last month at a breakfast meeting of the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce.
As part of his responsibilities, Slocum assesses the electrical bills of businesses and recommends a third-party provider that will save the user money by switching.
“I’m what you might describe as a sales agent for five different electricity suppliers,” he said. “First Energy Solutions, Duke Energy in Cincinnati, Dayton Power and Light, Constellation, and AEP are the ones we are currently using.”
He’s confident he can beat rates being offered through aggregate agreements such as the Northwest Ohio Aggregation Council.
“Everybody has a profile and size of usage and certain suppliers are good for small customers, certain suppliers are good for mid-size customers, and certain suppliers are good for large customers,” Slocum said. “The worst thing you can do as an end user is get into a government aggregation program. They are generally set at a discount to the tariff rate. In NOAC, 4 percent off the tariff price (the price at which electricity is sold) is what you would get.”
Slocum said he currently has about 225 customers, including some that have facilities in more than one state such as chain restaurants, commercial office buildings, industrial facilities, and even churches.
“We’re not doing too much with customers that use less than 100,000 kilowatt hours,” he said.
His reviews of utility bills are free.
“When I look at your utility bill and you’re already in a contract with a supplier, if it’s a good price I’m going to tell you. A lot depends when you contracted, If you entered into a contract in the summer of 2011 you probably didn’t get as good a price as you would in the summer of 2012,” Slocum said. “Over the last 3 ½ years we’ve seen where prices have gone every month. Some are better and some are worse.”
(Slocum analyzed the bill for The Press office and found Dayton Power and Light could offer a lower rate over the next 12 or 24 months than FirstEnergy Solutions.)