Is There an Alternative to the Local Utility Monopoly?

energy savingsHow many times have you looked at your electric bill and wished that there was an alternative to increasing costs. Local utility companies seem to know that they have you backed into a corner; if you can’t afford or don’t want to use their services, you have little recourse but to build a windmill or live by candle light. Have no fear, there’s a new hero in town, thanks to the deregulation of utility companies and the rise of energy savings companies, or ESCOs. These companies are comprised of either commercial enterprises or non-profit businesses that provide a range of energy- and cost-savings solutions to consumers over a wide geographic area. These services may include:

  • Retrofitting
  • Creating energy saving projects
  • Power generation
  • Infrastructure
  • Risk management assessments
  • Energy conservation measures

What Are the Benefits of an ESCO?

The main benefit to using an ESCO is the shared savings component. All of the financial risk is born by the ESCO during the implementation phase, and all equipment is owned and maintained by them. This saves municipalities the financial burden of purchasing and maintaining equipment and developing infrastructure. However, the resulting savings are shared between the client company, the ESCO, and the consumer. Savings are guaranteed by the service provider up-front, so there’s no risk to the client. If the system doesn’t perform as promised, the ESCO pays the difference.

Due to the size and geographic range of the ESCO, they’re able to supply energy to their clients at great savings. Think of it as being like group insurance. The more customers who are enrolled in a plan, the lower the cost for all. Their funding and reach also allows them to explore, develop and invest in energy conservation measures that are eco-friendly and innovative, and provide this technology to their customers.

Many ESCOs offer customer incentives, like rewards and points systems, to attract and retain customers. There have been times when deregulation was seen as a bad thing. In the case of ESCOs, there are a number of advantages to the consumer and the environment, and very little risk. This practice is wide-spread in Britain, and in the United States, companies like Palmco are stepping into the third-party energy service business. Check in your area to see if this service is available and beneficial for you.

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