Electricity Maine & Maine Apartment Association Energy Panel

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.

On October 15, 2015, Electricity Maine joined energy experts from Central Maine Power (C.M.P), Efficiency Maine, and Wesco Distribution for a discussion about managing energy costs. Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, representatives talked about emerging technologies, efficiency lighting, rebate opportunities, and energy management and monitoring opportunities.

Electricity Maine discussed plans to offer a new Nights and Weekends plan that will allow residential and small business owners as well as property managers to pay a substantially lower rate during off-peak hours.  If you were not lucky enough to join us for the discussion, feel free to flip though some of the information that was presented.

Additional Energy Panels are planned in the coming months.  The next energy panel will be as part of Maine Biz’s Momentum Convention on November 11th and include representatives of ReVision Energy, Central Maine Power, Summit Natural Gas, and of course Electricity Maine.

 

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Behind the Headlines & Electric Utility Fees

It is always good to look beyond the headlines, they don't always tell the whole story. This Wall Street Journal story about electric utility fees is one example.

The Headlines Read:

A Wall Street Journal article from October 20, 2015 suggests that utilities are seeking to punish customers because of their efforts to conserve electricity. The article, well the research used to justify the article, is based mostly on a report published by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (in Chicago).

The Research Says:

The headline and report from the Chicago group are very misleading. Yes, 22 utilities have asked for higher fees. Yes, other utilities have suggested they may ask for increases. These fees though are not a result of consumers’ conservation efforts-they are fees associated with developing a smarter grid, infrastructure upkeep and associated costs.

From WSJ.com

What the article does point out and should be of concern, flat rate ‘fees’ that every consumer pays the same amount for disproportionately impact those who use less power. While most of our electric bill can be attributed to the amount of power we use (we pay a rate per kilowatt for supply and a separate rate per kilowatt for delivery), fees are fixed and not tied to usage

Bradley Klein, a lawyer for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, is quoted this way,

The result {of higher fixed fees} is that low-use customers pay more than in the past, and high-use customers pay less.

William Dornbos from the Maine-based Acadia Center (they promote clean energy) says high monthly fees reduce the portion of the bill that a customer has the ability to lower.

Fixed fees are unpopular because they disempower the customers and discourage investments in rooftop solar and energy efficiency.

To bring this full circle, the reality is:

• In both regulated and de-regulated states, utilities have fixed rate fees. Fess are usually related to costs associated with infrastructure and technology updates.
• Utility fees are the one part of your electric bill not tied to kilowatt usage.
• Fees are approved by regulators, consumers do have an opportunity to speak up and oppose (or support them) before enacted.
• Deregulated states, where consumers select their supply company, are not immune to these utility fees.
• Conservation efforts don’t cause these fees to increase; this is especially true in states with energy choice

A copy of the author's Central Maine Power bill showing "Fixed Delivery Fee"
A copy of the author’s Central Maine Power bill showing “Fixed Delivery Fee”

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Energy Panel: Energy Efficiency & What It Means for Your Properties

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter we are teaming up with energy experts to provide a forum to discuss energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

With electricity rates likely to increase this winter, Electricity Maine is teaming up with Central Maine Power, Wesco Distribution and Efficiency Maine to provide a forum for property owners and facility managers to discuss opportunities for energy conservation, energy management tools and the importance of shopping for electricity plans.

Sponsored by the Maine Apartment Association, topics will include lighting and appliance upgrades (whose costs can be off-set by Efficiency Maine rebate programs), smart grid technology offered through CMP and information about electricity choice in a deregulated market.

 

Fall Education Seminar

 

To purchase tickets or other information visit The Maine Apartment Association’s website.

Panelists scheduled to appear are Mark Whitney from Wesco, Rick Meiking from Efficiency Maine, Brianna Pierce from CMP’s Energy Management Program and Emile Clavet, Co-Founder of Electricity Maine/Provider Power.

This energy forum is just the first of several Electricity Maine will be participating in over the next few months.   Future energy panels will include similar discussions around energy choice, conservation, and rebate opportunities.  Panels are planned for Augusta/Kennebec Valley area, Mid-Coast, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn and York County.

 

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Midcoast Maker Faire (Powerful) Fun

This year Electricity Maine is one of the primary sponsors of the Midcoast Mini Maker Faire. At the Camden Public Library and adjacent Amphitheatre, Makers of all types will come together to show off inventions, creative ideas and good 'ole fashioned resourcefulness.

This year Electricity Maine is one of the primary sponsors of the Midcoast Mini Maker Faire.  At the Camden Public Library and adjacent Amphitheatre, Makers of all types will come together to show off inventions, creative ideas and good ‘ole fashioned resourcefulness.

If you have never been to a Maker Faire, I urge you to do so. Check out some highlights from the 2013 Faire.

MMMF 2013 from Camden Public Library on Vimeo

The Midcoast Maker Faire, like similar events across the globe are independently organized and operated under license from Maker Media, Inc.

Who goes to these events?  Who doesn’t!   215,000 people attended the two flagship Maker Faires in San Fransisco and New York in 2014.  A family-friendly event, 50% attend the event with children. In 2014, 119 independently-produced Mini and 14 Featured Maker Faires occurred around the world, including Tokyo, Rome, Detroit, and Oslo.

11960260_980770455313560_2169376875183896206_nIn August our sister company ENH Power sponsored a Maker’s Faire in Dover, New Hampshire.   Just as we did at that event, in Rockland we’ll be creating electricity using Play Doh.  Judy Vardamis, one of our Community Outreach Coordinators and Loren Lachapelle will

We hope you’ll join us in Camden.  For more information such as other presenters, sponsors, hours of operation (OK, it is 9/12 from 11am-3pm) and location (well, we already established it is at the Camden Public Library) visit their website www.midcoastmakerfaire.com.

 

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Simple Tips to Save Money & Energy Around the House

No more thinking or guesswork - Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each room in your home - and save money while doing so!

Have you ever wondered how you can cut energy costs depending on the room you’re in? Now, we take the thinking and guessing out of it. Here are some simple ways you can cut back on energy consumption for each major room in your home.

Save Money and; Energy Around the House

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CMP Warns Customers About Scam Phone Calls

Numerous media outlets are reporting that CMP residential and businesses customers are receiving call that they have missed a payment or a payment wasn’t processed properly.

Numerous media outlets are reporting that CMP residential and businesses customers are receiving call that they have missed a payment or a payment wasn’t processed properly.

Customers are told to buy a prepaid debit card and call another number with the card information.

Electricity Maine customers who have Central Maine Power should remember the following:

  • Neither CMP or Electricity Maine would ask customers to purchase debit cards to make payments. Any instruction involving such payment schemes should be considered a red flag.
  • To get a current account balance Visit http://www.cmpco.com and click on “Your Account” to get started. Complete information about payment options for your CMP account can be found here.
  • Do not make any payments over the phone to anyone who asks you to dial a different number.
  • Electricity Maine customers with questions about their account hould constact us at customerservice@electricityme.com or call 1-866-573-2674

Here are links to recent news stories:

Portland Press Herald

Maine Public Broadcasting

WCSH TV

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Are Automatic Bill Payments Driving Up Energy Use?

A recent study suggests those who use auto bill pay programs tend to not pay attention to how much power they use. The result, higher consumption and higher energy bills.

Across the Provider Power family of companies (Electricity Maine, ENH Power, Provider Power Mass) we take great pride in sharing ideas, tips and techniques to help you reduce energy consumption around your home and office. Let’s face it, regardless of how much you are paying per kilowatt for electricity, using less power is the best way to save on your power bill.

When was the last time you looked at your electric bill, do you know how how much power you are use every month? If you don’t know or haven’t looked at your electric bill, I wonder if it is because you participate in an automatic payment program.

A new study released by The Review of Economics and Statistics suggests customers who use automatic bill payment programs use more energy, and accordingly have higher bills, than those that aren’t.

While there is convenience for both the consumer and businesses, there may be an energy downside. More than 14 million monthly bills for 684,000 accounts (both residential and business) were reviewed. Those who participated in an auto pay program experienced a 4% increase in consumption. Newer participants in auto pay programs had a 6% increase in consumption. Businesses on an auto pay program use 8.1% more power.

There are a myriad of benefits to electric utilities, supply companies (such as us) as well as consumers to continue with automatic bill payments. Should we eliminate automatic bill payments? No. Should we pay closer attention to how much power we are using? Yes.  We shouldn’t allow the benefits of auto bill payments to supersede our responsibility to pay attention to energy usage.

In the “old days” we used to open our bill from our power company, write out a check and drop it in the mail.   According to the research, the hands off approach to paying our power bills, not reviewing the details or even look at our bill, has led to an out of sight/out of mind mentality.

Most utilities, especially those with an automatic bill pay options, offer the opportunity to review your power bill on line, including day by day usage details.

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Thanks to smart meters and smart grids, some of us are able to review energy use in real time (or close to real time). Central Maine Power customers are able to take advantage of CMP’s “Energy Manager”, customers are able to monitor energy use for the previous day.

Just as it took time for consumers to embrace the idea of auto payments, we should become more comfortable with and utilize the online resources available to us to monitor and track our energy consumption.

 

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Provider Power Targets Businesses With New Website

Providerpower.com/business is designed to help businesses across Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts navigate the complex world of electricity choice.
Provider Power helps businesses, schools, municipalities, and organizations of all shapes and sizes by giving them competitive electricity rate plans to help them manage their bottom line.

Provider Power, the Maine based parent company of Electricity Maine, ENH Power and Provider Power Mass, is pleased to announce the launch of providerpower.com/business.

The new site is designed to help businesses across Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts navigate the sometimes complex world of electricity choice.

Candace Sanborn, Provider Power’s Vice President of Marketing, says it was important for Provider Power to keep in mind the unique energy needs of small to medium businesses.  “As a mid-size New England company ourselves, we have an appreciation for the challenges businesses face with higher electricity costs than other regions of the country due to our weather patterns and lack of natural gas pipeline infrastructure. We share their concerns and are doing what we can in this space to help educate businesses about energy options and resources, as well as keeping them informed about the discussions and decisions that impact our region’s energy costs.”

The new Provider Power business website is designed to make shopping for electricity easier through a short intake process. “By asking a few simple questions up front we are able to move the process along quickly” says Sanborn.  After assessing energy use, depending on utility, Provider Power typically provides a quote within 3-5 business days.

With more than 200,000 residential and business customers across the Provider Power family of companies, has the systems, technology, experience and partners to accommodate businesses of any size.

To learn more about Provider Power’s business capabilities, visit www.providerpower.com/business.

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