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Homes and Community Renewal

2005-C-04: Energy Purchasing

To: Housing Authority Executive Directors/Managers
     Housing Company Managing Agents and Managers

From: Jane I. Berrie, Director Housing Management Bureau

Date: December 6, 2005

Subject: Energy Purchasing


On January 19, 2006, DHCR will sponsor a presentation on how to purchase electricity and gas from a supplier other than your utility company. These suppliers are known as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs). Our guest speaker will be Ms. Alice Miller of the Department of Public Service. This is a MUST conference for anyone who purchases energy for multi-family housing developments.

During the late 1990's, the utility industry in New York State changed when the Public Service Commission opened the utility industry to competition. This meant big changes for traditional utilities as well as the way we do business with them.

In the past, New Yorkers had no choice of who provided them with natural gas and electricity supply - the local utility was the only option. Today, energy bills consist of two parts - supply and delivery. Energy supply constitutes roughly 50% of an electric bill and 60% of a gas bill, and customers now have the ability to choose who will provide their actual supply of electricity and gas. The remaining portion of the bill covers the cost of delivering the electricity and gas, which will continue to be done through utility-owned wires and pipes.

The ability to choose a supplier of electricity or gas is known as Retail Choice, and this ability gives customers access to new energy suppliers. With choice come serious questions about how to evaluate proposed options. The goal of most customers is to get the most for their energy dollar. This includes obtaining favorable prices while at the same time obtaining useful value-added services.

There are now more than 70 ESCOs certified to do business in New York State. Each ESCO has its own system of pricing, billing options, and services. This gives customers an unprecedented range of options and allows them to find arrangements that meet their specific needs. However, choosing among all the available possibilities can feel like an overwhelming task.

Many housing companies have been approached by ESCOs and others with proposals that are often vague and difficult to understand. In order to assist managing agents and housing company representatives authorized to purchase energy, DHCR is pleased to offer this presentation by Ms. Miller. The session will help you make sense of the information being presented and will assist you in sorting through the choices so that you can arrive at a decision that makes sense for your situation. The session will be approximately two hours and will include the following topics:

Ms. Miller has worked for the Department of Public Service for the last 24 years and has experience in tariff and rate analysis, review of utility operations, evaluation of consumer issues, and strategic planning. She is currently Chief of the Policy and Consumer Education Section in the Office of Retail Market Development.

The presentation will be held in Room 510, 25 Beaver Street, and will start at 10:30 AM. Since space is limited, attendees will be required to register by contacting Elliot Ashrey by e-mail at eashrey@nyshcr.org, or by completing the information below and returning it to him by Fax at 212-480-7270.

-Jane I. Berrie



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Last updated on 06/01/10