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In the fluctuating energy market, CFOs stand at the vanguard, steering their businesses through turbulent costs and emerging sustainability demands. Highlighting the significance of adaptive strategies in energy management, Time showcased how companies are seizing new opportunities under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act to enhance sustainability and financial performance. This approach underscores the critical role of mastering energy contracts as key business strategies, especially for CFOs tasked with navigating today’s energy landscape to secure operational efficiency and financial robustness.

The Why of Energy Contract Review

In the rapidly evolving energy market, staying ahead requires a proactive approach to managing your energy contracts. Here’s why keeping a close eye on your energy agreements in both regulated and deregulated states is critical:

  • Lowering Costs on Energy Expenses
    In the wake of escalating energy prices, scrutinizing your energy contract for cost-saving opportunities is more than prudent — it’s essential. Businesses that actively manage their energy contracts can leverage market conditions to negotiate favorable terms, directly impacting their bottom line.
  • Reducing Environmental Impact
    A sustainable energy contract aligns with the growing trend towards eco-conscious business practices. Opting for renewable energy sources or energy-efficient solutions not only mitigates your environmental footprint but also enhances your brand’s reputation.
  • Ensuring Contractual Compliance
    Regular contract reviews guarantee that your energy supply meets the agreed terms, protecting your business from unforeseen charges and ensuring service quality.
  • Optimizing Energy Use
    Understanding your contract facilitates the adoption of new technologies and practices to enhance energy efficiency, contributing to long-term cost reductions and operational improvements.

Navigating Contract Terminations in Deregulated Markets

The flexibility of deregulated markets presents businesses with unique opportunities and challenges in managing their energy contracts. ePro+ energy management experts share how to navigate these waters effectively:

  • Strategic Timing for Contract Review
    It’s vital to not wait for a contract’s expiration approach before initiating a search for renewal options, according to Bretton DeNomme, ePro+’s resident expert.

    “The key is to be in the market continuously,” DeNomme explained. “At ePro+ we are pricing accounts monthly while a client is on an active supplier agreement so that we don’t miss an opportunity in the market. Suffice it to say, we don’t manage our customers’ expenses based on a calendar.” 

    The key is to initiate this by building a pricing history with suppliers at least six months from contract expiration, and up to 18 months from contract expiration when favorable market conditions exist, advises ePro+ Senior Director, Phil Ferber.

    “One of our core ethos’ at ePro+ is to avoid the ‘traditional’ contract management cycle of ‘contract, renewal, contract, renewal,’ with no real ‘why’ behind the timing of renewals other than the fact the contract is expiring,” Ferber said. “Our active management approach ensures that no favorable market conditions pass our clients by intra-contract. We execute sound contract strategies based on energy market knowledge and conditions.”
  • Breaking Free from Unfavorable Contracts
    Should you need to exit an energy contract prematurely, most providers stipulate terms for early termination, usually involving a fee. However, this doesn’t mean you’re trapped. With strategic guidance from ePro+, navigating these waters to find a contract that aligns with your current needs becomes significantly less daunting.
  • Adapting to Market Fluctuations
    When energy rates decline, businesses might consider terminating their current contracts to capitalize on lower rates. ePro+ can provide the expert analysis needed to make this decision, balancing potential savings against termination fees and new contract terms.
  • Relocation Considerations
    Moving your business doesn’t necessarily mean incurring early termination fees. Most providers accommodate address changes within their service area, potentially allowing you to transfer or even renegotiate your contract based on new local rates.

Fixed vs. Variable Rate Plans: A Strategic Choice

The choice between fixed and variable rate plans hinges on market projections and business needs. Fixed-rate plans offer stability, ideal for businesses seeking budget predictability. In contrast, variable rates might benefit those willing to navigate market fluctuations for potential savings.

“Fixed-rate plans are renowned for their stability, offering businesses a consistent rate for electricity over the term of the contract. Companies can budget energy expenses without worrying about market volatility as a result of this predictability. In areas where energy prices are expected to rise, such plans protect businesses,” explains DeNomme. “However, this stability comes with a trade-off; if market prices fall, businesses locked into a fixed-rate contract may end up paying more than the current market rate, missing out on potential savings.”

Variable-rate plans, on the other hand, offer flexibility by tying electricity rates to market prices. This can reduce costs during low demand or energy price drops. Businesses with a higher tolerance for risk and the capacity to monitor market trends can leverage variable rates to achieve cost savings. However, this approach requires proactive energy management to avoid price spikes during high-demand periods or energy price increases. Variable-rate energy costs can make budgeting and financial planning difficult for businesses that prefer stable overhead costs.

Each option presents a strategic choice that depends on a company’s risk tolerance, financial flexibility, and ability to actively manage or predict energy costs. Ultimately, understanding the nuances of fixed versus variable rate plans enables businesses to make informed decisions that align with their energy consumption patterns, financial goals, and capacity to manage market risk.

Mastering Energy Contract Management: A Necessity in Today’s Market

With the landscape of energy costs evolving, as noted by Statista, proactive energy contract management is not a luxury but a necessity. ePro+ stands as a beacon for businesses navigating this complex domain. By conducting biannual energy management reviews, ePro+ ensures that your contracts remain aligned with market dynamics and your business objectives, safeguarding against surprises and inefficiencies.

Leading the Charge in Energy Efficiency and Strategic Planning

In the ever-changing energy market, ePro+ emerges as the comprehensive one-stop shop for energy efficiency services. Our commitment to providing ongoing contract performance insights means our clients are never caught off guard by their energy bills. With ePro+, businesses can rest assured that they’re partnered with industry professionals dedicated to securing the most advantageous rates and terms — and positions your organization for enduring success and resilience.

Contact an ePro+ Management Service expert today to reduce energy costs,optimize the future, and thrive in any market.