May 27, 2011 - This week Centerpoint returned to our job site and approved the changes we made to the main electrical service boxes we built for the new building. The installation of the three electric meters took just over an hour to do. We had been using power from the temporary electric pole we set up back in February. Every morning we would have to drag out 100' of heavy electrical wire and literally plug it into an outlet on the pole for power. When the Centerpoint electrician flipped the switch - everything worked perfectly!
We have Brian, Alan and Lalo to thank for that. Lalo, a licensed electrician, began working with us last month and has gone over every inch of wire in the building to make sure it works as designed. He has made a number of improvements over our original plans, and I would say we are about 80% done with the electrical work on the building. We have a lot of fixtures and emergency lighting to do, but that is relatively easy work compared to what has been done.
While getting power to the building felt great, being able to buy that power at the lowest possible rates is even better. We were able to do that through the help of Frank Eakin, the president of Electricity Club. We have known Frank for many years. He has a background in the energy industry and launched a unique buyer's club that uses its research and members' purchasing power to procure electricity for businesses and homeowners at significant reductions.
With energy deregulation, we have the choice in selecting from a number of retail energy providers. We typically check our rate about once a year, and switch when it makes sense. Since we have been busy with our building, I had not checked the rates from our current provider for some time. Frank called and asked if he could come by and take a look at our bill and our meter (turns out sometimes the meter for a building is not sized properly and that can result in higher bills).
Trying to understand all the charges on an electric bill can be confusing, but Frank quickly pointed out some things he felt we were overpaying for. Then he went to work to save us money. Membership in Electricity Club is free and Frank simply charges a percentage of the net savings he produces for clients. Thus, his incentive is to save the client as much as possible and it's risk free (the same kind of model that has been successfully used for real estate tax assessment). How can you lose?
Electricity Club also provides auditing services and Frank found that our business would be eligible for sales tax exemptions offered by the State of Texas for our industry (and most manufacturers). The state requires that a certified Professional Engineer (PE) conduct a "Predominant Use" study to determine whether a company is eligible, and the club has an engineer who provides this service -- again, with no up-front fees and based on a "shared savings" arrangement. After concluding that we would qualify, the PE provided us with a form that has his seal on it, which will be sent to the state. After state approval, all future sales taxes on our electric bill will be eliminated, and we will likely receive a rebate for the taxes paid on our electric bills over the past 4 years! I am telling all my business friends about Electricity Club.
So now our building has power and we are buying it at a great price. That's sweet!
Posted by on May 28, 2011
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