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Changes to the energy markets

April 5, 2019
By Tom Jankowiak, Utility Management Group
Changes to the energy industry are a constant and require constant monitoring. It’s no secret that there’s been an influx of suppliers to the Illinois market, with every supplier trying to make its quoted rate appear to be the most attractive. Negotiating the lowest rate for a dealership may not always translate to the lowest cost, as one of the changes we’ve seen is to suppliers’ contract language. 
Those changes define, among other things, under what conditions the supplier may change its rate. While every supplier gives itself the right to change rates in the event of increases from Com Ed, the question becomes whether other reasonable changes are allowed or if they give themselves the option to offer a low rate just to attract your business, only to raise it at a later time. 
Regarding the natural gas market, every supplier has the option to offer three products: a variable rate; a fixed rate; and the option to store gas during the non-winter months, to be used during the winter months. All options have their benefits, depending on market conditions, which can vary from year to year. 
The suppliers we recommend offer the option to take advantage of all of those options. Many suppliers have eliminated a customer’s ability to store gas, an option that historically provides savings as well as budget certainty. Many of those suppliers are pushing customers towards one option: either riding the market completely or locking rates for 100 percent of their usage. Being limited to one option may be better and simpler for a supplier, but not for its customers.
These issues are ones that dealerships should consider when vetting suppliers. Since 2010, the Utility Management Group has been offering electric and natural gas programs sponsored by the CATA and will handle the supplier vetting for you, with the goal being to place dealers with a supplier which offers the best combination of price, service and billing accuracy. 
Our organization offers a number of benefits that you can review at However, two of the most important benefits we offer is monitoring the market for changes to supplier programs and vetting those suppliers for your dealership. UMG monitors those changes and the available solutions so that CATA members can concentrate on what’s profitable for them: running their dealerships. 
"As a recommended vendor of the CATA’s Member Benefits Program, UMG has managed the electric and natural gas accounts of our association office since 2013", said Chris Konecki, CATA executive vice president. "Because of our relationship with UMG, we have saved more than $29,000 in electricity costs and $7,200 in natural gas costs over that period. This has been one of the most successful programs we have instituted for our association since the Member Benefits Program launched. UMG takes the hassle out of buying utilities and allows me to concentrate on other business."  
Contact UMG at (630) 279-0117 to discuss your energy needs or to arrange a time to have a representative meet with you in person.