DEREGULATION
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THE DEREGULATION OF THE NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY AND OTHER UTILITIES

   In the fall of 1999, Illinois implemented the deregulation of electricity. We suggest “buyer beware” when buying deregulated electricity. Watch out for stranded costs which are tacked onto your local utility bill. In fact, the cost may be higher if you compute your bill by the supplier of electricity, plus the bill you receive from the local electric company for delivery charges and additional electricity. To assure savings, get your supplier to guarantee in writing annual savings in comparison to your local utility company. Check if you can merge the meters or consolidate the meters on one bill. Please check with your local electric company to verify if electricity has been deregulated. As time progresses, other states are deregulating electricity and gas. We recommend to look for tariffs & rates that are most beneficial for you.

  Due to intensive competition in the telecommunications industry, many consumers complain of unauthorized switching by carriers and erroneous fees that were not disclosed properly to the consumer. We recommend that consumers request in writing specific proposals enumerating all charges and fees, including taxes and pic fees. It is important to receive in writing from your prospective carrier the percentage of guaranteed savings in comparison to your current carrier for local and long distance. If possible, get your prospective carrier to put in writing that you will receive lower rates as the industry reduces its rates and becomes more competitive. Caution should be exercised before switching to other local carriers to insure a proper infrastructure sufficient to handle emergencies in case of interruptions. Also, have the carrier assure you the switch will be painless, and check out the cancellation costs.

  In selecting a telephone system for your company, verify the integrity of the manufacturer and the installer, and check out previous performance of the system. Make sure it is reliable, has good customer support, can be upgraded, has options for growth, and can keep up with advancing technologies. Also make sure the installer can meet its' installation time-table.

  For your cellular needs, you should ascertain your monthly usage, the areas you travel in, what type of calls you are making (local, long distance, international, & roaming). Then shop for the carrier that provides you with pooling of minutes, discounts on multiple phones, and discounted interstate and international calls. Check on reception in the areas in which you travel, whether you can switch programs monthly, and cost of service cancellation. (Be aware that when a carrier offers you a free or discounted cellular phone, you are paying for it via a signed long service contract.)

  In the past two years, consumers have been searching for faster internet access. Many companies are offering Cable Modem, Satellite Modem, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), and T-1, Frame Relay, & ISDN for commercial customers. Verify that you get the service most appropriate for you, eliminate unused phone lines, and do not overexpand.

 

   Be advised you should require your prospective provider to submit a detailed proposal listing specifically the cost of equipment, cost of installation, and the cost of modem and hook-up to your PC and/or Network Server. The company should also provide monthly charges, download speed, upload speed, whether it is upgradable, the terms of contract, and the cancellation costs. (Watch for DSL data & voice coming soon, and fast wireless broadband Internet connections.)

  In closing this article, we will enumerate various energy conservation methods:
1. Lighting retrofit and micro-fluorescent
    bulbs
  a. Watt stoppers, motion sensors, timers,  
    photo cells, low resistance wires, low
    heat circuit breakers, gas heat, gas hot
    water heaters, and boosters.
2. Energy efficient motors, pumps and
    compressors.
3. Energy management system (building
    automation)
  a. Electric demand meters with recording
    device, sub metering, power conditioning
    and/or energy filtering and surge
    protectors, sophisticated computerized
    boiler controls. Humidifiers in winter and
    Dehumidifires in summer.
4. Gas air-conditioning and cooling.
    (Environmentally friendly) gas powered
    motors
5. Co-generation - for electricity generation,
    peak-shavers and/or power back-up.
  a. Solar energy (Wind energy, Wave
    energy, Geothermal energy.)
  b. Compressed Natural Gas for vehicles
  c. The use of compressed gas for alternate
     supply and/or back-up
6. Thermal windows (caulking &
    tuckpointing) proper insulation.
7. Thermal roofing (reflecting paint)
8. Energy efficient boilers
  a. Proper venting of flames, preventive
    maintenance, a constant calibration of
    controls, proper sensors, clean air ducts
    and verify the appropriate size of flow
    and return ducts fresh air circulation and
    exhaust.
9. HVAC systems, fresh air intake and
   exhaust systems
10.Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
11.Utilizing the run-off of rain water for
     watering lawns, water-cooled
     air-conditioning, toilets and laundry.
  a. Checking leaking pipes (water, faucets,
    toilet tanks, steam and return pipes)
12.The auditing of utility bills for electric,
   gas, telephone (local, intralata intrastate,
   interstate, international, and cellular) and
   water (sewer, and the use of rainwater)
 

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