The ABO/FirstService Energy Aggregation Purchasing Program offers ABO members an exceptional opportunity to join over 300 FirstService Residential managed properties in achieving energy cost savings.
The FirstService Energy Aggregation Purchasing Program leverages the combined energy utilization of properties managed by FirstService Residential to successfully negotiate lower-than-standard rates for natural gas and electricity from local utilities—enabling clients to pay considerably less.
When aggregated groups purchase large blocks of energy, they can benefit by negotiating discounted prices. In the last three years, participating buildings have saved millions of dollars in electricity and natural gas costs compared to rates charged by Con Edison and National Grid.
Participating properties receive a “FirstService Energy Aggregation Tracker Report,” which includes a month-over-month comparison of the supply costs through the FirstService Energy program versus the supply charge if utilities were purchased directly from the providers during the same period.
Fast Facts About the FirstService Energy Aggregation Purchasing Program
- Properties that are part of an aggregated group remain customers of their natural gas or electric utility company.
- Each building is quoted its own price based on its load profile while also benefitting from reduced supplier margins and other expenses.
- Buildings can choose a variable (index plus adder) contract or a fully fixed contract.
How Procurement Works
Energy prices fluctuate constantly, which can significantly affect your property’s energy bill and performance against budget. By taking a proactive approach to buying energy, you can better control your costs.
FirstService Energy specializes in purchasing energy on behalf of properties managed by FirstService Residential. We can lead you to strategic energy procurement that ensures you’re getting the best value for your energy dollar. We identify strategic sourcing opportunities by constantly monitoring market dynamics to identify the best possible purchase opportunities.
FirstService Energy will review your past energy invoices to identify current energy purchasing options and issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to purchase energy for one of three reasons:
- Market dynamics present an opportunity
- Regulatory or supplier entrances/exits change options
- Upcoming contract expirations require action
After your property indicates a willingness to participate in an RFP, we will send the energy load to the supplier community. Our energy experts review all responses and recommend the best option based on key factors like pricing, contract terms, product structures and credit conditions. Once you approve a recommendation, we will handle the transactional process and complete all legal documentation.
If your property is interested in procurement services, please email us at [email protected].
Frequently Asked Questions
Deregulation gives consumers the opportunity to purchase electricity and natural gas from competing suppliers. The local utility no longer has a monopoly covering a geographic territory. Consumers in the utility’s service territory can choose to purchase electricity and/or natural gas from other sources, but do not have to do so. The local utility will still deliver the electricity to you, service the lines, and render the bills. The local utility will continue to be paid by all customers in its service territory a monthly fee (tariff) for the delivery, servicing, and billing functions.
Each Energy Service Company (ESCO) requires that you enter into a contract/agreement for the purchase of electricity and/or natural gas. Though pricing is based on all buildings in the group, each building is party to a separate contract. Generally, a contract reflects the pricing, terms and conditions that apply to each participating member. Note that if you choose the Index plus adder contract, rates will fluctuate with the market just like Con Edison. However, we have seen that the rates you will be charged will be less than Con Edison’s rate.
The contract must be executed by each member of the aggregation group. The Authorization Form will give the ABO Executive Director, Dan Margulies, permission to contract on your behalf to ensure timeliness and optimal savings.
All contracts are for a 12-month term with the Fall Aggregation beginning October 1 and the Spring Aggregation beginning June 1.
There is no cost to your building for this service, although FS Energy does receive a brokerage fee from the procurement companies. This small fee covers administrative costs for FS Energy to run the program and is paid to directly to FS Energy by the energy suppliers.
Your building will benefit from aggregated purchasing power. In addition to a small reduction in sales tax, your building will benefit from the removal of the Merchant Function Charge (an administrative expense charged by the utility that you are currently paying as a result of buying your supply from them).
Clients who opt-in will be enrolled for a period of one year for electricity and/or natural gas. Following the one-year contract, you will be given an opportunity to opt-in again or to opt-out. You also have the option to enter into a contract that is longer than 12 months.
The blended rate that we will be contracting for will be variable in nature like the Con Edison rate. However, FS Energy will be minimizing the risk by locking in the “adder” portion (Ancillaries and Capacity charges) and buying index energy at the wholesale rate which will be tied to the NYMEX. While one portion (the energy portion) will float at the market and fluctuate, the adder portion will be fixed at a lower rate. Additionally, the other part of the savings will come from the aggregated way in which we are negotiating the rate. As part of the contract term, you have the option to lock-in a 100% fixed product at any time during the contract term.
If your building would like a report of its savings vs. the Con Edison rates, you must authorize FS Energy to access your Con Edison account online. It will take eight months to receive your first report, which will include six months of data.
FS Energy is owned by FirstService Residential. FS Energy advises clients of FirstService Residential on ways to reduce energy consumption, costs and emissions while improving property values and quality of life. FS Energy’s goal is to deliver both savings and stability to ABO members and FirstService Residential properties. To that end, FS Energy is focused on a long-term approach to the energy market as well as short- and long-term savings. Other energy consultants are focused on short-term offers.
One of the hallmarks of energy deregulation is that consumers are free to make their own decisions, and all the factors involved should be carefully weighed. The difference in purpose between FS Energy and other energy consultants is certainly one of those factors. Clients have already experienced major advantages in the Energy Aggregation Purchasing Program. Our unique market position and the vast size of our portfolio are major factors in FS Energy’s ability to negotiate an attractive rate and lower prices.
FS Energy will create two aggregated Requests for Proposals (RFP) – one for electric, another for gas – that will include the energy needs of all participants enrolled in the program. After two rounds of bidding, a vendor will be selected based on the most cost effective pricing for each individual property. Customer service also will be considered. ABO Executive Director Dan Margulies will sign the individual contracts for ABO members on the day of the purchase.
If you choose the Index plus adder contract option, the contract will be a variable rate contract for a 12-month term. However, at any time during the contract term, you have the option to fix the contract for the remainder of the term. This is one of the flexible options FS Energy has negotiated on behalf of ABO members.
FS Energy cannot guarantee savings for your property. However, FS Energy has demonstrated exceptional energy procurement capabilities and has saved a substantial amount for many buildings already. We anticipate that these savings will continue.
If you choose a new supplier, your local electric or natural gas utility will continue to deliver the power or gas to your property. Your local electric utility will also continue to maintain and repair the poles and wires. The New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) will continue to oversee the safety and reliability of your service.
No. When natural gas was deregulated in the 1980s, utilities became obligated to support customers who opted to purchase their natural gas from third party suppliers. The primary function of the utility is to take the electricity or natural gas that has arrived from the supplier at the utility receipt point and redeliver it to the customer’s facility.
Natural Gas: The program only includes Con Edison firm and interruptible accounts, and National Grid firm accounts for heating gas only. Cogeneration accounts are not included in this program.
Electricity: All electric accounts not already on an ESCO contract are eligible for the program. Electric accounts on an ESCO contract will be part of the aggregation but are handled differently to avoid any contractual issues.
All suppliers (ESCOs) are New York State Public Service Commission approved, and each contract is stand alone. FS Energy will be negotiating as flexible a contract as possible for this type of program.
The process is seamless and you will not even notice when the new supplier begins. You do not need any new equipment, meters, or account numbers – all of that stays the same. The only difference is that you will pay a competitive supplier for the electricity you consume rather than pay the local utility. Thousands of consumers change suppliers every day and during the past decade, literally millions of end-users have taken advantage of deregulated markets and transferred electricity service to competitive suppliers.
Nothing changes. The same local utility service team will be dispatched to service the power lines and turn your power back on under the same protocols that have existed for years. Your local utility is still responsible for all aspects of delivering and servicing your power. Your property, along with all other consumers in the utility’s service territory, pays a tariff amount every month to the utility for the delivery and servicing of the wires. In fact, the local utility is indifferent as to what supplier a customer uses. It delivers the electricity through its wires just as it always has. Further, the utility does not even know which of its delivery customers are using competitive suppliers.
All contracts will be reviewed by FS Energy and may include the following provisions:
- Term – States the dates the contract is in effect and any renewal provisions; states if renewals are automatic or need subsequent approval.
- Pricing – Establishes the price per energy unit (kWh, therm, ccf, MCF) and notes how taxes are treated, as well as any other potential fees or charges.
- Termination – Specifies the conditions under which the contract can be terminated.
- Assignment – Identifies whether, and under what conditions, your contract may be assigned to others.
- Consumer Protections – Outlines protections to consumers, along with contact information for the ESCO (or broker) and the New York State Public Service Commission.
- Cancellation – Identifies how to cancel the contract and provides notice of any cancellation fees that may apply.
- Title – Identifies where the title to the electricity or natural gas is transferred to the customer.
- Warranty – Outlines any representations or warranties included in the agreement.
- Force Majeure – Establishes circumstances under which the ESCO (or broker) may be released from performance under the contract; generally related to interruptions in service beyond the control of the parties.
- Liability – Outlines the conditions and remedies that may be available in the event of damages arising from lack of performance under the contract.
- Dispute Resolution – Outlines the process which is to be used if the customer disputes a specific bill or charge.
- Choice of Laws – Identifies the venue and process agreed to for legal determinations of the contract, if needed.
- Taxes and Laws – Identifies responsibility for taxes or regulatory requirements.
- Emergency Contacts – Identifies who is to be contacted in the event of a service interruption, gas leak, or other issue.