Liberty Power was featured on the front of the business section of its hometown paper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Liberty Power grows far from home
But Fort Lauderdale-based Liberty Power Corp. has grown into the largest minority-owned electricity retailer in the U.S., with sales now topping $700 million per year, and it still can’t sell in Florida.
Liberty Power operates in 15 states and the District of Columbia, where governments allow competition in selling energy to consumers. It buys electricity in bulk from producers and sells it retail to businesses and homes — often at prices cheaper than what the producers offer.
Yet in the Sunshine State, only regulated utilities like Florida Power & Light can sell energy to consumers.
So, why does Liberty Power employ so many people on Cypress Creek Road, including many energy-buying specialists that had to be transplanted here from Texas and other deregulated markets?
The story begins with its chief executive, David Hernandez, whose family left their native Cuba for South Florida in 1975. He studied accounting here, joined Nortel, earned a master’s degree in New York, worked on Wall Street and then took a job with Enron in Houston that included some work in retail energy.
When Enron imploded and laid him off in 2001, Hernandez saw potential in retail electricity and called his brother and a close friend in South Florida to suggest they enter the business together. They told him yes – and asked him to head back home.
With his brother Eliezer living in West Palm Beach and his friend Alberto Daire in Miami, “Fort Lauderdale was a nice middle spot for us,” Hernandez said.
The three partners started by hiring teams of salespeople to go door-to-door in New York City, mainly to small- and mid-size businesses. Their company offered consumers a chance for rates lower than utilities.
The business focuses on offering longer-term contracts at fixed rates, so that consumers can lock in prices and budget better. That’s key, because electricity rates can fluctuate wildly with fuel costs and weather, making it tough for consumers to plan for their power bill, Hernandez said.
Today, Liberty Power serves some 180,000 customers, including many large businesses like Ryder and Costco that use minority-owned suppliers.
The future looks bright too.
Nationwide, the retail energy market tops $45 billion in revenues per year and continues to grow, said Young Kim, a principal in Energy Research Consulting Group specializing in the industry. Retailers generally offer electricity 5 percent to 10 percent cheaper than regulated utilities do, based on smaller profit margins and leaner operations, he said.
Liberty Power ranks among the 20 largest U.S. energy retailers and the biggest based in Florida, Kim said. It stands out from rivals for two main reasons: Its minority ownership attracts big business and minority consumers. Plus, it relies more for sales on independent brokers who represent consumers instead employing its own sales force. Brokers embrace that model, since they need not fear that the retailer later will send its own sales staff to steal away the broker’s customers, Kim said.
Hernandez expects Liberty Power to grow to $1 billion in sales within the next few years, partly based on custom offerings like electricity only from “green” producers. Still, the privately held company will remain lean, likely not adding much to its current staff of about 275 people.
Revenues could grow faster, however, if more states open their energy market to competition as California, New York, Texas and others have. Hernandez would like to see Florida deregulate, so he could sell where he lives – and likely help cut down on his travel to see key accounts.
In the meantime, the Cuban-American executive enjoys being near friends and family in South Florida. His seven brothers and sisters all live near one another in the West Palm Beach area.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Hernandez. “After being in this country for almost 40 years, we are still all within a three-mile radius of our mother.”
Liberty Power Corp.
Founded: December 2001 and based in Fort Lauderdale.
Business: Retail electricity. Buys electricity from producers and sells it to homes and business – often cheaper than producers do and often in contracts at fixed rates to help consumers budget.
Revenue: About $711 million in 2013; projected at $795 million this year.
Employees: About 275, mainly in South Florida.
Source: Company executives, https://www.libertypowercorp.com
This article, featured in the bilingual publication Negocios Now, tells the story of Liberty Power’s rise from a small start-up to become the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier and one of the fastest growing Hispanic businesses in the country.
Read the full article here.
Opportunity sparks creation of the nation’s largest independent retail electricity supplier
David Hernandez: From Cuba to Liberty Power
By Clemente Nicado
Powering Up for Sochi
What it Takes to Provide Olympic Caliber Energy
We’ve all heard the Sochi Winter Olympics are by far the most expensive in the event’s history. While Russia has not released details of how it spent its Olympic budget, you can bet a big part of the estimated $50 billion U.S. dollar expense went to energy infrastructure.
Russia is considered an energy superpower. It boasts the largest natural gas reserves on Earth, but most of that is located in remote and frozen regions in the north and east. Sochi is a Black Sea resort town in the nation’s west. It was far from any major pipelines and transmission wires when it was selected as Olympic host back in 2007.
Since winning its Olympic bid, Russia has built 49 major energy projects that have increased generating capacity in the Sochi region by 800 percent.
Even without the Olympics, Sochi was in dire need of an improved energy distribution system. Prior to the building boom, the last pipeline was built in 1973. The Russian Ministry of Energy admits about half of all fuel was lost during distribution.
The Olympic energy projects included a 106 mile natural gas pipeline beneath the Black Sea. That fuel feeds a new thermal power plant in Sochi and is expected to provide one-third of the peak energy demand during the Olympics. Power will be augmented by a second power plant build in the northwest of Sochi. All of this new electricity generation also required 460 new distribution lines.
Even more energy will be temporary and easily removed when the games are over. Some arenas, media centers and Olympic villages will be fueled by 120 diesel generators.
When the Olympic athletes pack up and head home, Sochi will be left with a much improved electricity generation and transmission system.
Source: National Geographic Daily News
“Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…” While this holiday song makes the cold weather sound, well, quite delightful, we all know better. Due to this winter’s extreme weather conditions, the northeast has been experiencing frightfully low temperatures and unexpected increases in their electricity rates.
Weather is a major contributor to energy costs because electric heating and cooling are top drivers of electricity consumption. As consumers use more heat and electricity to warm their homes and businesses, the demand on the power generators producing this power increases and, in turn, energy prices increase.
With energy prices at record highs, it is critical now more than ever that you take steps to manage your energy consumption! Here are a few winter energy saving tips to try in your home or office:
- Energy costs are at their highest during peak energy hours (typically 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. on weekdays). Get into the habit of waiting until off-peak hours to run appliances such as your dishwasher, washer and dryer, and heavy machinery. Energy rates can be significantly lower during these periods.
- Set thermostats to no higher than 68 degrees. Lower the temperature when you go to bed or leave the house/office to ensure optimal heating and energy savings. Take steps to minimize the heating or lighting of areas in your home or office while not in use.
- Ensure that radiators and/or heating vents are not blocked by furniture or draperies. Keep your radiators, registers and baseboard heaters dirt and dust free. Close vents and doors in unused rooms.
- Take advantage of non-electric heating methods to the extent possible. Gas furnaces or glass door fireplaces are ideal. Remember that traditional fireplaces may actually make your home colder by pulling heated air out of your home and exhausting it through your chimney.
- Close energy-stealing openings such as fireplace dampers or window air conditioning units to prevent cold air from entering through vents
- Ensure that your house/office is properly insulated. If rooms are too cold consider taking action to seal air leaks using caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping.
- Open the window coverings on the south-facing windows in your home or office to allow in sunlight. Close these window coverings at night to keep the heat in.
- Turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Install a water heater blanket if your water heater is more than five years old.
David Hernandez, CEO, named panelist at Job Creators Network event
Ft. Lauderdale – January 23, 2014 – Liberty Power, the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier, today announced David Hernandez, co-founder and CEO, will participate as a panel speaker at the Job Creators Network’s inaugural Hispanic Business Leaders Summit on Friday, January 24 in Miami, Florida.
The Job Creators Network (JCN) focuses on six specific government policies – trade, healthcare, energy, public and private partnerships, entrepreneurships and employer to employee education (E2E) – and how these policies affect their business and employees. JCN provides business owners with the necessary tools to discuss these topics with their staff in simple, easy-to-comprehend terms.
JCN plans on making the Summit an annual event; this year the event is solely focused on the effects of government policy on national Hispanic businesses. According to JCN, in 2014, Hispanic businesses are twice more likely to start a new business than any other demographics in the United States.
“Even with the economic downfall that began in 2008, Hispanic businesses have continued to experience a 30% increase in revenue,” said Alfredo Ortiz, President of Job Creators Network. “Hispanic businesses have also steadily increased their employee counts during a time when many Americans were in search of employment. This Summit is a great platform to discuss how these businesses have found ways to thrive and prosper during an otherwise dismal period.”
The Summit’s itinerary includes a conference program, cocktail reception and a sit down dinner with Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and JCN, and keynote speaker, Florida Governor, Rick Scott. Hernandez is one of four panelists participating in the invite-only Summit.
Miami, Florida was chosen as the location for JCN’s first inaugural Hispanic Business Leaders Summit, in part because of the number of successful Hispanic-owned businesses based in south Florida. According to Hispanic Business, six of the top 10 largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States are located there. Liberty Power is one of these companies, ranked as the ninth largest overall. In addition, Liberty Power was named an honoree of Inc.’s Hire Power Award in 2013. This honor recognized the company as a top private business job creator.
Liberty Power CEO and co-founder David Hernandez is honored to be featured in a special section of Latino Leaders magazine as one of the “Top 10 Latinos in Energy.”
Here’s an excerpt:
David Hernandez – CEO, Liberty Power
In his capacity as CEO of Liberty Power, David Hernandez, who co-founded the company in 2001, has helped build it from a small startup to become among the largest Hispanic-owned energy companies in the United States, and the first minority-owned retail electric provider to have a national footprint.
“We’re helping support and empower the community that I believe brings a great deal of promise to this country, and that is the Latino community,” Hernandez said.
In recognition of these efforts, Hernandez was awarded with the 2013 “Businessman of the Year Award” from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). Additionally, the company awarded a total of $20,000 in 2013 to three college students to assist their pursuits toward a career in energy and the environment. The scholarships were a part of the company’s inaugural Liberty Power Bright Horizons Scholarship Program.
“Our slogan is ‘Powerful together,’” Hernandez said. “And so, we think that we are advantaged just given our Latino roots and heritage to work closely together, to be humble – we work for people that are humble, hungry and smart and that are looking to partner with our customers and with our suppliers to be powerful together.”
Nothing evokes the holiday season more than the phrase, “batteries not included.” Any toy that moves or makes sound – meaning most toys that kids put on their wish list – needs a battery, or two, or six. Since this is the season for giving and buying batteries, here are some top tips for maximizing their life, safe storage and safe disposal:
Maximize Device and Battery Life:
- Whenever you replace batteries, clean contact surfaces by gently rubbing with a clean pencil eraser or cloth
- Remove exhausted batteries from the toy or device immediately; old batteries can leak and either ruin the contact surface or reduce the life of the replacement battery
- Replace all batteries at the same time with new ones; don’t mix and match new batteries with partially used batteries
- Keep unused batteries in a cool dry place and normal room temperature.
- If a toy or other device won’t be in use for a month or more, remove the batteries before storing
- Keep batteries, particularly small coin cell batteries, out of reach of children; they are choking hazard and can cause serious injury
- Don’t carry loose batteries in a pocket or purse with loose metal objects like coins or paper clips; this can short-circuit the battery and lead to high heat or leakage
- Don’t store batteries in high temperatures; this drains the life of the battery and can lead to leakage or rupture
- Don’t place a non-rechargeable battery in a charging device
- Most brand-name battery manufacturers have eliminated the use of mercury in alkaline batteries. In most parts of the United States you can place these batteries in common household waste.
- But, check your state or municipal waste collection website to see if they offer recycling programs before you put your alkaline batteries in the trash. Some municipalities also ask consumers wrap their batteries in masking tape prior to disposal.
- Don’t put a large number of alkaline batteries in the trash together; used batteries typically have some life in them – if they make contact, it can pose a serious safety risk
- Never put old batteries in a fire; they may leak or rupture
- Rechargeable battery recycling is increasingly popular. Visit www.call2recycle.org to find out what recycling programs are available in your area.
Ft. Lauderdale – December 3, 2013 – Liberty Power, the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier, today announced they have been selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) as the recipient of the 2013 Minority Retail Energy Firm of the Year Award.
Liberty Power was one of 12 organizations recognized during National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week. Their award was part of the Minority-Owned Firms category; the other two categories were the Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award and the Champions of Minority Business Development.
This Minority Retail Energy Firm Award is presented to the minority-owned firm in the energy industry who has achieved notable success in providing quality products and services resulting in the improvement of the environment, proficiency, and customer satisfaction.
David Hernandez, Liberty Power’s CEO, accepted the award during a private ceremony hosted by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on December 2 in Washington, D.C.
“We are humbled and proud to receive this award, and do so on behalf of our team members and all the small businesses, households and Fortune 500 customers we serve. We are grateful to the Minority Business Development Agency for their advocacy for diversity on all levels,” said David Hernandez, co-founder and CEO of Liberty Power.
These awards were created to celebrate the phenomenal achievements of minority entrepreneurs and businesses. All the recipients have demonstrated industry leadership, business success, economic impact and a positive influence on their community.
“These award recipients are pillars in their communities who help create jobs and keep our nation competitive in the global economy,” said David A. Hinson, MBDA National Director. “MBDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce are pleased to honor these outstanding leaders and firms and the entrepreneurial spirit they embody and promote.”
About Liberty Power
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Liberty Power is the largest independent retail electric supplier in the United States based on 2012 KEMA rankings of electric retailers. The company is also the first minority-owned supplier with a national footprint, and the largest Hispanic-owned energy company in the United States according to Hispanic Business. Liberty Power provides large and small businesses, government agencies and residential customers with low-cost electricity and exceptional customer service.
For more information on Liberty Power, please visit www.libertypowercorp.com
About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
MBDA, www.mbda.gov, is the only Federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. Our programs and services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. Services are provided through a network of MBDA Business Centers.
Intuitive thermostat and remote app work together for ultimate efficiency.
Have you ever left your home for a relaxing summer vacation… then suddenly realized you left your air conditioner running full-tilt? With ecobee, you don’t have to worry about the energy and money you’re wasting cooling an empty home while you’re trying to relax at the cottage.
The ecobee thermostat features an intuitive and easy-to-read interface, including a full-color touch screen. Like many digital thermostats, ecobee is fully programmable. You can also change your settings remotely from your personal ecobee web portal, smart phone or tablet.
ecobee also improves your HVAC efficiency. Using algorithms that account for factors like weather, the size of your home, number of occupants, and the type of heating and cooling systems, the ecobee system maximizes energy efficiency. The system can also alert you to potential problems, like plummeting temperatures that could cause frozen pipes, or high humidity that can spur the growth of mildew in your home.
To order an ecobee system online, or find a local retailer, visit https://www.ecobee.com/buy/where/.
Liberty Power to Supply Renewable Energy Certificates to National Minority Supplier Development Council Event
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – October 25, 2013 – Liberty Power, the nation’s largest independent retail electric supplier, announced today that it will donate Green-e Energy Certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match 100 percent of the estimated electricity consumption at the 2013 National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Conference and Business Opportunity Fair.
The NMSDC Conference is the organization’s signature event and is recognized as the largest national business opportunity fair of its kind. Nearly 7,000 corporate executives, minority business owners and government officials are expected to attend and engage in workshops, leadership training, and networking.
The NMSDC Conference is scheduled to take place Sunday, October 27 through Wednesday, October 30 in San Antonio, Texas. Liberty Power will supply enough RECs from Texas wind facilities to match the estimated usage for the four-day event’s venue, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The donation of RECs will offset nearly 600,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide (CO2). According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies calculator, this is equivalent to avoiding the CO2 emissions associated with consuming over 30,000 gallons of gasoline.
“It is our privilege to support the NMSDC’s commitment to sustainability through the donation of RECs sourced from Texas-generated wind power. This effort will offset the electricity usage of this year’s conference,” said David Hernandez, co-founder and CEO of Liberty Power.
Liberty Power was first certified by the Southern Florida Minority Development Council and currently has reciprocal agreements with 10 additional regional councils. Liberty Power has also been a Corporate Plus® member in good standing since 2009.
“Year after year, Liberty Power has proven to be a committed supporter of the NMSDC,” said NMSDC President Joset Wright-Lacy. “This year, they’ve extended their generosity to make our conference ‘green’ and help to lessen our carbon footprint. We appreciate the donation of the renewable energy certificates as part of our sustainability efforts.”
About Liberty Power
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Liberty Power is the largest independent retail electric supplier in the United States based on 2013 KEMA rankings of electric retailers. The company is also the first certified, minority-owned supplier with a national footprint, and the largest Hispanic-owned energy company in the United States according to Hispanic Business. Liberty Power provides large and small businesses, government agencies and residential customers with low-cost electricity and exceptional customer service.
For more information on Liberty Power, please visit www.libertypowercorp.com
Liberty Power is a registered trademark of Liberty Power Corp. LLC, whose subsidiaries are certified and licensed to provide retail electric service by the PUC / PSC of CA, CT, DC, DE, IL, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, TX and VA.
About National Minority Supplier Development Council
The National Minority Supplier Development Council is the global leader in advancing business opportunities for its certified Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business enterprises and connecting them to member corporations. NMSDC was chartered in 1972 to provide increased procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.
The NMSDC Network includes a national office in New York and regional councils across the country. There are 1,700 corporate members throughout the network, including most of America’s largest publicly-owned, privately-owned and foreign-owned companies, as well as universities, hospitals and other buying institutions. The regional councils certify and match more than 12,000 minority-owned businesses with member corporations that want to purchase their products, services and solutions. www.nmsdc.org