South Florida Sun Sentinel: Liberty Power Grows Far From Home

Liberty Power was featured on the front of the business section of its hometown paper, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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Liberty Power grows far from home

 It’s not often a company sets up in a place where it can’t do business.

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,

Negocios Now: David Hernandez, From Cuba to Liberty Power

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

 The meteoric rise of entrepreneur David Hernandez began with bad news in December 2001, when his energy industry employer filed for bankruptcy. The Cuban immigrant used the opportunity to finish the business plan for what would eventually form Liberty Power.
The company he co-founded with Alberto Daire was born in an adverse environment. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the country was suffering from a credit crisis, growing unemployment, a volatile energy market, and widespread economic uncertainty. It was hardly an ideal time to start a business, but Hernandez and his partner remembered the phrase, “No hay mal que por bien no venga,” or, as they say in English, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”
The insight he gained at his former employer helped him spot opportunity and gave him the experience needed to meet future challenges successfully. “At that company I learned about the deregulation of the energy industry and how firms were fighting to eliminate the monopoly that existed in one of the most important economic sectors: the energy sector,” Hernandez recalls.
Working in the company’s wholesale and retail electrical services trading division, he realized there was a market niche that wasn’t being adequately served within the highly competitive energy industry. “While other companies within the industry went after large-scale customers, no one was providing service to small and mid-sized customers,” he says.
This was the logic that drove the creation of Liberty Power, a leading Hispanic enterprise that provides electricity to businesses, government agencies and consumers nationwide. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale and with an office in Chicago, its 2012 revenue exceeded $700 million.
The co-founder and CEO of Liberty Power immigrated to the United States as a young boy, and he shared his parents’ enthusiasm for the potential this country offered. But he soon learned that an entrepreneurial spirit was not enough; he also would need to study. His motivation earned him the distinction of being the first in his family of seven siblings to finish college. Hernandez graduated magna cum laude from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and earned an MBA from New York University — all before undertaking his electrifying business venture with Alberto Daire, president of Liberty Power.

What specifically does Liberty Power do?
Liberty Power is a retail electricity supplier, which means we supply electricity to end-user consumers in restructured or deregulated energy markets where consumers can shop for their electricity supply like any other product or service. We work with the local distribution company to deliver our customers’ electricity over the utility’s poles and wires. In most markets the customer still receives one bill separated into two main parts – supply and delivery. The supply portion is what they purchased from Liberty Power, while the fees for delivery service go to the local distribution company (Con Ed in the Chicago area).

Can you explain the reasons behind your company’s success?
Liberty Power is an entrepreneurial company. Our competitive edge is our nimbleness which sets us apart from our competitors, many of which have parent companies in the Fortune 500. As the company continues to grow, we continue to maintain a small business atmosphere where we can quickly shift resources and focus in order to capitalize on opportunities that arise across our national footprint. Larger companies are often set in their ways and don’t react and evolve as quickly as Liberty Power.

What were the greatest challenges Liberty Power faced, and what are the biggest challenges of today’s marketplace?
We faced many challenges over the years, from risking every cent we had to start the business to discovering additional obstacles along the way within the industry. The nature of doing business in today’s energy markets provides a variety of challenges. We’ve dealt with a credit crunch, hurricanes and other extreme weather events, regulatory uncertainty, and ever-changing market conditions, just to name a few. A large part of the value Liberty Power provides is insulating our customers from these types of risks and headaches. We are blessed to have a smart and experienced team to navigate Liberty Power through these challenges while protecting our customers.

How can Hispanic businesses take advantage of Liberty Power’s services?
Businesses both large and small, Hispanic or non-Hispanic, can take advantage of Liberty Power by simply calling us at 1-866-POWER-99 (1-866-769-3799) or visiting our website at One of our energy consultants will evaluate your energy needs and help determine the product that works best for your individual situation. Electricity is often one of the largest costs in running a business, so it is definitely worth the time to shop around and find the company and product that works best for you.

How important is Chicago in your expansion strategy?
More broadly speaking, Illinois is a very important market to Liberty Power as well as in the energy industry overall. We first entered this market in 2007 when many consumers weren’t even aware that they could shop for electricity supply. Today, over 3 million accounts (representing the majority of accounts) in Illinois have switched away from the utility. We will continue to strengthen and grow our business in Illinois in the future.

Speaking of your expansion goals, what is “the sky” for Liberty Power?
Historically, Liberty Power has been what the industry calls a “pure play” electric retailer. Our focus has always been in buying electricity in wholesale commodity markets at the lowest possible price and then passing those savings along to our customers. We continue to evaluate expanding our operations into other areas of the value chain, such as generation, as well as look toward expanding our current suite of products and services. Our ultimate vision is to be the preferred choice for innovative retail energy services and solutions.

Liberty Power has made an impact on the community through scholarship programs and other efforts. How important is it for the company to support its community?
Liberty Power believes in the importance of supporting the community. Having experienced so much good fortune of our own over the years, giving back is a rewarding way to help others. One area Liberty Power is very passionate about is preparing our youth for the challenges and opportunities of the future, which is why we created the Liberty Power Bright Horizons Scholarship in 2013. Through this alliance with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the USHCC Foundation, Liberty Power has committed to providing $100,000 in college scholarships over a span of five years, with a focus on rewarding students studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

As one of the most successful Hispanic entrepreneurs in the country, what advice can you share with other entrepreneurs?
Two keys to success that I’d like to share include: Do something you are passionate about. The most successful people in life are simply following their passions. Secondly, make sure you have the right people on your team. At Liberty Power we look for people that are humble, hungry, smart, and share the company’s vision.

Sochi Olympics, Power Projects

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

Winter Energy Savings Tips

“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.

Liberty Power CEO Participates in the First Annual Hispanic Business Leaders Summit

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.

Latino Leaders Special Section: Top 10 Latinos in Energy

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.”


‘Tis the Season to Buy Batteries

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

Be Safe:

  • 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

Dispose Properly:

  • 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 to find out what recycling programs are available in your area.

Liberty Power Recognized by U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency

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

About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
MBDA,, 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.

ecobee: A Smart Thermostat You Control Anytime, Anywhere

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

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

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.

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