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NY Press & Sun Bulletin
Feb 12, 2007
Small businesses had ability to save by comparison shopping
New York and Texas received the top grades in an energy service company report grading the ability for small businesses to shop for power.
The report notes that the New York electric choice initiative “revolutionized how small businesses are able to compare prices and test the market.” The report card, using the estimates supplied by New York regulators, said that small businesses customers saved between 15 percent and 18 percent on electric bills from 1996 to 2004.
The assessment may come as a surprise to New York small business customers, many of whom have been complaining about relatively high electric rates that they say crimp their ability to be competitive on a national scale.
The report card was prepared by Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.–based Liberty Power, an energy service company that serves 20,000 small–and mid–sized business across the country.
Company representatives said price was a not a consideration in the study. The ability to shop for electric supply was the most important criteria in preparing the report card, the report´s authors said.
While New York and Texas were awarded the highest grades, Montana and Nevada, two states boasting relatively low electric rates, were given failing grades. Both were states were faulted in the report for preventing small and mid–sized businesses from shopping for electricity.
Paul Ring, a governmental affairs analyst with Liberty Power, said New York´s relatively high rates are a condition of the electricity supply mix, which tends to have more expensive generating capacity than Western states, where hydroelectric power is predominant.
It´s possible that electric rates in New York would be higher than they are currently without the competition that was injected into the system.
“New York is a very good market, but it’s not one without challenges,” said Nelson Reyneri, vice president of government affairs with Liberty Power.