Growing a family business from an idea into an institution doesn’t happen just by accident. The recipe for making a lasting impact on your community includes a true appreciation of your employees, a commitment to maintaining industry expertise, and a dedication to improving the lives of customers.
That’s certainly been the case for Kreamer Feed, one of the cornerstone businesses of the Susquehanna Valley. Muirfield Energy was founded on similar principals and operates with the same dedication to client service.
In the 24 months since Kreamer Feed placed its energy procurement strategy into the hands of Muirfield Energy, the company has saved over $145,000 in electricity supply costs.
“We look to Bill James as our energy advisor,” said Bob Buehler, Vice President of Sales at Kreamer Feed. “It’s not all about finding the lowest price. Bill took the time to understand our business and make recommendations for the right energy package to suit our needs. We feel that Bill has our best interest at heart.”
Muirfield Energy was founded six years ago by President Perry Oman. He had a phone, a fax machine, and a desire to educate business consumers about their energy options.
After 20 years in the energy industry on the supplier side, Oman saw an opportunity to provide a real service to those customers who were otherwise too busy to worry about navigating their own energy options.
Many larger corporations and manufacturers have the resources to hire full-time energy managers, who follow daily market movements and make strategic decisions at opportune times.
On the other hand, most mid-sized businesses have other priorities than to watch wholesale energy prices all day. For those customers, the drill goes something like this: 1) endure endless phone calls or drop-in visits by salespeople promising a quick deregulation tutorial and a lower energy price, 2) agree to an offer in part to stop the madness, 3) grapple with fine-print contracts filled with industry jargon, and 4) hope for the best.
Oman knew there was an opportunity for him and his team to provide a real service to those mid-size customers: offer straight advice, deploy professional expertise, and find savings for the customer.
“Getting competitive energy supply agreements can be tricky,” Buehler said. “A seasoned professional, like Bill James, is needed to separate out all the ‘noise’ and show you what each offer really means.”
Muirfield Energy is an independent energy broker. They do not represent the product or price of any particular energy supplier. They maintain preferred-pricing relationships with a variety of qualified suppliers. When a Muirfield Energy Consultant ultimately recommends a product to his or her client, rest assured it’s for all the right reasons.
Because of deregulation, traditional utilities, even if they are able to provide energy supply, are no longer allowed to profit from its sale. That removes the incentive to try and offer a good deal. “Muirfield Energy took the confusion out of energy deregulation,” said Buehler.
The utilities are in the delivery business exclusively. They maintain the pipes and wires and respond to all emergencies, just as they always have. Where a customer gets their supply makes no difference to the utility.
But choosing an energy supplier isn’t as easy as kicking the tires and reading Consumer Reports about the latest models. The energy industry isn’t necessarily consumer friendly.
For instance, in PPL alone, there are 44 registered energy suppliers. And while each must operate within a framework established by the Public Utility Commission, they have their own products, pricing schemes, contract language, and marketing departments.
Muirfield Energy Consultant Bill James can help you formulate the right questions for your business, find the best solutions in the marketplace, and then shield you from the rest of the incoming volley. How satisfying might it be to tell the next salesman, ‘Just talk to my energy consultant’?
Utilizing an independent energy broker like Muirfield Energy is not the only way to take advantage of energy choice, of course. As much as we believe in the broker/consultant model and feel it offers the best solution, what’s most important is that business owners not unwittingly pay too much for their energy.
Here are a handful of shopping options: do it yourself, go to a supplier directly, telemarketer, door-to-door agent, online or auction platform, and independent broker/consultant.
Muirfield Energy’s Consultants are energy experts, continually following energy trends and daily developments, and they can translate that into what it means for your business. Smart decisions can mean real money. Muirfield Energy also audits energy bills, deploys analytics software, evaluates energy-saving retrofits, and provides a variety of other services in support of your energy strategy. Muirfield Energy is built on creating long-term relationships with clients based on honest advice and mutual trust.
No matter which energy supply avenue you choose, keep the following questions in mind:
- Did you receive multiple bids from a variety of suppliers?
- Did you research the supplier with which you want to sign a contract?
Remember the 44 suppliers in PPL? Some are bound to be more financially secure than others. And don’t forget about their customer service capabilities. You’ll want to be able to get somebody on the phone, if necessary.
- What kind of energy training does your salesman/agent have?
In short, do they really know what they’re talking about? Test them with some questions about capacity, how it’s priced, and how it’s handled in the contract.
- Consider carefully the contract language.
- Once you sign the agreement, what happens next?
If so, it’s a good strategy, but make sure the bids are all priced on the same day. Daily fluctuations of the energy market make apples-to-apples comparisons a must.
Here’s generally where the minefield lays. Make sure you are clear on such things as pass-through charges, termination fees and the renewal process. Are there load balancing or management fees?
Your interaction with an energy agent or supplier should not be a one-call conversation. It should be an ongoing relationship, where you feel supported and informed on how your business decisions or market factors impact your bottom-line energy costs. Think about your energy supplier as you would your lawyer or accountant: somebody whose name you know, and who you’d recommend to a friend.
Muirfield Energy is committed to its mission and core values. Its Energy Consultants take pride in what they do. If you’re a business owner or manager in the Susquehanna Valley, and need assistance with guidance through the maze of energy options, contact Bill James at 570-556-9774.
Your Local Muirfield Energy Consultant
You shouln't trust your energy strategy to a telemarketing stranger on the other end of the phone.
At Muirfield Energy, we believe in the power of personal relationships and earning our clients’ trust over the longterm. That’s why our EnergyConsultants do business in the communities they call home.
Bill James lives in Selinsgrove and brings to Muirfield Energy over 30 years of local business relationships. He knows the power of a firm handshake, treats his clients’ concerns as his own, and is looking forward to offering his industry expertise.
Bill is the proud father of three daughters and two grandchildren. He’s an avid golfer and enjoys playing at Susquehanna Valley Country Club and Shade Mountain Golf Course. He’s lived in the Susquehanna Valley for 39 years. Call Bill at 570-556-9774 and find out what he can do to help lower your energy costs.