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March 19th, 2012

Warm New England Weather - Not Just a Budget Savings, But an Opportunity

by Jon Sorenson, President and COO

New Englanders may be having mixed feelings about the record warmth we’ve been experiencing this winter.  Whether you’re enjoying the warmer temperatures or regretting the way they’ve challenged winter sports, you have to acknowledge the impact on heating and energy budgets.  The decline in heating degree days means less energy is used for heat and that means a savings for most consumers.

For a lot of people and organizations, it couldn’t have come at a better time.  The economic downturn has tightened budgets across industries and sectors.  Any savings at all, including unplanned benefits of the weather, can be a big help when financial margins are thin.  Unexpectedly low spending on energy costs will provide businesses and non-profit entities some budgetary breathing room.

While there will likely be a strong temptation to use these funds to cover needs in other areas, this drop in heating costs presents the opportunity to sit back for a moment and think strategically about your medium- to long-term energy strategy.  This winter is a perfect illustration of how difficult it can be to predict energy needs year to year – we’ve also recently seen winters where prices or needs were significantly higher than the general public expected.  Now is the time to take advantage of our current phase of this cycle and review and revise your energy management strategy.

Given that there is likely some flexibility in your energy budget, now is the time to consider taking some initiatives with those funds that will provide longer, on-going financial benefits to your organization.  Specifically, consider investing in upgrades that will improve the efficiency of your heating systems and reduce your overall consumption of energy.  There are a variety of ways to accomplish this goal – check out our case studies for some ideas.

Don’t let the warm weather lure you into complacency in your energy management.  Remember that there will be bitterly cold winters in the future and continuing challenges and opportunities in the energy market.  This winter is an opportunity for consumers to position their energy management strategies for a successful future.

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