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return on investment

Business Triangles

Investing in Utilities

By Energy Rant No Comments
Most readers have likely seen the business triangle: cheap, fast, good [or accurate]; pick two. My first emotional reaction to the triangle was that it was something a lazy bum[1] would say. However, as a geezer, I think the law is valid for consulting. I will explain this in a future post. For utilities, it would be something else; maybe cheap, constant, yes. Those are the price, time, and quality attributes of utility delivery. For utilities, the term “constant” represents reliability. The term “yes” represents quality or accuracy. In this case, 60 Hertz and the applicable constant voltage. I explained...
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Energy Efficiency; Best in Show Pedigree, with a Homely Mutt Impression

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Energy efficiency gets a bad rap, but I shall attempt to slap some sense into efficiency deadbeats.  I will start by beating the simple-payback-is-bad dead horse one more time.  It may giddyup and run as a result. I am quite certain that one of the things that make investment in energy efficiency the homely mutt of corporate decision making is lack of trust in the savings.  This is why it has always been bogged down with simple payback.  Like, whew, when do I get my money back and break even on this lower-than-penny-stock gamble?  I just want my money out....
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Fly High and Jump!

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Investments, Utility Stuff One Comment
Natural gas utilities tend to howl about making EE goals because it is much more difficult to capture savings for natural gas than it is for electricity.  With one giant exception, lighting, this isn’t really true and I do not agree.  Lighting retrofit/replacement is indeed easy for a number of reasons: Utility DSM product managers and account managers understand it. Customers understand it. Lighting upgrades improve lighting brightness and color rendering. Some level of investigative analytical study is NOT required. With the exception of early T8 electronic ballast technologies, maintenance is reduced, at minimum because the customer has new equipment...
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CFL Mud Wrasslin

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Investments, Tax Stuff No Comments
As you must know, last week congress failed to pass a repeal of the incandescent light bulb with their “Better Use of Light Bulbs” (BULB) act.  There you go right there - God awful marketing.  Who comes up with this junk?  Why does every bill have to be called an “act”?  It’s like every scandal has “gate” attached to it.  Do the Millennials even know where gate comes from?  Climategate.  Memogate.  Blagogate.  Filegate.  Macacagate.  Monicagate.  Nannygate (2 each).  Travelgate.  Troopergate.  Guess who has the most gates.  I don’t know but I’ll bet Bill and Hillary have to be in the...
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Horse and Buggy EE Programs

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff No Comments
In many states, energy efficiency programs are meeting annual savings goals and their incentive cash is depleted in a fraction of the year.  States where energy efficiency programs are a new offering are especially quick to meet goals.  These states include Ohio, Michigan and Illinois.  These states rely heavily on lighting, which accounts for somewhere in the range of 90% of the total savings.  Even mature states like Wisconsin and California still get well over half their savings from lighting and other prescriptive measures (rebates).  Wisconsin surpassed goals and ran out of incentives last program year. There are many ways...
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IPO Return, Treasury Risk

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Investments 3 Comments
If there’s one thing that most people painfully realized over the past couple years, it’s that there is risk in putting your money in anything in hopes of earning a return on investment.  Riding a company into bankruptcy is an obvious one.  I’ve done that several times by investing in fast-growing start-ups, initial public offerings (IPO) and stock options.  Invest $3,000 for 100 shares of common stock and a few years later the company emerges from bankruptcy (isn’t that a cute phrase – it sounds like a daffodil blooming in spring but it’s more like rummaging for your charred silverware...
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Paying to Lose

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Utility Stuff No Comments
Jenny Craig customers do it all the time – pay money to consume less.  This may make perfect sense to people who understand customers’ needs, but to others it seems really stupid to pay somebody to help use less of something.  This is a bit like utility programs that spend money for customers to use less of their product. The vast majority of our energy work comes from referrals and repeat clients.  On numerous occasions, we seemed to have customers at the tipping point, only to have them bail out at the last minute.  Why?  The utility introduced us to...
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