Many costs for energy have risen in recent months. Here in the Northeast our electric bills just suffered a 110% hike. The change was this:
- OLD RATE pre 8/1/2022: 10.669¢ per kWh (kilo or thousand watt hours)
- NEW RATE post 7/31/2022: 22.566¢ per kWh
I operate CharlesWorks from my home. So this applies to home services. We run many web servers and computers here so the electric rate increase resulted in an immense change.
Doing the Research
The biggest hassle I ran into was simply understanding my electric bill. The monthly electric bill has gotten quite complex. There are two basic parts to my electric bill:
- Supplier: This is the part of the electric bill that just increased from 10.669¢ to 22.566¢ per kWh. This is the part that we can shop around for better pricing on.
- Delivery: This is the part of the electric bill that will remain constant. This seems the most complicated because there are a number of components (8 on my bill) listed in this. The total on my bill for these delivery charges ended up at 12.21¢ per kWh. Whatever this total amount is on your bill should not change should you switch suppliers. So this cost should remain the same.
I did a lot of research on this. Hopefully this will save you the hassle of researching. Ultimately, I discovered that the process is, like many things we study, learn and practice, quite straightforward.
To switch my electric supplier there were a couple of prerequisites I needed assurance of:
- That my electric bill was actually going to go down. Sounds over-simplistic but I am cautious when it comes to ongoing expenses.
- That there were no cancellation fees should I change my mind if the power rate were to lower. I’ve not really seen that happen before – but just in case.
Moving to Direct Energy
I decided to switch to Direct Energy. After a lot of researching around and talking to several others, I found they were the best of all worlds:
- LOW RATE: Direct Energy offers the lowest kilowatt hour rate at 16.59¢ kWh which was the lowest I could find.
- NO CANCELLATION FEE: Direct Energy offers switching to a 36 month contract with no cancellation fee should I move away. Most other companies I researched imposed at least a $100 cancellation fee.
- REFERRAL FEE: Direct Energy offers a referral fee. If you refer someone else to them who signs up they will give you a $50 referral fee. You can’t go wrong there. Mine is http://www.directenergy.com/refer-a-friend/raf/D866981 and if you click on that you can get started saving like I did.
- $50 FOR SIGNUP: At the time of this article Direct Energy is offering a $50 Visa Prepaid Card for signing up using a friend’s referral – so you can get this by using my referral code.
Here is the information you will need to switch over to Direct Energy. You should have this info handy when you sign up. It is all on your current electric bill:
- ACCOUNT NUMBER: You’ll need your current electric or gas bill Account Number. On my bill it was listed on the upper left corner of the first page.
- CUSTOMER NAME KEY: You’ll need what is called the Customer name key. On my bill it is 4 letters located in the upper left corner of the second page of the electric bill.
So switching really was a no brainer in light of the worst PSNY/Eversource electric power rate increase I have ever seen.
I can’t say how long this rate or particular deal will remain in effect. I can only encourage you to act now while the offer is happening.
Just CLICK HERE to take advantage of this offer while it lasts!
I never imagined myself writing anything about etiquette. However, being in the middle of the web world as I am I get to listen to everyone’s two cents on our new business meeting medium: Zoom. And it is the same for all the video meetings that are happening. Here’s a short list of what people remark about most:
Example Zoom Meeting Screenshot
- Being on time – It appears that people are late more than ever for video meetings. Others notice.
- Eating – Bad manners at a face to face meeting, most would never think to sit down with a bowl of cereal or a sandwich at a business meeting.
- Stretching/Exercising – In a lifetime of meetings I’d have never believed this without seeing it happen.
- Hiding – Everyone knows when you don’t show yourself at a meeting you either aren’t ready or you are doing something else.
- Bathroom – Do I really need to even mention this? Never take your phone there. Remember Murphy’s Law.
- Being Unfocused – In most cases private texting is not really private and can be seen my whomever manages the meetings. And what an embarrassment when you text everyone instead of privately. And everyone can see when you’re not paying attention.
- Kids – We all love our kids. But we just don’t need to include them in business meetings.
Remember this is just a short list of the issues/complaints I seem to hear the most. The bottom line is that if you use video meetings for business you may want to use common sense and take them seriously. Behaving the same way that you normally would if you were actually present at a face to face meeting will keep your appearance professional – which will help grow your business.
It’s always great to get referrals from others. That’s why it’s important to deal with a web company that understands your community and reciprocates by referring business to you.
Businesses built upon reciprocity help each other with success. Photo by Charles Oropallo.
As a point of curiosity I usually ask when the last time was that a company received referrals from their web hoster or web developer. Usually the answer is never. I am amazed to usually find out at that point that even their local folks they give their web business to don’t bother to refer others back to their own clients.
You need a web developer that does that as a rule rather than as a request. You need a developer that one or more of its staff are in high powered networking chapters and experienced at referring business back to their own clients.
That’s what reciprocity is all about. You need a web company that practices that at every opportunity.
One way that can be done is if the web development company has a directory they can be part of. That helps clients get found on the web and increase their web traffic by keeping information about them on thousands of sites on the Internet.
If you have been feeling that your relationship with your web company is rather one sided, it’s time to deal with one that cares about you!
This week is a closely related follow up to last week’s article. As I mentioned then about a lack of a phone number, it seems like it would go without saying that a website trying to sell something should have an email contact someplace on it.
Last week I was referring to a web developer’s website with no telephone number or email address on it. Some developers put forms on their sites to try to get out of displaying an email address. The main issue with forms – besides the fact that form output is more often than not considered spam by many mail servers – is that people generally don’t want to fill them out. It’s much easier these days to click on an email link and send off an email saying exactly what you want to say. Of course you can speak it even more clearly but email may be the next best thing.
If you can’t find an email address to contact someone, my advice is to just move along to the next prospective web developer on your list. You want to deal with a web development company that makes it easy to be reached.
Do I really have to say a web developer simply has to have a phone contact where one can at least leave messages?
As unbelievable as it may seem, there are those out there without a listed phone contact. I saw a website recently where there was no telephone number or email address on it to reach someone for service. I know you won’t believe it when I tell you that individual has been in business for many years.
The owner asked me how I managed to get so many clients and grow CharlesWorks to handling thousands of websites.
I couldn’t resist mentioning there was no contact information on the website. The response was they didn’t want lots of junk emails and people knowing their phone number.
It reminded me that back in 1998 I started CharlesWorks because I wanted to help as many people with their web related needs as possible. I knew from having been in business earlier in my life that there are always going to be spam phone calls (just like spam emails). But that’s part of the cost of doing business.
So think twice if you can find a phone number to talk to someone.