As this graph from the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows, the U.S. average price for a gallon of gasoline has fallen dramatically since the second half of 2014. As of February 8 of this year consumers were paying an average of $1.74 per gallon of gasoline, representing a 44-cent year-on-year decline, according to AAA. Barring any significant supply disruptions, AAA expects the low-price trend to continue for the near term.
A Limited Victory?
“Consumers are definitely the biggest winners when it comes to cheap gasoline,” said Alex Goldstein, founder and CEO of Chicago-based energy retailer Eligo Energy. “They are able to immediately see the difference of lower prices at the pump in their checkbooks and as a result will be more likely to use their savings in other areas of the economy.”
Industries such as manufacturing, agriculture and transportation also benefit from low fuel prices, said David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), which counts representatives of those sectors among its membership.
“Reducing the cost of energy for those sectors of the economy helps their bottom line,” he said.
Continue reading at Cost of Cheap Gas
In the old model of city life, most people only had one choice for utility providers in Michigan. Whether it was the phone company or the electricity provider, one company had a monopoly. While this removed the requirement to research different providers, it also meant that there was little room for individual choice. If your local utility company offered poor service or high prices, there was little that could be done about it.
Today, energy deregulation varies by state. The majority of states, like Indiana, have completely regulated markets, which means there is only one energy provider. Texas is an example of a deregulated state with a completely open market that allows utility customers to choose from a variety of energy providers. (more…)
What Google and Richard Branson Can Teach Us About Success
Continue reading at http://fortune.com/2015/12/27/google-richard-branson-success/
When the largest American banks reported earnings last month, analysts peppered executives with questions over the lenders’ exposure to the energy sector. Wells Fargo & Co. reported stashing $1.2 billion in reserves to cover potential losses in $17 billion in loans. JPMorgan Chase & Co. set aside $124 million for exposure to the oil and gas space, which chief financial officer Marianne Lake called “the biggest area of stress.”
It’s not just the bank loans, however, that could snap and sting the financial system. Regulators have recently sounded alarms over the increasing share of risky lending carried out by nonbanks, or so-called shadow lenders. In a recent report, the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research noted that two-thirds of the highest-risk loans — those with greater-than-average leverage in comparison with company assets — were held by nonbanks.
“We don’t know how deep the hole goes in terms of leverage,” said Mark Friedgan, investor and co-founder of Chicago retail energy supplier Eligo Energy.
Still, despite the buildup of risky assets in shady corners of the financial world, today’s energy market woes don’t line up perfectly with the subprime-mortgage crisis of 2007-08, which was triggered by the collapse in housing prices. U.S. household debt in 2007 totaled $10.5 trillion, more than four times the $2.5 trillion currently locked up in oil and gas debts.
Read the full article at http://www.ibtimes.com/oil-glut-2016-financial-crisis-lurking-hobbled-energy-market-2289326
If you have family coming into town, are putting Christmas lights up on your house, or live in a place that’s cold, your energy bill might be heading toward the perfect storm this month. But Mark Friedgan, COO and co-founder of Eligo Energy, has some tips to make your holiday season energy efficient and cost effective.
1. Throw away those old holiday lights.
If you are still using incandescent light bulbs to decorate your home, you should probably go out and get yourself some LED lights.
“LED bulbs have gotten better and cheaper,’’ Friedgan said. “It makes sense to get new strings with LEDs. You can get much fancier lights that have smart controllers so lights aren’t just on because of a timer. It can make a significant difference.’’
2. Ask for energy efficient holiday gifts.
“Ask for something like a NEST thermostat or a smart sprinkler controller that knows what the weather is and what the forecast is so they can control systems in your house,’’ Friedgan said.
Installing new systems like these can reduce energy consumption, especially when you aren’t home, or even use energy at cheaper times (rates can fluctuate weekly or even daily), therefore lowering the cost of your bill each month.
3. Make sure things go back to normal once your guests leave.
If you have family or friends staying with you this holiday season, they might be using rooms in your house that normally don’t get much foot traffic.
“You will probably reprogram the thermostat or open up vents in those rooms,’’ Friedgan said. “We forget to set that stuff back [once the guests leave].’’ This can end up being very costly and alter your normal bill, wasting energy in rooms people no longer inhabit. So “put things back the way they were before the holidays,’’ he suggests.
– See more at: http://realestate.boston.com/news/2015/12/11/6-simple-tips-to-help-you-get-through-the-holidays-without-spending-a-fortune-on-energy/#sthash.9cvBnbhb.bvbjJ2p7.dpuf
Continue reading at http://realestate.boston.com/news/2015/12/11/6-simple-tips-to-help-you-get-through-the-holidays-without-spending-a-fortune-on-energy/
No matter how much industry experience you have, you won’t know everything there is to know about running a business the moment you launch your first startup. There’s a pretty steep learning curve, and odds are you’ll find yourself saying, “I wish someone had told me that,” at least a few times along the way.
If you want to prepare yourself for some of the more difficult and unexpected challenges of entrepreneurship, it’s crucial to listen to the experiences of those who have been in your shoes before. Fifteen CEOs of new and existing companies reflect on what they’ve learned, and impart their best lessons to aspiring startup founders.
Define and focus on your niche. “Looking back at 2015, we stopped chasing extravagant customer deals and focused more on our core customer base of small and medium-sized businesses. These are the customers that get duped by some of our competitors and the ones we know we can help the most.” – Alexander Goldstein, CEO of Eligo Energy
Continue reading at http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8741-new-founder-startup-lessons.html
Gas hasn’t been this cheap in years — it’s currently averaging about $1.80 per gallon — and these ultra-low prices could mean you save money on far more than just your bill at the pump. Here are three surprising ways low gas prices may save you money this year.
As of 2013, a little over five cents of every $1 you spent on food went to the cost of energy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So as energy costs dip, so too may the cost of some of your food, explains Mark Friedgan, the co-founder oftechnology-based energy retailer Eligo Energy. This is due, in part, to the fact that operating farm equipment that runs on gas may now be cheaper, as might transporting food from one area to another.
Continue reading at http://www.marketwatch.com/story/3-surprising-ways-low-gas-prices-can-make-you-richer-this-year-2016-01-29
This past holiday season, our CEO Alex Goldstein was featured in an article about how to save money on GoBanking.com. While the holidays have passed, the tip still applies throughout the year!
36. Invest in LED Bulbs
“Lighting accounts for a significant portion of electricity usage, and LED bulbs are up to 10 times more efficient and last up to 50 times as long as compared to incandescent bulbs,” said Alex Goldstein of Eligo Energy. So while decorative lights might be the highlight of your holiday decor, don’t let them sap your monthly budget. Invest in LED bulbs that will last you for years to come.
Benefits of LED Lighting:
LED lightbulbs are commonly criticized for being expensive, so when shopping, consider the hour power: an LED light lasts up to 100,000 hours, while a traditional bulb will rarely last more than one thousand hours. To be fair, you would have to compare the price of one LED bulb against that of 100 traditional lightbulbs, plus the time and fuel you’d have to waste in order to purchase them. Once you’ve done the math, LED lightbulbs are absolutely the fiscally responsible choice to own in the long run.
The overall savings LED lights can achieve compared to other types of lighting are considerable, too. The heat output of an LED bulb is six times lower than that of an incandescent lamp, meaning that any air conditioning in use will have to remove less heat from rooms, consuming less energy – and with lower wattages available, the energy needed to light a room is considerably less.
Steps to Choosing an LED lightbulb:
While understanding the benefits of LED lighting is crucial, being able to aptly maneuver through the dizzying assortment of LED lights is of equal importance. For first time consumers, or repeat buyers, I have compiled the five most important factors to look for when shopping for household LED lights.
- It’s important to choose the right wattage in order to receive a similar light level as your previous bulb. A good rule of thumb – if you have incandescent lightbulbs, divide their wattage by 6 to get the right LED wattage needed. This means that a 60-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced with a 10-watt LED bulb. If you use compact fluorescent bulbs, divide their wattage by 1.5.
- LED lights’ brightness is measured in lumens. You need to have your old bulb’s wattage to properly convert brightness into lumens. A proficient LED bulb can provide a minimum of 110 Lumens per watt, which ensures lower energy consumption and higher brightness.
- Color is measured in Kelvin. You will see the temperature written on LED lights followed by a K (i.e. 3000K). Choosing the right color is very important when choosing an LED light. Color is done in a scale of warm to cool, and although many may assume a “cooler” light would have a lower Kelvin score, it is the opposite. Warmer lights with reddish, orange or yellow glows are rated lower on the scale than a cooler and brighter bulb. When picking a color, you must consider the color of your walls or furniture occupied in the particular room you are shopping for. For example, a den with darker furniture and walls may warrant a bulb closer to yellow or soft white (2700-3000K), compared to bright rooms needing to be illuminated with bulbs that are closer to daylight in temperature (5000K).
- Bulb Type
||This is the standard household light bulb.
||A/Arbitrary- This is the standard light bulb shape. Most often used in standard house lamps.
||These are similar to a candle’s flame in shape. The bulbs have small bases and are normally used in chandeliers and other decorative light fixtures.
||C/Candle- This bulb is similar to a candle’s flame in shape.
|CW/Candle Twisted- Again, shaped like the standard candle bulb, but with a decorative spiral around the base.
|CA/Candle Angular- Similar to regular candle bulbs in size and shape, but goes off to one side.
|F/Flambeau- Very similar to the candle twisted bulb, but slightly wider and twists in a random pattern to appear more flame-like.
||These bulbs are spherical in shape and are used in varying fixtures.
||G/Globe- Globe bulbs are spherical in shape and are normally found in bathrooms as mirror or ceiling lights.
|GA/Decorator- Looks similar to Globe lights, but have different sides on the base. This would be used in ceiling and table lamps or decorative fixtures.
||These bulbs have a tubular shape with a rounded or flat top. They are mostly used in large light fixtures.
||R/Reflector- This bulb has a flattish top, with a smaller tubular width as a base. This is mainly used in track lighting and fixtures.
|T/Tubular- This bulb has a tube shape with a rounded top. It is used in various light fixtures, mainly for lighting large areas at once from an elongated light fixture.
- An LED lights life span depends on the number of hours it can operate. A good quality LED bulb can last between 50,000 to 100,000 hours. Therefore, if you use a LED light with a 50,000 hour life span, eight hours per day, then the light can operate up to 17 years.
Read full article at http://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/40-ways-save-money-over-holidays/
Trusting your gut more often than not comes with the territory of running a business. Decisions often need to be made daily, sometimes even hourly, and it’s your job to be able to solve these problems both rationally and quickly. Most would argue that rationale stems from experience, while being quick on your feet depends on your business style and personality. Where the two seem to meet creates the infamous “gut feeling.” From business leaders to junior staff members, the gut feeling is universal. It speaks all languages and crosses all aspects of business and life.
But, as we have all probably experienced, gut feelings don’t always lead us to the right decision. So how do you know when to trust them? I’ve learned there are two ways to tackle this. The first has always been to approach tough business decisions with knowledge of the past. For example, I almost always try to recount a time in my life I’ve been in a parallel situation by asking myself, “Have I ever experienced anything similar to this?” If you can find similarities in past decisions you’ve made, it can help put your current circumstance into perspective. I have found that the more similar a situation is, the more familiar I am with it, meaning my gut feeling tends to be stronger. Normally, I go with my gut then—the feeling is there because my subconscious is trying to remind me that I’ve done this before.
Continue reading at http://fortune.com/2015/11/27/trust-your-gut-tough-decision/
The massive decline in oil prices since July 2014 is not only impacting the markets, but it is also a major blow for oil-dependent countries, many of which are struggling to present 2016 budgets and looking for ways to derive growth from non-oil sectors such as infrastructure, agribusiness and services. While the potential is there, it will take time to see yield from these efforts because of the unnatural focus placed on commodity-driven growth during the boom as other areas were largely ignored.
“The energy industry, like other industries, is cyclical and will eventually recover. Once the world’s economies regain their footing and growth trajectories, the demand for oil, and the price, will rise,” Mark Friedgan, COO of Eligo Energy explained. “At that point, the shale producers can resume investing in technology, driving their break-even prices lower and increasing their competitiveness. The energy space will be very interesting in the coming years and will definitely present some opportunities for savvy players.”
Read the full article at http://www.voanews.com/content/markets-weekly-wrap/3188956.html