This morning, a local Boston radio station broadcast a story about the projected 30-50% rise in electric prices this winter across New England. Because the price hike is due to structural issues including a lack of natural gas transmission capability (over 50% of electricity is generated by natural gas in New England), it is unlikely to be temporary, and has resulted in a dubious distinction: New England is likely to have the highest natural gas rates on earth, according to Taff Tschamler of energy supplier North American Power. Ouch.
While this isn't a surprise to industry watchers - it's been predicted for several years - it's likely to hit home (or more to the point, hit the wallet) for New England consumers and businesses this winter. So what are energy intensive enterprises like multi-unit restaurant, convenience store, and retail chains to do to prepare for the inevitable pinch? Other than hoping for a warm winter or waiting for multi-billion dollar pipelines to be built, how can these businesses protect themselves from the worst bottom line effects of these astronomical price increases?