How Commercial Property Owners can Save on Utility Costs

Each month we feature some of Alberta's Energy Marketers and the unique projects and causes they are involved with. We would like to introduce you to Reece Torode from Calgary, Founder of Reset Energy. Reece represents many of the hard working entrepreneurs in this province and we are proud to share his story of hard work and innovation.

Over the years we have helped 23 Energy Marketers, just like Reece, open up a business offering competitive electricity, natural gas and green energy rates to customers in their own local community. Guiding principles of Alberta's independent Energy Marketers like Reset, include keeping jobs in Alberta, staying focused on lowering energy prices and understanding the needs of the people in their local communities.

Supporting the private sector and small independent business is the one thing that makes good sense in Alberta's turbulent energy market.

“I’m in the business of getting stuff done,” enthused Reece Torode of Reset Energy. The 27-year-old Calgarian carries entrepreneurship in his blood. And he’s not afraid of hard work.

Over the years, his family members have developed luxurious commercial and residential buildings and created a chain of much-loved coffee cafes equipped with roasting facilities.

Reece, second oldest of four children in the Torode family, is an Energy Marketer with UTILITYnet, also headquartered in Calgary. He joins 24 others in the group of competitive marketers throughout Alberta.

The enterprising young man started Reset Energy in July because of the potential synergies with his father’s company, Torode Realty Advisors Inc. Reece works with his father, John, where they’ve sold over 100 investment properties, syndicated over $600 million worth of investment properties, and built the Hotel Arts in downtown Calgary. One of their latest ventures is a 285-multi family complex built on a green field site in Airdrie called Copperstone Village.

Reece started working for his father at the age of 18. “I did the filing and data entry before learning about leases,” said Reece. “Now, I handle the finances and property management for Torode.” Those skills led him to the analysis of regular maintenance and emergency repairs of their properties.

“We had contracts for everything from cleaning and paving and snow removal,” explained Reece. “However, our utilities went to default retailers such as Enmax and Epcor. I didn’t even know that I could self retail energy.”

Reece wants to show other commercial property owners – as well as residents – how they can save money, too.

At the time, Reece was looking to do something on his own. Online research led him to discovering Green Alberta Energy in February. “I contacted Managing Partner Nick Clark one day and we got together the very next over coffee at Rosso Coffee Roasters in Inglewood.”

You guessed it. Rosso belongs to Reece’s brother David Crosby who started the famous community oriented roaster business. Now, with brother, Cole Torode, they’ve grown to six cafés with their newest opening December 15th on 17th Avenue.

Back to Reece and Reset Energy which provides electricity, natural gas, and green energy. “The savings have been fantastic,” said Reece who wants to show other commercial property owners – as well as residents – how they can save money, too. “We’re seeing 18% to 22% savings on our properties.”

The Evolution of an Industry

The electricity and natural gas industry in Alberta deregulated January 1, 2001. Until that time, Albertans could not choose a supplier or a pricing plan.

Energy historically was supplied and delivered exclusively by big utility companies. Today, in Alberta, customers can choose to buy electricity from a Regulated Retailer with rates set on a government formula or they can choose to buy from a competitive energy marketer such as those through Green Alberta Energy.

Reece saw the value in teaming up with the Alberta-based UTILITYnet, a utility clearinghouse–which created Green Alberta Energy. The partnership meant the smaller company joined the larger organization – jointly managed by Nick Clark and Madeline Low - that could secure renewable energy credits at a substantially lower cost. The co-op approach gave Reset Energy the ability to compete on a bigger stage, with the largest players in the retailing of electricity and natural gas. More important, they could also help consumers green their energy at an affordable price.

Reece joined other young, local entrepreneurs in the growing group of UTILITYnet Energy Marketers: Malcolm and Jenelle Setter started Get Energy two years ago in Fort McMurray; Riley Tobin and Cory Belsher who launched Bow Valley Power in 2015; Kris Kasawski, founder of Park Power in Sherwood Park, and more.

Consumers get as close as possible to wholesale prices, which often are well below other competitive retail or RRO prices.

Consumers increasingly are choosing small companies with neighbourhood owners over Big Utilities that have shipped jobs offshore. Customers like to know the name of their energy supplier who can answer questions about their utility bill – face-to-face, if necessary.

Competitive Energy Rates – How it Works

Competitive rates are calculated on 100% month-ahead projected pricing. UTILITYnet purchases electricity through a combination of long-term or short-term agreements with the generation companies. The innovative company can also buy electricity directly from the wholesale spot market based on the published hourly price. This allows consumers to get as close as possible to wholesale prices, which often are well below other competitive retail or RRO prices.

Delivery fees, on the other hand, are charged by the wires companies regardless of retailer. The delivery costs are billed to the retailer by the wires company and passed on to customers.

Small Micro Generation (MG) Customers of Reset Energy receive a premium on the electricity exported back to the grid thanks to the Light Up Alberta program with Green Alberta Energy. The credit is calculated based on meter-read information provided by a distribution company. The exported electricity meter data is processed monthly and is included as 'MG Credit' on the bill.

It’s well known that family firms with healthy business practices outperform the competition. The family simultaneously encourages and supports individuality in its members, both as it pertains to their strengths and weaknesses.

It’s clear that the next generation of the Torode family will be “getting stuff” done -this time in Alberta’s energy market.

For more information on Reset Energy or to sign up for utilities with Reset click here.

Nick Clark | January 10, 2017