The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tracks statistics to provide the public with energy information. The goal is to promote sound policymaking and efficient markets. These rates are U.S. Commercial averages of the regular pump price, cents per kilowatt-hour. The national history and forecast of electric rates:
2019=11.06 (+.12 estimate)
EIA Electricity Summary for the U.S. Residential sector:
2019=13.56 (+.47 estimate)
Interpreting the electricity usage for residential customers indicates that prices will continue to increase. Commercial usage is estimated to reduce over 50% between 2018 and 2019. The reasons for the reduction may be related to more energy efficient equipment, or it may reflect the use of alternative energy sources.
ENERGY STAR published an article for reducing energy costs at restaurants through more energy-efficient products from commercial hot food holding cabinets to ovens and dishwashers. Savings could range from 10% to 70% over standard equipment models. Purchase commercial food service equipment that is ENERGY STAR certified. Other savings opportunities documented were for more efficient lamps or lighting fixtures, HVAC, water, and waste management. The EPA WaterSense resource list identifies water-efficient products and programs.
Alternative energy sources for restaurants are addressed by Revision Energy looking at solar hot water and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology that generates clean electricity on a rooftop for less than 9 cents per kilowatt-hour over 25 years. Operating costs can be reduced by installing an all-electric air source heat pump. Power is 2 to 3 times more efficient than resistive electric heat. Pairing both air source heat pumps and solar will only take $1/gallon for oil.
Incentives to upgrade to energy efficient methods are available from federal, state, and local governments based on the type of business and physical location. Below are a few programs:
1. Federal 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
2. 5-year MACRS depreciation
3. State rebates, variable
4. REAP Grants for certain businesses
5. REC revenues are available in some areas.
Electricity deregulation gives customers more options to purchase energy. Those areas who allow companies to compete for your business saves you money. Illinois had the 13th highest rates prior to deregulation. Based on rates, Illinois has become one of the 10 least expensive states in the nation. There are so many choices for electric consumers today, energy consultants can not only save you money but can also improve your profit margin.