The key question is how much risk you want in your utility budgets. In deregulated states, the risk should be put on competing suppliers as much as possible by getting commodity quotes based on a) fixed cost with all charges and expenses included, b) leaning towards long term contracts and c) doing business only with major suppliers with financial strength and a record of excellent customer service. As with Wall Street, energy commodity markets are not for amateurs. Billions can be lost trying to predict electric futures after so many years of controlled monopoly pricing.
After the commodity supply issues are put to rest, you can focus on demand side opportunities. The first step is to select an experienced and well respected energy consultant to help guide you through the energy equation by conducting an energy audit and recommending cost effective improvements. Look for a professional with CEM certification by an organization like the Association of Energy Engineers (www.aeecenter.org). Be sure your energy consultant is truly independent of specific products, services, and energy type. Be wary of any consultant who claims to know what you need without evaluating your needs and opportunities. The crucial test is determining if the energy consultant is focused on your needs and not his/hers. The bottom line is finding an energy consultant or ESCO (remember them?) who has a track record for producing real utility savings in your industry.