You may not be able to solve the national energy problems individually, but you sure can ease the risk on your buildings and budgets. Energy is NOT an uncontrollable expense. The cheapest form of energy is the one not bought and the most reliable is the one not needed. There are proven ways to reduce a building's energy budget in a cost-effective manner. However, it does take commitment and some work to do this successfully. Controlling energy costs is not any different than controlling the costs of labor or any other expense required to run a building.
It is important to recognize that responsibility for risk management is shifting rapidly to building managers. Paul R. Cunningham, PE and president of Altus Group (www.altusgroup.com) in Austin, TX, notes in the July issue of Energy User News, "In the past, energy users could ignore the factors that led to fluctuations in power prices. Utilities assumed these risks and structured tariffs accordingly. Now the users must identify, quantify, and deal with the risks."
If you are located in a state that has restructured, the first task may be learning how to buy power in a competitive market. This means evaluating suppliers, developing requests for bid, and negotiating contracts. If you operate a group of buildings, consider combining them into a single load because such aggregation can often obtain better prices and shared risks.