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IBJ Newsmakers
Consultant works to lower energy costs for businesses, governments and organizations
pg-18-Newsmaker-mug-Mike-Grimes   Mike Grimes, president of Commercial Energy Consultants LLC, heads the five-year-old company that focuses on lowering electric and natural gas rates for middle to large commercial accounts.  
   Through a reverse auction, CEC offers a way to have available suppliers in 11 states bid openly for your energy business.
   Delivery of power is regulated because the cost of replacing the actual infrastructure such as poles, lines, etc. at this point in time would be astronomical. However, that is not the case with supply. Supply of the commodity can come from any energy company registered in the state as an REP (registered electric supplier).
   Energy deregulation brings competition into the market which generally drives prices down. This can bring a significant amount of savings for the consumer but literally save thousands of dollars for business owners.
   “Since most suppliers pick up the fee, it doesn’t cost anything to save money,” said Grimes. “For example, I worked with a bar owner who was already in arrears with the incumbent utility. She was facing summer pricing (20 percent higher) and was about to close the bar. The solution was to deregulate. The owner picked up a fixed price that was 30 percent lower than the incumbent utility and was able to keep the bar open.”
   Customers are free to work directly with a supplier by doing their own research, says Grimes. “But the problem here is that there are 40-plus suppliers,” he said. “Are you going to interview them all to find the best supplier? Do you have the time? Are you well-versed in matters of energy deregulation? Be careful. Some suppliers take advantage of the uninformed, or the chosen company might not be financially stable.”
   Grimes recommends using a consultant such as Commercial Energy Consultants that has been working with energy deregulation since 2008. Grimes said that he recently met with a busy school administrator who had been given the task to deregulate. She had received a couple solicitations in the mail and talked to one supplier but realized there are more than 20 suppliers approved by her state.
   “She called my company and hired us to find the supplier,” he said. “It took about a week and didn’t cost the school a penny. CEC delivered the low bid and saved the school thousands of dollars each month,” he said.
IBJ Business News

NGRREC signs memo with the Mississippi River Commission

   The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi River Commission designating the NGRREC as a lead research partner responsible for helping shape policies established by the MRC.
   The MRC is headquartered in Vicksburg, Miss. and provides water resources engineering direction and policy advice to the White House, Congress and the U.S. Army concerning the Mississippi River drainage basin. The basin covers 41 percent of the U.S. and parts of two Canadian provinces. The MRC oversees the planning and reporting of improvements along the Mississippi River.

Job fair Sept. 26th seeks employers

   The 23rd regional Jobs Plus ‘13 Job Fair will be held Thursday, Sept. 26 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gateway Center in Collinsville. Sponsored by local colleges and workforce development agencies, Jobs Plus offers employers to meet and speak to hundreds of qualified job-ready applicants. Last year, more than 1,400 job seekers attended Jobs Plus. The employer registration fee is $100 and includes mass job seeker recruitment, signage and table, copying service, refreshments, a box lunch and on-site interpreters.  Employers may register for this event or ask for more information by contacting Connie Vick at (618) 296-4445 or  or by visiting the event’s website at

Hospice of Southern Illinois gets Wells Fargo grant

   Hospice of Southern Illinois is the recipient of a $5,000 Wells Fargo grant which will be used to provide hospice care to patients and families. Wells Fargo Advisors team member and Hospice of Southern Illinois volunteer, Kathleen Murphy, nominated the nonprofit organization for the Wells Fargo Volunteer Service Award. Murphy’s family called Hospice of Southern Illinois 10 years ago when both her mother-in-law and father-in-law were dying. Her in-laws passed away just 13 days apart, and Hospice of Southern Illinois provided care for both of them. Today, Murphy, a Fairview Heights resident who works at Wells Fargo Advisors’ in downtown St. Louis, assists in the mailing of more than 2,000 bereavement brochures monthly to individuals who have lost someone in the past.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters offers $100 raffle tickets for new home, cash

   Win a $200,000 Fulford Home or $125,000 in cash in the 2013 Big Brothers Big Sisters House Raffle. A maximum of 3,900 certificates will be sold at $100 each with 45 prizes awarded. The raffle drawing will be held at St. Clair Square Shopping Center on Sept. 26 at 6:30 pm. To purchase a raffle certificate, call Big Brothers Big Sisters at (618) 398-3162 or visit the website at All proceeds will benefit children facing adversity in Madison, Clinton, Monroe and St. Clair counties by providing them with mentors.

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