Author Archives: courtney

FERC Rejects Rick Perry’s Plan to Prop up Struggling Coal and Nuclear Plants

The U.S. Secretary of Energy received a lump of coal this Christmas. There are several articles in today’s news reporting that the FERC has rejected Rick Perry’s plan to help out struggling coal and nuclear plants. This is good news, as it shows that the FERC is acting responsibly and rationally by not giving into political pressures to save the dying coal industry. Natural Gas is the new king of the energy jungle, with renewables coming up not far behind. This is also good news for the environment. Thank you, FERC.

News Article:

Letter from Rick Perry to FERC:



Gain Confidence and Save Money in the New Year with a Utility Bill Audit!

Are you searching for ways to save your organization money this year? Is worrying about your utility bills affecting your self-esteem? You might be surprised to find a stack of cash sitting in your utility bills. Let us show you what we can find! Gain peace of mind by letting TriStem take care of your utility bill woes.

Our audits examine your past bills for errors and your current bills for cost saving opportunities. We have found that over 80% of our clients have been over-billed on their utility bills. Average refunds obtained for overcharges per client is 5% of your annual utility expenditures. Average future savings received as a result of our corrections is 4% of your annual utility expenditures.

What is a utility bill audit?

The word “audit” can sound scary, but it is simply a review of your past bills to find overcharges and cost saving opportunities. TriStem can audit your electric, gas, water, telephone, and/or waste bills. We identify errors and contact the utility company on your behalf to obtain refunds and implement cost savings measures.

Benefits of a Utility Bill Audit:

  • Save time by letting TriStem worry about your accounts
  • Get money now for refunds on errors
  • Save money on future utility costs
  • Have your accounts reconciled by an expert
  • Gain valuable knowledge about your utility accounts
  • Act as a good steward for your stakeholders/taxpayers
  • Reallocate your savings for other uses

How do I get started?

Start the new year right and get empowered about to your utility costs. Contact TriStem today for a free preview of your utility bills.


Behind the scenes look into America’s Electric Utility Industry

Indecisive about what to get for your loved ones this Christmas? Grab a copy of Wired for Greed. Co-authored by Tristem Ltd. CEO Joe Seeber, this book gives an in-depth look to what goes on behind the scenes in America’s electric utilities industry. A great gift for any family member!

Amazon Link:

Wired for Greed website:

TEPA Annual Conference 2017

TriStem attended the The Energy Professionals Association (TEPA) Conference last week. We had a great time and were able to learn new things about the industry and ways we can help our clients. My personal favorites were the speeches by Sayun Sukduang – President & CEO of Engie Resources, and Brian Habacivch – Principal, Commodities Management Group, Constellation Energy.

Here are the take-aways from each speech. First off, Sayun Sukduang:

His speech was the most inspirational and set the conference off right. The underlying theme was our responsibility as energy professionals to make a difference. We are the connectors between the consumer and the utility company. We hold utility companies accountable and educate consumers. Engaging and connecting consumers is the key to unlocking environmental and economic wealth. The energy industry is wasteful. A delay or increase in demand of power leads to a new power plant being built. Sometimes billion dollar power plants are used once or twice, just to satisfy a temporary need. We can solve these congestion problems in different ways. The consumer doesn’t hear about or see the power plants being built, and is left ignorant of the environmental waste. It is all done behind the scenes. There are ways we can use the infrastructure we have now more efficiently instead of creating waste. As energy consultants, we must engage and educate consumers about these issues and influence utility companies to solve these problems in a different way.

Next up: Brian Habacivch.

I didn’t realize until half way through his speech, that I had spoken with him in the breakfast line. He told me the raspberries had no taste compared to wild raspberries up north. Once I realized it, I told my co-worker, it’s the raspberry guy!

We learned first and foremost that crop circles are not made by aliens. They are made by humans. There are videos of humans getting giant boards and creating them. This was news to me.

Then he went on to talk about the fascinating Shale Revolution that has been going on in the US for the past several years. The Shale Revolution (commonly known as fracking) has led to the U.S. being the world leader in natural gas production. According to Brian, the U.S. is now the King Kong of energy. This is amazing considering that 10 years ago we looked to the Middle East with fear, pondering when the world would run out of fossil fuels. Isn’t that why we had all of those wars over there? We wanted their oil right? The whole time it we had a fossil fuel lying right under our noses in the cracks of a dense rock called shale.  Pennsylvania is now the largest natural gas producer in the country. They produce enough energy to supply both Germany and England. Ten years ago, this was unheard of.

Why is this important to the electric industry? Because natural gas prices are low and they control energy prices. Natural gas is being used more and more to create energy. We can use this information to engage our customers to look at the market and see how it affects not only their bills, but the economy and the world around us.

Lastly, a slide show of interesting scenes from the conference.

See you next year!

Good Luck to Our Street Light Auditors in Jefferson Parish!

I just wanted to send a quick shout-out to our street light field workers in Jefferson Parish today. They travelled from Waco, TX to Jefferson Parish, LA earlier this week to perform a field check for the street light audit we are doing for the Parish. They are doing a great job checking the lights to make sure they are there and operating as they should be. Not only does this help the citizens of Jefferson Parish stay safe on the streets, but we are also hoping to save the tax payers money on any street light overbillings we find. We have received reports back that there has been rain, but it has not stopped our auditors’ efforts.

We also received a couple photos back from them of some beautiful street art in the Parish and a neat restaurant called Frostop that had 3 slot machines inside the restaurant! This is something you do not see here in Texas. Good luck street light auditors and thank you Jefferson Parish for allowing TriStem to audit your utility bills!

TEPA Monthly Meeting – Oncor Portal

Greetings utility consumers! We had a great time at the monthly TEPA meeting in Dallas, TX at the Hotel Zaza, sponsored by Engie, and wanted to share the news with you. For those who are not familiar with TEPA, it stands for The Energy Professionals Association. TriStem is a member of this great organization that brings together Aggregators, Brokers, Utility Consultants and Utility Companies to learn how to better serve our clients. Here is a link to their website:

TEPA – The Energy Professionals Association

At this meeting we learned that Oncor has created an online portal for Aggregators, Brokers, & Utility Consultants specifically for obtaining historical billing data. This is great news, considering that monthly historical billing data is needed in our business for many different reasons, such as:

  • Reviewing historical consumption for billing errors and discrepancies.
  • Providing historical usage data to REP’s for energy procurement quotes.
  • Analyzing load and power factor for efficiency problems.

This is great news for our clients because it allows us to obtain the historical usage quickly and analyze their bills faster (for those in Oncor territory). Hopefully other Utilities and REP’s will follow Oncor’s footsteps and create similar portals for aggregators, brokers and consultants (ABC’s). The number of ABC’s has increased drastically over the past 10 years due to the impact of deregulated energy markets. It is important to have energy experts, like the team at TriStem, to analyze your bills for errors and make sure you are on the best rate possible.

We also learned how to enroll customers in the My Oncor Alerts system which notifies customers of outages via text, email or voice. If you are having an outage, there is a way to report this information to Oncor online. See brochure below.

Aside from learning about Oncor’s portal and My Oncor Alerts, we were able to meet and speak with a few great folks who work at Hudson Energy. Hotel Zaza had a unique atmosphere and the staff was very accommodating. Thank you TEPA, Oncor, Hotel Zaza, & Engie for the great meeting!


City of Killeen Street Light Field Work

TriStem recently completed a review of the City of Killeen and the City of Copperas Cove’s guard lights. As a part of our audits, we go out in the field to check the accuracy of the our clients’ lighting bills. These field visits are always full of surprises!

We found several broken lights and a strange twisted light. Approximately 10% of the lights we checked were broken or missing the dome. This is alarming considering that street light maintenance is included in the cost per light.

Aside from the broken lights, we came across a field of sunflowers, a strange assortment of stop signs, and a gaggle of geese! There was even a guard light located in the middle of the field of sunflowers with vines growing up the side. We hope that light is not included in the City’s bill.  One of the sunflowers made it all the way back to Waco, to brighten up the office! Thank you City of Killeen and City of Copperas Cove for letting TriStem be of service to you and your citizens!