I hope you have fully adjusted to the change from daylight savings time. As of this week, we’ve “fallen back” to Standard Time. I don’t know about you, but I always rely on the old standby, “Spring forward” and “Fall back”. That’s how I remember what to do when the time to change our clocks is required.

“Spring forward” and “Fall back” are also shorthand for how people approach deregulated energy markets. To some, deregulated markets are a bit threatening and scary. They prefer to “fall back” on regulations to manage energy market risks for them. But from my experience, deregulated markets instead help us “spring forward” to realize new opportunities and benefits.

Admittedly, my observation may seem a little biased. After all, 360 Energy actively guides our customers in deregulated markets throughout North America. We ensure our customers are well prepared to take advantage of energy markets – instead of the markets taking advantage of them.

Deregulated markets offer consumers choice and options. I love that they don’t dictate to energy consumers what to purchase. They don’t dictate from whom customers must buy. Nor do markets dictate price.

Deregulated energy markets do have risks. Costs can be more volatile. But senior managers can manage those risks by paying attention and taking action. As soon as senior managers get involved in managing energy, an urgency to be proactive in controlling costs takes hold throughout the company. Deregulated markets benefit well versed, properly prepared consumers.

Consumers in regulated energy markets have few options or choice. It may seem that energy price risks have been removed. However, the true threat of regulated energy markets is they create an attitude of dependency. They reinforce a belief that “energy is not controllable.” The legacy of regulated energy markets is to make consumers feel powerless. This is a major issue. Regulated energy markets make it difficult for energy consumers to proactively improve their energy performance.

Based on pending climate change risks, senior managers in many organizations will need to be engaged, informed and proactive on energy issues. In the very near future, when governments ask energy consumers to fight climate change by managing energy better, I fear the regulated energy consumers will be left behind. They will not have the knowledge, internal capacity or culture to make that leap.

In my view, regulated markets tend to foster dependency, to encourage energy consumers to “fall back” into a reliance on others. Deregulated energy markets, on the other hand, require energy consumers to “spring forward” into action.

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