Organization Name: Housing and Services, Inc.
Project Title: Bulk Energy Procurement Initiative for Supportive and Affordable Housing
The goal of BEPI is to make energy more affordable for NYC affordable and supportive housing building owners. Maintaining or reducing building operating costs is critical, especially in a time of decreasing rental subsidies, large water bills and growing health insurance costs. BEPI joins supportive and affordable housing building owners together to purchase natural gas and electric supply in bulk from NYS energy supply companies (ESCOs). By buying energy in bulk, BEPI members get volume discounts that are crucial to maintaining the bottom line for buildings operating on razor thin margins. By purchasing fixed rate energy supply contracts, BEPI members avoid utility price volatility and can forecast annual building operating budgets with more certainty.
Buying energy supply in bulk is not new. In 2006, the NYS Public Service Commission issued “aggregation” guidelines encouraging affinity groups to buy natural gas and electric in bulk buying pools. Why not NYC housing groups?
BEPI brings housing organizations together to pool their collective energy buying power. Housing and Services, Inc., a NYC supportive housing provider, launched BEPI in June 2014. HSI collaborates with Bright Power, a NYC energy-consulting company that provides energy procurement expertise for BEPI. JPM Chase Foundation and the Booth Ferris Foundation fund the two-year energy pilot. The 2014 polar vortex was a wake-up call for many housing groups on the local utility with energy supply prices that fluctuate daily. With BEPI, members get fixed rate 12 or 24 month contracts. The BEPI energy procurement process is simple and transparent. BEPI ensures that only pre-screened ESCOs participate in the competitive bidding process. Members can opt out of the BEPI pool if they do not like the prices. Members sign their own ESCO contracts, and the energy supply bills are part of the utility bill. With BEPI as a trusted energy partner, organizations can focus on their mission – housing.
Within a 6-month period, BEPI executed two energy-buying pools, with the following results:
Approximately 16,000 units of Buying Power* Volume Discount of $575,000 *
900 Utility Accounts * 23 Million kWh of Electricity & 5 Million Therms of Gas Purchased
BEPI members are industry leaders that impact NYC communities every day.
COMMON GROUND * CAMBA/CAMBA HOUSING VENTURES * NEBHDCO * HOUSING & SERVICES
SERVICES FOR THE UNDERSERVED * HOUSING AT JONAS BRONK * THE BRIDGE * LOS SURES
HOPE COMMUNITY * JERICHO PROJECT * FIFTH AVENUE COMMITTEE * SETTLEMENT HOUSING FUND *
DDM DEVELOPMENT * WEBB-BROOKER * POST GRAD CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
CUCS * COMMUNITY ACCESS * LANTERN GROUP
BEPI is an innovative pilot that demonstrates that by coming together to purchase energy, we can help keep affordable housing affordable, and use our energy savings to strengthen the communities we serve. There’s power in numbers.
HSI is a NYC non-profit formed in 1987 whose mission is developing supportive housing for the homeless. As a consultant to non-profits, HSI has developed more than 1,000 units of housing in 14 projects, plus 535 units for its own portfolio. HSI’s housing benefits NYC’s most vulnerable populations, including chronically homeless adults with mental illness, HIV/AIDS and substance abusers, ex-offenders, and homeless veterans. While negotiating with ESCOs for energy supply for its buildings, HSI recognized that the affordable housing industry could get more favorable pricing by leveraging their combined buying power. BEPI was born. At the end of the two-year pilot, all BEPI pools will be rolled into one large and growing pool, with even greater energy buying power. A goal of BEPI is to contribute to NYC’s climate change efforts by advocating that BEPI members take the lead as an industry by purchasing surprisingly affordable renewable energy for their buildings. Join BEPI.