Case Studies

Case Study #1

Cascade Natural Gas’ Monthly RFPs

Cascade Natural Gas, a prominent natural gas distribution company serving approximately 257,000 residential, commercial, industrial and transportation customers in 93 communities in Washington and Oregon, needed a better way to manage the monthly procurement of their long-term natural gas. To better control and track their Request for Price (RFP) process, Cascade turned to COMET to make the method more efficient and to ease their regulatory burden.

The Situation

Cascade was interested in finding a more modern and streamlined approach to their RFP process for procuring natural gas. Prior to using COMET, Cascade would use e-mail and phone to manage its monthly procurement needs, but that process was very manual, time-consuming, and did not have a simple mechanism to review bids and manage their audit and regulatory needs . Cascade quickly found that by using COMET for their RFPs, they could reduce the time it takes to complete a transaction and have a better way to address their reporting requirements.

The Process

Working closely with the TruMarx team, Cascade was able to identify current suppliers as well as potential new counterparties that were on COMET’s growing subscriber list. The few Cascade suppliers that were not on COMET already were notified in advance of Cascade’s initial RFP so they could make the necessary arrangements to access the platform. Since there was no software to install or license fees, the process of connecting new subscribers was completed quickly and easily.

Cascade works closely with the COMET support team to post the terms, conditions and other relevant transaction information on COMET. Cascade’s selected counterparties are simultaneously notified, can view all of the transaction details, submit offers, ask questions, and negotiate. At the close of the period, an automated bid comparison is produced directly from the COMET platform. A complete audit trail is maintained since all internal and external communications on COMET are logged and tracked.

The COMET Advantage

Today, Cascade uses COMET for their long-term natural gas procurement transactions using a variety of pricing mechanisms including index, fixed price, and even some fixed-for-float hedges. The efficiencies gained have allowed Cascade to streamline their entire RFP process dramatically reducing the number of days it takes to complete an RFP, leading to cost savings as well.

Benefiting from the fact that COMET captures all transactional data, Cascade is able to more easily meet much of their audit and documentation compliance needs both internally and externally. From state regulators to federal reporting like the FERC Form 552,

Cascade has found COMET’s audit trail output saved them more time and money when generating their annual documentation.

“COMET has provided us with process efficiencies and has significantly reduced the duration of many of our RFP cycles, saving Cascade time and money. COMET makes our old, manual ways of transacting suddenly seem archaic.”

– Mark Sellers-VaughnManager, Supply, Resource Planning, Cascade Natural Gas

 

Cascade Natural Gas

Regulation and Compliance

A comprehensive audit trail was created for all interactions on COMET.

Efficiency

Through automation, the duration of RFP cycles was reduced, saving time and money.

Customer Service

There was full support for the entire transaction process from set-up to completion.

Case Study #2

ENSTOR Open Season

ENSTOR, a leading independent provider of natural gas storage, needed an efficient way to accept binding bids for firm natural gas storage capacity at its U.S. facilities. To manage the publication, distribution and negotiation process for their open season, ENSTOR embraced COMET to easily connect with current and new clients.

The Situation

With another open season approaching, ENSTOR was looking for a better way to manage the bid process for natural gas storage. In years past, ENSTOR had used a proprietary online system to manage its bid transactions, but that system was burdensome, time-consuming and expensive to maintain. ENSTOR discovered that by using COMET for their open season, they could relieve themselves of unnecessary burdens while providing bidders with a platform that was easy to use and would meet regulatory needs.

The Process

Working closely with the TruMarx team, ENSTOR was able to identify current customers as well as potential new counterparties that were on COMET’s growing subscriber list. ENSTOR clients that were not on COMET were notified in advance of the open season so they could make the necessary arrangements to access the platform. Since there was no software to install or license fees, the process of connecting new subscribers was completed quickly and easily.
As the open season neared, the terms, conditions and other relevant transaction information was entered into COMET. When open season began, all counterparties were simultaneously notified and could view all of the transaction information. Throughout the bid period, ENSTOR added additional counterparties and viewed responses as they were received. At the close of the period, a bid comparison was produced directly from the platform. A complete audit trail was created since all internal and external communications on COMET are logged and tracked.

The COMET Advantage

Having committed to providing leading edge technology to its customers, ENSTOR’s use of COMET fulfilled their need for efficiency not only for their open season but for future dealings as well. ENSTOR is better positioned to take advantage of COMET moving forward for storage deals, parks, loans, as well as other natural gas transactions. With the benefits COMET provides, transaction timelines can be compressed and the processing of an open season is less cumbersome and more open than ever before.

“TruMarx offered us an online open season that let us turn our focus purely to the business of serving our customers. The COMET platform and team were incredible, and laid the groundwork that will make future transactions for our core customers even quicker, simpler and more accessible.”

– Kay Atchison, Former Marketing Director, ENSTOR

Enstor

Efficiency

From set-up to completion, COMET is easy to use, saving time and effort.

Standardization

All counterparties were accessed and bids were returned through one standard method and portal.

Market Scope

Existing relationships were maintained and potential counterparties were added and exposed to ENSTOR’s opportunities.

Regulation and Compliance

A comprehensive audit trail was created for all interactions on COMET.

Case Study #3

Big Retailer. Multiple Locations. One Solution.

A retail chain, with numerous stores across North America, was in search of automated solution to their natural gas and power procurement needs. With a desire to standardize their energy procurement process and gain new efficiencies, the robust yet intuitive COMET platform was the answer. Recognizing that retail buyers have unique purchasing needs, COMET incorporates features and functionality specifically tailored to those needs. By easily handling multiple site purchasing, uniform template-driven transactions as well as price and counterparty evaluation, COMET is meeting the needs of retailer energy managers.

Electronic Audit Trails and Straight Through Processing

Using COMET’s electronic system, capturing and maintaining all transaction information is automatic. Since COMET captures all of the data around a transaction, including internal collaboration and approvals in a standard format, report generation for audit or regulatory compliance is readily accessible. Additionally, this transaction data can be seamlessly passed to other internal systems such as trade capture, risk, and other systems eliminating manual steps, errors, and the associated costs.

Finding and Rating Counterparties

COMET helped expand supplier options by providing access to more counterparties. With an impressive and growing subscriber list, it’s easy to employ COMET’s advanced filtering tools to identify new counterparties at specific market points and select them for their RFP. Additionally, to help in the selection process and in determining the right counterparty for a transaction, COMET provides a flexible and customizable ratings tool. Simply choose the criteria and rank counterparties. COMET calculates the overall rating that has been assigned and makes it readily available throughout the decision making process.

Retail Site Management

Since retail needs are site specific, COMET provides complete site management to streamline the purchasing process. Sites can be entered, grouped, and managed using the robust COMET Administrative module and they can be quickly recalled when originating transactions.

Pricing Clarity: Non-Energy Cost Breakouts

When soliciting bids from suppliers within COMET, the retailer can now also obtain a structured breakdown of non-energy costs for their transactions. This additional price transparency provides the retailer the valuable, and hereto for very difficult to obtain information they need to more effectively execute on their purchasing strategies.

Recent “full requirements” deals completed in the following markets:

  • New England-United Illuminating
  • PJM-Pennsylvania Power
  • PJM-Cleveland Electric (First Energy)
  • PJM-Toledo Edison (First Energy)
  • And other deregulated markets

Non-Energy Cost Breakout

  • Congestion
  • Ancillary Services
  • ISO Charges & Administrative Fees
  • Transmission & Distribution Line Losses
  • Installed Capacity (UCAP, RPM, FCM)
  • Renewable Portfolio Requirements
  • Network Integration Transmission
  • ISO Procured Ancillary Services
  • All State & Local Taxes
  • Utility Transmission & Distribution Tariff
  • All Other Utility Charges
  • All Transition & Stranded Costs
  • Switching Credits
LinkedIn Google+ Facebook Twitter Youtube"


Get a Free Consulatation