The employee owners of Crystal Flash are dedicated to customer satisfaction. A big part of that dedication is our promise to keep you informed on matters that impact your safety, energy use, costs and more. We’d like to take this opportunity to share some information in that regard.
Here are some answers to some of the most common questions arising from our customers based on recent events.
Why am I using more fuel than before to heat my home?
Put simply, the weather in our region this past winter was significantly colder than historical norms.
For example, you may be familiar with the concept of Degree Days. Degree Days are measures of how cold or warm a certain location is. In basic terms, the more extreme the outside temperature, the higher the number of degree days. In colder weather, a high number of Heating Degree Days (HDDs) generally results in higher levels of energy use for space heating.
When compared to last winter, HDDs this winter were generally about 6-10% higher in Michigan. In many cases, this can help explain why you may have used more fuel to heat your home and why you may have needed to take an extra delivery from us.
NOTE: If you’ve added new appliances or have made other changes within your household, your usage could also be affected. For customers using CF’s Auto-Fill program, we ask that you partner with us by letting us know about any usage changes. This information can help us properly adjust our delivery forecasting to avoid run outs/emergency deliveries.
Why are energy prices surging?
There are several factors contributing to these increases, but the two main reasons include:
- Supply chain and inflationary forces induced by the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Russian invasion of Ukraine
As you may know, even prior to the recent events with Russia and Ukraine, energy markets and costs were already moving in a significantly higher direction. The Russia/Ukraine conflict, and the resulting sanctions, have sent an additional shockwave through global energy markets, as Russian oil and gas supply has been reduced.
While it’s too soon (and too volatile, at the moment) to accurately project exactly what energy costs are going to look like for the next heating season and beyond, it’s fairly easy to project those costs are going to increase.
Is my price still locked-in or did it go up?
Customers who are currently enrolled in one of our Price Protection Programs had their pricing secured from June 1, 2021, until May 31, 2022. Any orders placed through May 2022 will be at this same, fixed rate, so no additional action is needed at this time.
Customers who choose to purchase fuel on a “market rate” basis will continue to pay the prevailing rates dictated by the open market on the day of their delivery.
Information about our Price Protection Programs for the 2022/2023 heating season will be mailed to all enrolled customers by the end of May.
Why is my Budget payment changing?
Crystal Flash’s Budget Payment Plan is a very helpful program that helps customers manage their propane expenses by spreading out propane payments evenly throughout the year. You may already know how this works — CF calculates your payment amount by taking your estimated annual fuel expenditure and dividing the total into 12 equal monthly payments. One time each month, you make your monthly payment whether you take a delivery of fuel that month or not. The goal is to end each heating season with as close to a zero balance on your account as possible.
But what happens when the estimated usage doesn’t match what is actually used? Our Team monitors ongoing Budget plan payments based on each individual situation. When necessary, we work with customers to adjust your payments as needed to keep things on track and avoid any surprises at the end of the Budget year. Based on this year’s weather and any extra deliveries taken, some Budget customers have already experienced this, or will soon.
What can I do to help control my energy costs?
In addition to participating in one of our Price Protection Programs, here are some simple and affordable things you can do to help keep costs under control.
We hope that you have found this information to be reassuring and useful. Watch for more updates as details change in this evolving energy landscape.
Thank you for choosing Crystal Flash as your energy partner.