Michael Heery, President of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce welcomed everyone to the meeting held at Blue Mountain Ski Area on Wednesday morning. He introduced Heidi Lutz, Blue Mt.'s Marketing Director.

Lutz also welcomed everyone to the breakfast meeting and told everyone that Blue Mt. recently completed two million dollars worth of improvements which includes the new Black Diamond trail, two new eateries and a movable grill to bring food to the skiers and hoped to see everyone during the winter season.

Heery introduced the guest speaker, Lanita Lum, Director of Member Relations of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

She started off by asking who in the room during the business day uses electricity. Everyone's hand went up.

"We looked for a way to help all our Chamber members and everyone uses electricity," she said.

Because PPL's rate caps will expire Jan. 1, 2010, according to the PA Public Utility Commission, small and mid-sized businesses can anticipate a 21-40 percent PPL rate increase.

Lum said the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce went looking for an alternative.

"We put it out there to all, asking for a bid. We selected Constellation NewEnergy (www.newenergy.com [1]) as our energy supplier," she said. "We selected Constellation because they work with large and small businesses. If you have your office out of your home, that might be a problem. Constellation would work with you and tell you if it would be worth your while to switch or not."

By purchasing directly through an electric generation supplier, their members have the ability to bypass the anticipated rate increase and find substantial rate relief through their member-exclusive Electricity Procurement Program.

"I tell our members that inaction is not an option. As of Jan. 1, your bills will be higher. By going with Constellation, our chamber members could see only a 15-20 percent increase compared to a 30-40 percent increase."

Lum said that if it's not to your advantage, Constellation will tell you.

"We're not telling you to change. We're just letting you know what is available to you," she said.

Lum told the group that PPL will continue to own the infrastructure and if you lose electricity, PPL will continue to service you.

"Constellation will just be the supplier of the electricity."

She explained that Constellation will come in and do an evaluation of your electricity usage history and give you a pricing proposal. You can sign on for one, two or three year contracts. Considerations for peak periods are included.

Jack Sturm, manager of guest services at Blue Mt. told everyone that Blue Mt. is already a customer of Constellation.

If you own a business and are a member of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce/Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and would like more information, you can visit www.LehighValleyChamber.org [2] or contact Lum at lanital@lehighvalleychamber.org [3] or call her at 610-841-5836.