Originally published by Blackburn Agrimedia
BY RODNEY HIEMSTRA
In 1988, a group of greenhouse farmers got together when natural gas was de-regulated in Ontario to form a buying group called the Ag Energy Co-operative.
Now in 2017, more and more farmers are seeking out the group’s services as a way to combat soaring energy costs.
Director of Sales and Member Relations Michelle Vieira, says more and more producers are also becoming members and sharing in the benefits.
“We buy aggregate gas and electricity. We then sell it based on wholesale market prices. We charge a fee for our services to cover our costs. Any margins we make from our customers — we service both a member and a customer-type of business — go back to our members in patronage, shared dividends cash or shares.”
Vieira notes producers who may not want to become members can still buy energy from the group to save money.
She says while purchasing at a fixed rate is an option, the Guelph-based company prefers to create a customized solution for each farm business based on when gas or electricity is used the most, and how much is required.
Ag Energy feels the option is better than a blanket approach, as no two agricultural operations are the same.
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