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The cold reality of high energy costs

by Justin Boyd

June 2001

When R. Steven Landes became executive director at NewBiz Virginia (NewBizVA), he couldn't have imagined that one of his first challenges would be absorbing and containing surging utility costs.

The combination of an especially cold winter with the high cost of oil tripled the fledgling mixed-use incubator's propane bill from about $1,000 per month in the fall to more than $3,000 in February. The Verona, Va., incubator opened last August.

Looking forward to summer, Landes had one thing to say: "We haven't had a full [season] of air-conditioning yet. I'm just hopeful that the electrical costs won't be higher than expected."

Landes' situation reflects a dilemma facing incubator managers across the country when planning budgets and projects for next year – how to deal with higher utility costs when it appears that last winter's prices were just the beginning of a potentially long-term energy squeeze.

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Keywords: budget -- incubator, facility management, financial management -- incubator, utilities

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