Despite today's slight dip in fuel costs, utility demand can "devastate" business operations

Lisa Tanner, staff writer for the Dallas Business Journal writes,

Higher utility costs are causing major worries for those who manage commercial buildings.

Costs are rising, and the trend is expected to continue.

In fact, about 75% of facilities managers responsible for 630 buildings reported an increase in utility costs, according to the International Facility Management Association, a Houston, TX-based trade group. Of that, 20% said their increases were 10% or more.

The association’s Operations and Maintenance Benchmarks survey was completed in late 2005 and also looked at issues such as housekeeping, maintenance and staffing for facilities.

Of the costs explored in the study, utility costs showed the largest increase in the past year, spurred by the increased cost of natural gas. That is attributed to increased demand and tight supplies, as well as a colder than normal winter in parts of the country. The cost of natural gas increased more than 40% while electricity costs decreased by about 3% since 2004, according to the report.

The rest of the story can be found here.