Few things can tell a community’s story better than its business residents’ insights. This is why we created the “Why Midlothian?” series.
In this series, Midlothian companies share their experiences, observations and impressions about why Midlothian has proven a great fit for their business needs.
We hope their stories will inspire you to consider how you can make something great with us in Midlothian.
A Conversation With … Brooke Sills, Owner of SK Energy
Tired of high electric bills, Brooke Sills and her husband, Kevin, began investigating how they could use Texas’ deregulated electricity market to their advantage. After several years of research and experimentation, they discovered that the best way to lower monthly costs was to keep close tabs on their electricity price contracts. Maintaining shorter contracts at ever-changing cheaper rates was a better option than higher rates on longer contracts. However, this savings came at a cost of time, vigilant contract surveillance, and strategic provider moves. The Sills soon found that the financial savings were well worth the effort, and friends and family began asking how they could achieve similar results – but without all the hassle. Thus, SK Energy was born in 2014. Tapping into a niche market, the company has tripled its business each year since launching. To learn more about SK Energy, visit Facebook.com/tryskenergy.
Midlothian Economic Development: Tell us a little background about starting up SK Energy.
Brook Sills: Prior to 2009, we were spending over $350 per month for electricity during the summers. We needed to find ways to cut our costs. We found that we could make the biggest impact monthly by switching electric service providers to a less expensive one. Over the next two years, we found that with short, three-month contracts, we were paying about 60 percent less than what we were paying the old provider with longer-term contracts. The only issue was that we had to remember to switch every three months. Friends and family voiced the same objections: “It’s too much trouble to remember to switch, take the time research, calculate savings and contact the new provider.”
We quickly realized that an opportunity was before us.
MED: What are the benefits of Texas' deregulated electricity market?
BS: Prior to deregulation, customers could only buy electricity from one company. Deregulation opened the market to allow multiple companies to compete for your electricity business. Now there are over 50 providers and 300 plans allowing you to choose your rate, term length, renewable content, and many other options. Unfortunately, with this many options available, comparing rate plans can be confusing and providers are not always forthright about their offerings.
A 2016 report by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power stated that average rates for those in deregulated parts of Texas are higher than for those in the regulated areas. The good news for deregulated parts of Texas is that there are plans with much lower rates if you take the time to find them. For a flat rate, SK Energy finds those plans for clients and manages strategic provider switches, typically resulting in valuable monthly savings for clients.
MED: Why did you choose to locate your business in Midlothian?
BS: Midlothian has been our home since 2003. We love the hometown feel, the street dances, the movie nights, the seasonal activities. Over the years, we have made many friends here who have been a great support and encouragement team and many have become our customers. Our advertising is mainly by personal referrals, so locating our business in Midlothian made a lot of sense. When our company is large enough, we hope to hire locally.
MED: How would you characterize your experience thus far in Midlothian?
BS: Many of our customers live in Midlothian. They are very good about sharing their experiences with our service to their family, friends, and neighbors. That has translated into substantial word-of-mouth advertising. Many of our Midlothian customers have given our information to their friends and family locally and beyond. Our service is not bound by the city or county limits and is available to 85 percent of the residents in Texas. Our current customers are located throughout the state in a variety of deregulated areas.
MED: Why is Midlothian a good place to do business?
BS: There are many families in Midlothian – and beyond – seeking effective ways to trim costs. To know that we can help people save money is a blessing. And when we are able to save somebody on a fixed income enough money that they can turn on their air conditioner during the hot summer or their heater on a cold winter day, it makes your heart feel good.
MED: How would you describe the Midlothian community?
BS: Midlothian has such a small town feel despite the fact that it is growing exponentially. This community tends to be close-knit and we pull together in times of need – not only for individuals, but also for families.
MED: What advice would you give to other companies considering locating in Midlothian?
BS: Consider your employees’ needs. Midlothian is in a great location near the metro areas of Dallas and Fort Worth. It’s a rapidly growing city with many local churches, great schools, family festivals, sports for kids and many other family-friendly activities. As a pro-business community, it embraces entrepreneurial ventures and corporate projects alike.