Hurricane Katrina changed the way Benny Smith buys energy. Until Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast back-to-back two years ago, Smith, director of maintenance at the 116-unit Price Chopper chain, based in Schenectady, N.Y., usually bought energy on the variable market. He made all the purchasing decisions himself. “Before the hurricanes, the energy market had been fairly stable,” said Smith. “In those days, we contracted with a supplier and stayed with a variable market ...
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