Timing on long term commodity contracts is very important....as well as staying up to date on commodity futures. I was working for an upstate NY utility that maintained a fuel purchasing group (Coal, oil, gasoline, and Nuclear) that maintained long term contracts with suppliers back in '72. They got caught by the oil embargo and had a hard time coming up with the cash for fuel oil. A number of formerly coal fired plants had recently converted to fuel oil in order to help meet environmental standards. It was a lean year for the utility. They were short on cash until the embargo was over and customers had to get accustomed to the "new normal" in electricity rates.