So the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won't break up the electric utility industry. But it may happen anyway (em if not at the FERC's direction, then perhaps under pressure from state...
becoming a commodity," he said.
The next day, when I still didn't get it, even after reading the news accounts in all the papers, I spent some time on the phone with Guarriello, of EnergyOne, and with Raymond G. Saleeby, managing partner, utilities and energies industries, AT&T solutions.
The "Value Proposition"
EDITOR: I had a difficult time at the press conference understanding the nature of the EnergyOne product? Can you clear that up?
SALEEBY: EnergyOne is developing a premier group of services in a bundle that carries a value proposition of comfort and convenience. The bundles will be made even more compelling because it will include AT&T long-distance telephone service. The brand will allow the local utility to be able to compete in the energy and telecommunications market, and not necessarily as the lowest-cost commodity in the market.
EDITOR: I noticed that you intended to offer "customer care." Does that mean that AT&T Solutions will have the customer contact with EnergyOne buyers? What do you mean by customers care?
SALEEBY: Customer care refers to our call center services. AT&T Solutions is a world-class quality supplier of customer care centers. We operate about fourteen to seventeen call centers around the world. We provide the call center; its management, staffing and training.
EDITOR: How will your customer care service play to the advantage of EnergyOne?
SALEEBY: When a resident moves today, they've got to make a lot of calls; electric, water, cable TV, telephone service, etc. We're trying to minimize that, to provide one-call service.
EDITOR: Do you operate call centers for other energy utilities?
SALEEBY: There are other utilities to whom we are talking about to manage customer care centers. I suspect we will be operating customer care centers for a number of utilities, both within and without EnergyOne.
But the AT&T Solutions care people who work with EnergyOne customers will be dedicated to EnergyOne. It's not a Chinese wall, it's a real wall. Separate floors, separate buildings, separate cities. When you're the size of AT&T, you get used to that.
Competing With Enron
EDITOR: There's something here I don't quite understand. Isn't EnergyOne going to be a "hostage," to the level of service quality and reliability offered by the regulated distribution utility that actually delivers the energy?
GUARRIELLO: Right now, there isn't a lot of latitude there. Initially, for the first year, the consumer will still get a bill from the utility, co-branded with EnergyOne, for whatever products and services they buy from EnergyOne. But eventually [after deregulation proceeds?] we will provide a consolidated bill to the customer. Of course, some consumers may want to have two bills, others might want to have one bill.
EDITOR: What sort of services will you offer? Would you bundle a guarantee of energy savings with energy efficient appliances, or offer "smart-home" services, through AT&T Solutions, like automatic meter-reading and real-time price discovery?
GUARRIELLO: Over time, we'll have offers in that vein. You bet. Homeowners will have devices that adjust thermostats from a remote location.
EDITOR: Are you selling on price, or are yo selling on