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...
Who's Who Among Energy Service Providers
A Growing Goliath
New Energy Ventures LLC, Los Angeles
Ownership: Half-owned by management; remaining share by MEH Corp., a UniSource Energy Corp. subsidiary.
Employees: 150, delivering electricity in California, New York and Pennsylvania. Targeted regions: New England, the Midwest, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey and Maryland.
Business Volume: 1,500 megawatts, close to $1 billion in gross billings by year's end.
Goal: To be the nation's largest energy service provider.
Largest Customers: U.S. Department of Defense, Ralphs Grocery Co., Hughes Aircraft.
Competitors: PG&E Energy Services, Enron Energy Services.
What Defines the Company: High-volume, low-priced commodity products.
Company/Product Sketch: President/CEO Michael R. Peevey claims that in California, company is largest energy service provider. NEV claims as many as 35 percent of customers who have switched in the C&I market. In New York, it claims 32 percent of the over-1,000 MW market. It has as much as 10 percent of market in Pennsylvania and expects to pick up more customers there in 1999.
Its C&I base has come at a price. NEV has spent undisclosed millions on advertising and marketing.
There are only three competitors on a national scale, Peevey insists. "We want to be in every market as a leading player," he says. "If not the leading player, the second player." The only regions it will avoid are those that have no competition, such as the Southeast and the Rocky Mountain states.
Its products include shared-savings commodity sales, where it commits to beat an index such as California's power exchange. Customers are seeing savings higher than 10 percent, depending on usage and load profiles. More typical are single-digit percentages. NEV also offers a fixed-price product.
Energy services, such as equipment and supplies, will next year include a new offering: 75-kW micro turbines. "I think you're going to see service options providing more of a marketing edge as we go forward," Peevey says. "At the present time, [the market] is still largely price driven." The industry will benefit from this development because margins on energy products are larger than those on commodity, he says.
A Market Leader
PG&E Energy Services Corp., San Francisco
Ownership: An unregulated subsidiary of PG&E Corp.
Employees: More than 400, delivering commodity and services in 23 states.
Business Volume: Would not disclose. Reportedly has contracted $2 billion worth of multi-year pacts over the past year.
Goal: To be market leader in California and among the top three energy service providers nationally.
Largest Customers: McDonald's Corp., Lucky Stores ($300-million contract), Rite Aid Inc. ($120-million contract).
Competitors: Enron Energy Services, the Duke companies, Johnson Controls.
What Defines the Company: Its desire to build customer relationships over time.
Company/Product Sketch: "We don't see ourselves as offering a line of products," says John Chamberlin, senior vice president. "Our primary product is an integrated financial and physical solution for customers. What that means is custom solutions that attempt to maximize the financial value of a set of things that surround energy to the customer."
The company's targeted C&I customer base is the Fortune 1,000. It offers financial services, risk management products, energy management services, power