WHEN EXECUTIVES IN CHARGE OF ENERGY purchases for national, multi-site companies say, "Simplify my life," they mean it.
These executives are doing business nationwide with an average of 60 electricity suppliers. This figure will drop more than 80 percent to 11 suppliers once electric competition gets underway, according to RKS Research & Consulting's 1997 National Account Survey.
RKS Vice President Carmine Grastataro directed the study and oversaw focus groups of vice presidents of construction, energy management, retailer, health care and property management companies. The participants discussed how they will exercise their new-found choice of electric suppliers. Most agreed they wanted the entire process simplified.
A simpler process for a national restaurant chain, for example, would include a single contact with an energy provider, a system for real-time pricing and a single bill of all costs and services. Price proved a secondary consideration. Grastataro said that first, companies wanted their energy provider to offer basic services; second, they wanted a good price.
Surprisingly, a simpler process doesn't mean bundling telecommunications and energy services together; only 9 percent of energy managers surveyed favored purchasing both services from the same supplier. However, almost two-thirds of the managers support the idea of combining electric, gas, water, sewage and trash statements into one monthly bill. Residential customers also liked the idea of receiving a single monthly bill for gas, water, sewer, trash and electricity.