Sempra to Provide Power To Utility.com Customers
Utility.com has signed up Sempra Energy Trading to become the preferred
wholesale natural gas provider behind the growing retail energy and communications
Utility.com, which bills itself as the "world's first Internet
utility company," signed with Southern Company Energy Marketing in
March to provide wholesale power for the site. (See NGI, April
3) Last month it announced its first two partners in the retail market,
FirstEnergy and Kansas City Power & Light. (See NGI, May
Through its eUtilities Program, Utility.com is partnering with traditional
utility companies to offer services online, including the individual services
provided by a traditional utility and add-ons such as customer enrollments,
service, bill presentation, payment collection, e-mail statements and online
bill storage. Along with energy, the program will offer long distance,
DSL, voice-over-Internet protocol and dial-up Internet access.
"The website is zip code driven," said Chris King, CEO of
Utility.com. "A customer would go to our website and enter his/her
zip code, taking the customer to a list of services offered for that area.
It would include anything from electricity service, to an entire package
including electric, gas, phone, Internet access and others." King
said the goal of the eUtilities program is to sign enough utilities so
that Utility.com has a presence in every state.
In April Utility.com said it had completed its second round of venture
financing, raising $30 million from leading Internet and energy investors.
The deal was led by Trident Capital and included as new investors Sempra
and Southern along with Kinetic Ventures and Natural Gas Partners. Idealab!
(cq), which creates and operates Internet businesses, was among the founders
of Utility.com. The site will be picking up some stiff competition soon.
Enron, with the help of AOL and IBM, announced earlier this week it was
launching a national retail energy transaction website, starting in August
in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. (See story,
Meanwhile, Sempra's regulated subsidiary Southern California Gas is
selling its interest in one of the first online retail web sites, energymarketplace.com,
which was set up in the fall of 1997. Excelergy has taken over operating
the site, which has been renamed www.echoicenet.com,
and is seeking to purchase SoCal's interest.
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