Utilipro Reorganizes, Cuts Staff
Utilipro Inc., an 80% AGL Resources-owned billing and customer
service provider, announced last week it is cutting staff and
reorganizing because energy deregulation is taking hold too slowly.
In order to accommodate this slow pace, the management at
Utilipro decided to reduce the workforce by 10%. It currently
employs 280 people in its Atlanta, GA, headquarters. The reductions
are ongoing, a company spokesperson said.
Also as part of the changes, Utilipro announced that James
Hopkins, formerly director of information technology at Utilipro,
is now president, having day-to-day operating responsibilities for
the company. Neil Stewart, formerly director of information
technology operations at Utilipro, is now the chief information
officer. Brian Gillespie, who had been president and CEO of the
company, is now its full-time CEO.
"The transition to a deregulated energy market is occurring at a
slower pace than anyone anticipated," said Gillespie. "With the
recent exit of key players, such as Sierra Pacific Energy Corp. [in
Nevada] and PSEG Energy Technologies [in New Jersey], from the
deregulated energy market it is clear that the complexion of the
competitive landscape is changing."
Utilipro serves electric and gas suppliers in California,
Georgia, New Jersey, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. This marks the
latest in a string of companies that have recently scaled back
their efforts in deregulating markets. Earlier this year both DTE
Energy and Cinergy entirely pulled out of the retail marketing
arena, saying the markets are not developed enough to turn serious
In Nevada, Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power have both filed lawsuits against
the state commission to halt the application of the current electric deregulation
legislation (see NGI, April 3). The utilities
claim the system, as it stands now, would be unfair to its customers and shareholders
It's this kind of setback that has caused Utilipro to pull back.
"If you look at the Nevada situation," Gillespie said, "there was a
case where the deregulation process was supposed to move swiftly,
like in Georgia. Now, people are saying 'no way,' and want the
whole thing changed. This type of setback has shown us that
deregulation will move at a much slower pace than we originally
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