Customers of Enron soon will be able to point and click a mouseto buy gas, electricity and eventually every product the companytrades with the launch of EnronOnline, a global Internet-basedtransaction system for wholesale energy and othercommodities.EnronOnline will allow participants to not only viewcommodity prices in real-time but also to directly transact withEnron over the Internet free of commission. The transaction systemwill go live Nov. 29 with the launch of North America natural gasto be followed by all other products over the next six weeks.
“EnronOnline offers customers the next level of wholesale energytransaction service by having easy and simple access to Enron’sprices and products,” said Jeffrey K. Skilling, Enron president andCOO. “This Internet system complements Enron’s extensive marketingcapabilities and gives our counterparties the choice of transactingover the telephone or instantly through our website.”
Enron’s customers across the world will be able to accessseveral hundred traded products through EnronOnline. The companywill leverage its wholesale market expertise to publish real-timeprices for power, natural gas, coal, weather products, liquids,petrochemicals, pulp and paper, emission credits and othercommodities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. It will continueexpanding web-based commodity and product offerings globally.
“Unlike other Internet commodity service providers, EnronOnlinedoesn’t match buyers with sellers,” said Skilling. “Customers willbe able to instantaneously conduct transactions directly with anEnron company as a principal.” Skilling said Enron would not beopposed to providers of energy transaction sites posting Enron’sprices on their sites. However, he said he believes customers willfind it easier to just go directly to Enron through its own site.
Real-time capabilities in the United States will be deliveredwherever possible through Enron Communication Inc.’s intelligentfiber optic network. This system is designed to combat web latencyand create a true real-time environment online for Enron’scustomers.
“This will be, I think, a totally new way of doing business,”Skilling said Tuesday at the Interactive Energy ’99 conference inHouston. “For the first time people won’t have to get on thetelephone and call 15 people. They can call up the Enron screen.And once you’re on the Enron screen, you’ll be able to transactwith Enron at the push of a mouse in any commodity that we transactin anywhere in the world. You want power on the German-Danishborder. You want power in California. You want natural gas inFlorida. You name it. It will be there.”
Skilling gave two reasons why Enron will be a strong competitorfor Internet sales. “The first thing is when you call up an Enronscreen, you’ll be able to transact in more commodities than anyoneelse anywhere in the world. That’s No. 1. No. 2, which is the mostimportant: ……. We are by far the largest buyer and seller ofelectricity in North America, largest buyer and seller of naturalgas in North America. We’re No. 1 in electricity in the U.K. We’rethe largest seller of electricity in Nordpool, largest seller ofelectricity in Australia. We will be the largest seller ofelectricity on the Continent as the continental markets open up. Wehave more liquidity. We believe we’ll have the best prices, so whenpeople look at prices on our screen, we think they’ll see the bestprices and they’ll want to transact with us.” Plans are forEnronOnline to eventually serve the retail market as well, Skillingsaid.
A preview of the system is currently available atwww.EnronOnline.com.
Frank W. Getman Jr., CEO of wholesale power trading Web siteHouston Street Exchange, said at the Interactive Energy conferencethat Enron’s announcement yesterday serves as further proof thatenergy trading will be migrating to the Internet in a big way.”Today the phone and the fax still rule. Still 95-plus percent ofthe electricity is traded over the telephone. There’s very poorprice transparency. When you’re talking to a person on a phone or asquawk box you’re getting a single data point. It’s unlike onHoustonStreet.com where you’re able to see the depth and thebreadth of the market.”
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