PowerSpring.com, a newly-formed marketer-technology partnership,is rolling out a B2B website aimed at bringing price transparencyto citygates across the country, to tap the next level ofcost-conscious customers, commercial end users, according to JohnHarpole, PowerSpring executive vice president.

The key to the citygate market is adequate measurement andinvoicing, which PowerSpring will provide through one of itsfounding partners, Metretek Technologies. Harpole’s own natural gasservices and brokerage company, Mercator Energy, based in Denver,CO, which served producers and end users, is the other part of theteam. PowerSpring’s targets, citygates and commercial customers,which are the next rung on the volume customer ladder after largeindustrial users.

In the past, the problem has been that while the utilities didthe metering and presented customers with invoices, commercialcustomers did not have access to the raw data. “Thirty to 40% ofthe invoices they received were wrong,” Harpole told aGasMart/Power 2000 audience in Denver last week. Individual meters,plus the software that goes with them, were too expensive forindividual commercial customers. On the other side Metretek hadjust about saturated the utility meter market and was looking fornew markets.

PowerSpring.com solves the problem by presenting commercialcustomers who sign on to the system with a meter for which theywill pay $1 a day. The customers also will pay 0.5% to 1% of theirburnertip cost and receive audited meter readings and back officereports of their gas usage.

In addition, PowerSpring is dedicated to educating commercialend users to “how natural gas works,” Harpole said, telling thestory of one commercial customer who asked what a mu-bo-tu (MMBtu)was. The transaction website will also host an energy portal tohelp end users organize grass roots efforts to change local rulesto favor competition.

PowerSpring also has latched onto an experienced e-businesspartner, Scient, which has created web-based platforms for a numberof industries.

“We have 35 people working on an e-business platform,” Harpolesaid. “We’re hiring another 30 to 40 people, have done our firstround venture capital and are planning an IPO later this year.”

Ellen Beswick, Denver

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