Offering to manage energy and related infrastructure services,Sempra Energy’s energy services provider has inked a deal with oneof the nation’s largest auto parts retail chains. Under the dealSempra Energy Solutions will provide energy information and billingmanagement services for 718 retail outlets in 37 states.

The one-year agreement with Advance Auto Parts follows theretailer’s recent purchase of Western Auto, a former subsidiary ofSears, Roebuck & Co., last year, adding 590 stores and uppingAdvance’s total facilities to 1,700 throughout the U.S. and PuertoRico. The firms would not disclose the dollar value of the contractor the projected cost savings for Advance Auto. Included in theSempra contract are all of the newly acquired stores, along with128 existing Advance outlets located in the same geographicalareas.

The goal is to save Advance Auto at least 2% on its annual costsfor electricity, natural gas, water and sewer services at themultiple sites that are served by about 600 separate utilitycompanies. It is still undetermined what proportion the non-energyservices will turn out to be, according to a San Diego-based Sempraspokesperson, who noted that this is the largest scale in whichthey have agreed to manage water/sewer services.

“As we integrate two national retail chain operations, we needto be armed with the knowledge that will allow us to make thesmartest decisions about energy in the deregulated marketplace,”said Troy Metz, Advance Auto’s corporate service manager. Advancewill use Sempra’s Internet-based bill analysis, payment andreporting system, EnchargeT.

“One of the values that Advance Auto saw in Encharge is that itwould help them integrate these new sites into their operations,”said the Sempra spokesperson. Sempra will be “supporting thecompany’s rapid growth as it integrates new stores into its networkand develops a long-term energy strategy,” said Sempra’s Donald E.Felsinger, group president of unregulated businesses.

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