Already, private providers of brand-name energy are taking advantage of federal deregulation, underpricing power monopolies and selling their product at discount prices nationwide. One such company is Utility-corp United Inc. of Kansas City, Mo. Another is natural gas producer and electricity generator Enron Corp. of Houston.
Utilicorp United Inc., a year-old offshoot of Missouri Public Service Co., claims its EnergyOne brand will wrap natural gas, electricity - and any other product used by an independent business that is measured in Btus - into one contract for a customer.
``It's the BTU in a box,'' said Al A. Butkus, Utilitycorp director of corporate communications. ``We copyrighted the theme.''
Larry Mayberry, EnergyOne's director of industrial markets, notes the service is still relatively small, with $6 million in annual contracts within its current system, and about $30 million nationwide, inclusive, in retail dollars.
He said the service will be of greatest interest to plastics manufacturers with several locations. One of its advantages will be to allow these companies to ``consolidate their billing,'' he said.
``It makes sense for them to have someone else to secure their energy. It works best for those with centralized chillers and boilers,'' he said.
Michael Stears, EnergyOne's director of power quality and reliability, said the company has worked with about 20 plastics processors to increase the efficiency of motors and drives.``We also work on power quality problems, sort of like energy reliability.''