I ran across what I considered to be a fascinating read about what could be the future of electricity sales in Texas. To summarize, the article discusses how in the UK, much of Europe and Australia have been deregulated for quite awhile compared to the still young and immature US deregulated markets. And over there, an interesting trend has occurred: the Electricity companies are partnering with large retail stores to help sell residential electricity.
To put it simply, large retail stores with excellent brands and customer service records have a level of trust that many of the electricity companies themselves might not have with potential customers. Which isn’t to say they’re bad companies, but a new electricity provider that’s been around for 5-10 years isn’t going to match the equivalent of a Wal Mart or Target that people have been visiting their entire lives. Retail Stores might also have more of a history and understanding of successful customer service practices and dealing with the human part of the equation that some electricity providers might not have mastered yet.
This might not be as out of the normal as it appears on the surface. Bundled services are nothing new, even here in the US. For example, lots of companies combine forces to sell products, like Satellite TVs and Phone Service, once upon a time. Hell, some electricity providers here in Texas have started offering satellite TV service bundled with their energy offerings. The point is, this kind of thing isn’t new. Additionally, I’ve seen Green Mountain Energy booths set up outside several of my nearby grocery stores in Houston on a regular basis. We’ve already seen Kroger and other grocery stores start to sell gas at special rates at pumps set up outside there stores. Does Kroger Electricity really seem that far-fetched? Personally, I don’t think so. And I’m not sure it isn’t a good idea. I think it’s only a matter of time before people stop off for some milk, eggs, and a new fixed term electricity plan.
So what do you guys say? Would you buy your electricity from a grocery store or a retail warehouse?