Direct Energy Purchases Bounce Energy

Posted on Posted in Bounce Energy, Direct Energy, Texas Deregulated Electricity, Texas Electricity, Texas Electricity News

This morning Direct Energy has announced their purchase of Texas retail electricity provider Bounce Energy. Bounce Energy, who has consistently been at the top of the Texas Electricity Ratings rankings (currently #1), has easily been the most innovative electricity provider in the country in terms of their online technology/capabilities and their success in reaching out to potential and existing customers through social media outlets.

Additionally, just recently, Bounce made groundbreaking contributions to the electricity space with the launch of their new MyAccount functionality, as well as their Build Your Own Plan functionality. The Build Your Own Plan is the only one of it’s kind in the electricity space, and allows customers to select their own plan term length, the amount of renewable energy in the plan, whether they want automated and paperless billing, and more.

In contrast, Direct Energy has long been lacking in the realm of online functionality, digital customer outreach, and a customer friendly web-portal. So on the surface, this seems like a very smart purchase by Direct Energy, but only if it’s viewed as a strategic purchase of specialists and experienced personnel to bolster some trouble areas of their business. If it is just viewed as a purchase of a customer book, then I’d purport that Direct Energy is wasting a great opportunity.

Fortunately, from some of the quotes in the press release, it looks like Direct Energy is very much viewing this as a strategic purchase:

“We are always looking for new ways to enhance our customers’ experience and satisfaction,” said Steven Murray, President of Direct Energy Residential. “Bounce Energy’s digital marketing insights and e-commerce platform will bolster our capabilities as we expand our product offerings to current and potential customers.”

 

“Direct Energy is the ideal organization with which to expand our e-commerce platform and digital marketing capabilities,” said Robbie Wright, CEO of Bounce Energy.

If that is the case, and by all appearances it seems to be a strategic purchase, this is great news for both Direct Energy and Texas electricity customers alike. Bounce’s technology and marketing savvy along with Direct Energy’s resources (which allow them to go toe to toe with incumbents like TXU and Reliant), could create the kind of Texas electricity company that will push innovation in new ways that will only benefit Texans, as well as customers in all other states Direct Energy sells electricity.

All in all, it’s a very interesting day for Texas electricity customers. The #7 company on Texas Electricity Ratings is purchasing the current #1 company, but there’s a lot of hope that the union will mean great things for customers. Congratulations to both Direct Energy and Bounce Energy!

18 thoughts on “Direct Energy Purchases Bounce Energy

  1. I would not be happy about this if I was a Bounce customer. This is definitely a strategic acquisition for Direct Energy. It picks up new customers but will not be adding to its technology. Poor customer service and questionable tactics are to follow. The only resources it will use is its ability to get away with murder with its political clout. This is the big fish eating the small and keeping the status quo alive for the big companies.

    1. I disagree with this, RA. When I say strategic purchase, I mean that DE does plan on adopting Bounce’s technology platform. From the people I spoke with at Bounce, it very much appears they’re bringing their tech infrastructure to fix things at DE.

      As for questionable tactics, I can say that DE hasn’t really resorted to what I would consider the “dirty pool” behavior of guys like Reliant/NRG. They’ve been pretty above board for a big guy with generation assets, they’ve just had some weaknesses as a company.

      I’m optimistic this deal could be different. Bounce has released comments on FB saying they aren’t going away, customers will still be able to use their innovative platform and technology, earn rewards, etc.

      I’m going to try and speak with some people at Bounce directly later today and see if I can’t get some more details.

      1. Bounce doesn’t have the slightest idea how things are going to work. They are just cashing out. Direct Energy will be in control from here on.

        Direct Energy has some major issues and engages in some highly questionable practices. They are buying a book and eliminating a competitor. Nothing else. In any case, Bounce’s technology is way overrated.

        1. RA,

          I spoke with some people at Bounce and plan on doing a more detailed write-up, but my understanding is that it wasn’t just buying a book. DE is hiring almost all of the Bounce employees and bringing them over to DE, and their technology was a major reason for the purchase.

          As for their technology, I’d love to hear what experience you have with their systems. I’ve heard nothing both rave reviews from Bounce customers coming through my site, and their customer portal is far and away the most robust I’ve seen in the REP space.

          1. Obviously, Bounce is going to put a positive spin on it. In looking at Bounce’s customer reviews online here and elsewhere, they are overwhelmingly bad except for the obvious plants by Bounce reps which all basically use the same wording. So Bounce and Direct Energy seem to be two peas in a pod so this will likely be a good integration.

            Bounce’s Build Your Own Plan is nothing special. It just gives you one of the established plans which aren’t particularly attractive and have high fees. If anything, Direct Energy may be the better company to do business with.

            Bounce’s one positive seems to be its rewards program which high use customers seem to love. If Direct Energy incorporates that, they may have some success although it will obviously come at a cost and I doubt DE is going to want to absorb that or they already would be doing something similar.

          2. I’m sorry you think that so many of Bounce’s comments are plants. I spend a lot of time looking at each review myself, and a number of factors, to determine whether or not it is genuine. That’s why many reviews take days/weeks to be approved on the website.

            You certainly seem to have some strong opinions on both Bounce and DE. They do not agree with what I’ve observed in the marketplace myself, but you’re certainly entitled to your opinions.

            As for the Build Your Own Plan being special, well, I certainly disagree with you there. It’s something no other REP has been able to accomplish in an industry where technological advancement and development moves at a snails pace. I’ve spoken with several people at different REPs and they all said they looked into the idea years ago and couldn’t make it work.

            Your critique of the rewards program makes little sense to me. If customers love it, why wouldn’t DE incorporate it? It being too expensive makes little sense since DE would have financial resources that dwarf Bounce’s. You seem to know a lot about the electricity market, but perhaps you’ve never worked in a large corporation before where red tape and bureaucracy often stymie common sense.

  2. Your Contact Us section doesn’t work for e-mail so I’ll just post here. Why do you censor your blog comments as much as you do? You seem to be overly interested in monetizing your site. But given all the negative comments in the reviews, it seems unlikely that a REP is going to worry too much about your blog. I think you should open it up to a wider point of view instead of trying to cheerlead for the REPs.

    1. RA,

      Thanks, I’ll look into the Contact Us section. Now sure why it isn’t forwarding to my email account as it should.

      The answer is, I don’t censor my comments much, except when they come from people who work for special interest groups or with an obvious agenda. The fact of the matter is, I’ve withheld one of your comments for a few days while I tried to figure out if you were one of those people, but I have every intention of letting it through at some point, particularly when I time to respond to some of your criticisms, since I do disagree with them.

      I appreciate your thoughts on opening up to a wider audience, but I’m curious what wider audience you think there is than consumers? As for cheer-leading for REPs, if that is how it comes across to you it’s because I believe in the basic energy only market model. All of the price increases that have been forced on the market in recent used are the fault of the power generators and the weak people manning the PUC that are more interested in covering their own behinds than actually monitoring the market and making changes that will benefit how the market itself works. And I’m not immune to criticism against REPs. In fact I’ve criticized some of the incumbents for shady behavior on a number of occasions.

      I’m not the only person who believes in an Energy Only market. Paul Ring at Energy Choice Matters would be another person with a voice in the market who believes REPs have a place. But I consider my purpose to educate people HOW the market works, because most people aren’t aware of the cause/effect of what’s going on behind the scenes as to how it effects their electricity bills. My blog exists entirely for consumers.

  3. You’ve censored more than one. And all of them have been because they did not meet with your viewpoints.

    This site is a great public service. The blog is pretty much ignored seemingly so it’s not a big deal what gets posted here. But it has potential. I disagree with you on Deregulation but that’s neither here nor there. There is no way that a double mark-up is ever going to be cheaper than a single mark-up and it predictably hasn’t been.

    The PUC is a captured agency and always will be in this state. But they are more in the tank for the producers than the providers. They can only serve one master. There are any number of REP issues that need addressing such as charging more for less usage in a state short on power, charging for meter readings, not meeting disclosure requirements. The abuses in the market are rampant. Price is really not an issue at this point although it might become one. Fees are out of control. It’s concerning to me to see someone that censors negative feedback of that type. Maybe you have only done it with me since you have few comments and most people are completely clueless about it anyway. But you should do better.

  4. When it comes to Bounce, we have a basic problem. Direct Energy offers lower rates. So Bounce is charging more per kWh and giving rewards as an offset. Direct Energy has pretty low rates. The only issue with them is their fees, incompetent service and general lack of ethics.

    So either Bounce customers are going to give up their rewards in an exchange for lower rates or Direct Energy is going to jack up rates and offer rewards. They can’t do both because of where their rates are now. If Direct Energy chooses to keep Bounce as a sister
    operation to pass along higher rates as many do to clueless customers, it might work out for all concerned.

    In reading customer complaints about Bounce, customer seem to complain more often about their technology not working and never make any reference to it being great. The stuff you like is the kind of stuff management likes to go on about but customers could care less.

    1. You are pushing an agenda and telling me I have an agenda and I am wrong. You are running over both providers in a deal valued for its technology. Good UX means customers don’t spend any time or energy thinking about it, much less writing about it. You seem to know nothing about eCommerce, but wish to act as though you do, and you seem to understand the market for power but think everyone is dumber than you, or a sucker. In short, you write like every smartest guy in the room trader that has ever graced the rest of us with his presence. Just because you use the internet, it doesn’t make you an expert, no matter what your confidence is telling you. I’ve been working UX and ecommerce for a long, long time and my experience is that customers are not nearly as stupid or uninformed as market “experts” like you attempt to portray that they are when running them down to justify your agenda, which you’ve done here.

  5. And by the way, I don’t think it is your fault that Bounce plants are in your reviews. It is obviously a strategy that they are using. There isn’t much way for you to control it as the reps will make their comments from home to make it look legit. But the wording usually gives them away. I see the same comments elsewhere, so I know they are plants. You’ve always got to wade through that kind of thing in researching so a diligent person can make their own judgment as they always have to because there is plenty of venting that takes place..

  6. And finally, I am not a employee of a company of any type. In fact, I am unemployed. I do not work for a consumer advocacy group although I am a consumer advocate because I am one and I’m tired of getting ripped off. I know a lot about the market because I have to work so hard to find a decent company to do business with so I know all of their fees and practices and have done business with plenty of them as I have to keep moving on to avoid the new fees. Plus, I have a securities background so I find the disclosure interesting and am interested in seeing all the shenanigans going on in the market.

  7. Excuse me. I am stating an opinion. Why should it be any of your concern to see a particular company get negative comments. I am simply an informed customer and presenting my views. They are counter to yours. So what? Isn’t that what this site is supposed to be about? If you are not in the tank for the REPs as you claim, why are you so emotional about the issue.

    Do you believe in the free market or not? Let the free market prevail. People should be able to state their opinions about this market and particular companies. It is not your job to protect the market or the company. You should be interested in allowing a free discourse which you clearly are not.

    1. Excuse me, but I was stating MY opinion. As to date, I’m the only person who has said “you are allowed to have your own opinions.” On the other hand, you’ve called my opinions wrong several times on this thread, dismissed my blog as “not read,” accused me of only having the interest of monetizing my website, and now you’ve accused me of being in the bag of the REPs. All of this while out of hand dismissing any knowledge I might have of the Texas Electricity Market and eCommerce (while demonstrating little of your own knowledge of eCommerce), or any opinions I might have on the deal in question.

      Since you seem to have reviewed my site and the reviews so well, then it should be obvious to you that I don’t have a problem letting any company get negative reviews. If you’ve read my website, then it should also be obvious to you that I’m very much in favor of a free market. As for free discourse, why do you think I keep approving your comments and responding? You say I’ve censored you before, but I don’t see where/when. Additionally I’m taking time out of my day to respond to you. It’s funny, for a website that you seem intent on stating no one cares about or reads, you certainly do seem to be spending a lot of time on here leaving comments. That somewhat belies your point.

      But think what you like. As long as you have something worth contributing, I’m thrilled to keep letting your comments through. However, if you’re going to keep spamming my site with whatever agenda you seem to have, I’ll simply label you a troll and treat you accordingly.

  8. And by the way, I am running over Direct Energy for good reason. They were in violation of disclosure requirements on their WTU Variable Energy rate plan and I busted them on it. They very recently changed their reporting because I created enough heat for them to finally do so. But I did it because they ripped me off on the plan because of their bogus reporting. So get a clue.

    1. I’m supposed to have a clue on the private disputes you’ve had with DE? That seems like a logical expectation. If they did something wrong and you busted them for it, then good for you. I like a market where everyone is held accountable. I hope you left a very detailed review on my website on your WTU experience. I’ve got a string of reviews to go through and review for posting, and that sounds like a good one that will help other consumers.

  9. OK then. I do like your site. I say the blog is basically ignored solely because it doesn’t get any comments. It was not a putdown. One of my true talents in life is making people mad. So my apologies.

    Anyway, sorry for the confusion. I think we have both misunderstood one another. I’ll leave you alone — for now.

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