Article - May 2000
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TXU Makes a
With Top Customers

One energy manager at a major clothing company put it simply: "I can't imagine not having this tool to work with."

Case Study

Bob Fesmire,
Direct Marketing Manager
Energy Interactive Inc.

As utilities and other energy service providers face deregulation of their markets, many are investing in new technologies and services aimed at addressing the needs of major commercial and industrial customers. The top 1% of a utility's customer base can account for as much as 30-40% of its revenue, so serving that 1% has taken on even more importance for these companies.

Such was the case at Texas energy giant TXU. Specifically, TXU's major commercial and industrial customers wanted energy usage information to hone their operations and improve efficiency, as well as prepare for future supplier selection. The company had provided this information on an ad hoc basis, but as more and more customers made requests for usage information, TXU realized that it needed a more systematic approach. And the clock was ticking-if TXU did not address these customers' needs by the time Texas opened its energy markets to competition, sooner or later its best customers would find another energy provider who would.

Control Solutions, Inc TXU knew it needed an online solution, but found few products on the market that met its needs. The company finally settled on Energy Interactive's Energy Profiler Online™ (EPO). "One of the reasons we chose EPO," explains TXU Programs Manager Carlos Ruffino, "was that it struck a healthy balance between power and usability. It gives customers flexibility in analyzing their usage, but it doesn't overwhelm them with raw data."

TXU unveiled EPO to customers as a subscription service called Konnections in May, 1999. The service provides major energy customers with access to their own metered load data as well as a number of analytical tools via a secure area on the TXU Web site. Users can draw on data from multiple sites to generate a variety of statistics and reports. Average load profiles, usage history charts, load duration curves-these and other analyses are available twenty-four hours a day. This in turn allows companies utilizing the service to adjust their operations based on information that is both timely and actionable.

Konnections also allows energy managers to compare energy usage between similar facilities and identify anomalies. Using the load profile graphs provided by Konnections, one TXU customer noticed unusually high consumption at a particular facility on Saturdays. Upon further investigation, he discovered the air conditioning system in the building was running on a weekday schedule. Once identified, the problem was easily fixed with a minor adjustment to the building control system. This one correction represented a savings of $800-$1,600 dollars each month. Another large industrial customer (outside TXU's service territory) was able to document billing errors using EPO that resulted in savings of more than $500,000.

Real insights like these and the savings they bring are making Konnections very popular with TXU's commercial and industrial customers. To date, over 550 of TXU's C&I accounts have signed up for the service. "We've received very positive feedback from our customers regarding Konnections," notes Ruffino. One energy manager at a major clothing company put it simply: "I can't imagine not having this tool to work with." 

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