SALEM, Ore., Nov. 7, 2002 — Strategic Energy has become the first competitive retail electricity supplier in Oregon offering customers an opportunity to switch suppliers, attaining official certification last week.
Retail choice fizzled in Oregon last year with few customers switching, but this year may be different according to Rick Zomnir, President and CEO of Strategic Energy. “PGE has rules that make it difficult for customers to choose, but not impossible.”
According to Zomnir, the biggest obstacle to customers is that they have only one day to notify Portland General that they intend to switch suppliers. “Customers have one day — Monday, November 18th until 5 P.M. to notify PGE that they are switching suppliers, so they have to have signed a contract by November 14th.”
Zomnir says that’s the only way customers can guarantee budget certainty over the next few years in the face of increasing wholesale prices and the worsening drought. “And only the first customers to switch are eligible to receive a half-penny discount from Portland General,” he adds.
Asked about the challenges of breaking into the Oregon market, Zomnir pointed to customer caution in light of their experiences over the past few years. “Certainly, the history with PGE’s famously bankrupt parent company has people a little on edge, and that’s understandable. We’re happy to introduce Strategic Energy as a stable alternative that customers can trust based on our track record and objectivity. Many customers aren’t aware that we’ve been providing energy consulting services to industrial customers in the Pacific Northwest since the 1980’s, but we’ve been here a long time. We know this market.”
Strategic Energy doesn’t intend at this time to serve homes and small businesses in Oregon because some of PGE’s rules make it too complicated. “But we’re giving businesses an opportunity to lock in at today’s prices for the next three years. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to educate customers like we did in California in 2000 because of PGE’s switching restrictions,” Zomnir says.
Strategic Energy serves almost 1,000 megawatts of customers in California, some of which, according to Zomnir, would have had to close shop if they hadn’t switched to Strategic Energy. “We’re proud of our track record, and we hope to help businesses in Oregon just as we have in the other states where we operate.”
About Strategic Energy
Strategic Energy is a competitive supplier of electricity in states that have introduced competition in retail electricity. Strategic Energy has been providing energy consulting services since 1986 and provides Integrated Energy Management encompassing many services related to electricity and natural gas.
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Strategic Energy began serving electricity customers as a competitive supplier with Pennsylvania’s pilot program in 1997. Since then, Strategic Energy’s business has grown rapidly with expansions into Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, California, Texas and Oregon. Strategic Energy’s website is www.sel.com.
Source: Strategic Energy