A newly formed Washington Water Power Co. subsidiary will analyze energy use at 50 U.S. Bank of Washington branches in the first of what could be many deals expanding the Spokane utility’s businesses.
The value of the contract will depend on how much energy WWP Energy Solutions can help the branches save, and whether U.S. Bank decides to extend the evaluation to all of its 165 Washington branches, account executive Dave Miller said Monday.
U.S. Bancorp, U.S. Bank’s parent, could also use Energy Solutions at its bank subsidiaries in Nevada, Idaho, California and Oregon, he said.
All told, the Portland-based holding company has more than 600 branches system-wide.
Energy Solutions Vice President Gerry Crooks said the company, formed just two weeks ago, is competing for similar contracts all over the United States. Some involve major retail operators like Federated Department Stores - parent of The Bon, Macy’s and several other well-known department stores, he told WWP shareholders gathered for their annual meeting at the Opera House.
Miller said energy experts will compile two years of billing information on each U.S. Bank branch into a separate computer file.
They will check to make sure the local utilities are applying the right rate schedule using the right kind of meter. Where energy consumption looks excessive, the branches will undergo additional scrutiny, Miller said.
“We don’t know what’s out there,” he said.
Miller said the branches were selected to assure a variety based on location, square footage and age.
Eventually, he added, Energy Solutions could purchase electricity and natural gas for the branches.
U.S. Bank of Washington President Phyllis Campbell said the partnership with Energy Solutions is part of a broader effort to increase productivity.
“The analysis of how our branches use energy will give us the tools we need,” she said.
Crooks said Energy Solutions is negotiating deals with 11 other companies with more than 1,000 outlets.
More businesses are centralizing their energy management decisions, he said, and utility customers are rapidly becoming more sophisticated about their options.
W. Les Bryan, WWP senior vice president, said the utility has been able to parlay its expertise in the wholesale electricity market into a ranking among the top independent marketers nationally. In the West, the utility trails only industry giants Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Pacific Power & Light Co., he said.
By the end of 1996, he said, WWP will have doubled its wholesale electricity revenues to about $185 million in just two years.
Bryan said the company will be taking its sales effort national this year.
Also at the annual meeting, shareholders approved the re-election of Chairman Paul Redmond and Eugene Meyer to the WWP board of directors, and a plan that would require all board members to own $100,000 stock within five years.