Washington Water Power’s strategy to capitalize on opportunities represented by electric utility deregulation got a big boost this week when a WWP subsidiary struck an exclusive deal with the nation’s largest retail technology buying group.
Under terms of the agreement, Avista Advantage - WWP’s energy services subsidiary - will be allowed to promote its products and services on an exclusive basis to members and patrons of RETEX.
RETEX is a consortium representing 1,500 member retail companies from diverse market segments.
Those companies have more than 90,000 locations worldwide.
The emerging climate of electric utility deregulation offers or will offer companies opportunities to shop for their providers of electricity and electricity-related services. But sorting out what are the best deals available will be a complex task, particularly for private companies with a variety of outlet locations.
WWP established Avista Advantage as a company designed to help other companies find the best deals. Other similar companies are being established to try and grab pieces of what is expected to be a lucrative services market.
Gerry Crooks, president and chief operating officer of Avista, said RETEX spent a year studying the energy services marketplace before choosing Avista as energy services provider.
“After labor, energy is our members’ largest non-merchandise cost,” Bert Gallo, RETEX presi dent, said in a news release issued earlier this week.
“With the electric utility industry moving quickly toward full deregulation, we think our members will be presented with opportunities for substantial cost savings,” Gallo said. “We believe Avista Advantage is the right company to help members identify those cost savings, as well as guide members through energy industry deregulation.”
Crooks said the RETEX agreement is a significant breakthrough for Avista.
“Our contract with RETEX provides us with a huge opportunity for entry into the retail services marketplace, a critical target market for our products and services,” he said.
Initially, Avista will offer its consolidated billing, resource accounting and energy management services to RETEX members.
Other Avista customers include the SharePlus Hospital Association, White Lodging Services Corp., Louisiana Pacific, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Tidyman’s grocery store chain.