Many electricity providers treat all businesses the same for the purposes of their electricity service, making little distinction between a small-town retailer and a large-scale manufacturing plant. Houston-based Champion Energy Services hopes to address this issue with a new site that will make it as simple and easy for smaller businesses to switch electricity providers as it is for residents.
"There are more than one million Texas businesses that spend under $2,000 a month for electricity, and Champion Energy is excited to target this vital market sector that, until now, has been underserved by suppliers," Scott Fordham, Champion's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
According to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the state's more than 830,000 small commercial customers accounted for only around 12.5 percent of accounts in June, but nearly 40 percent of the state's electricity usage. Texas' roughly 5.65 million residential customers, meanwhile, accounted for around 85 percent of all clients and again nearly 40 percent of all electricity demand.
However, the remaining large-scale operations represented less than 2.5 percent of all customers and more than 22 percent of all electricity demand.
The average energy usage of these heavy users amounted to more than 28 megawatt-hours, compared to around 9.5 megawatt-hours from small commercial enterprises. That amounts to nearly three-times the energy usage, and TXU notes that many small businesses use less than 100 megawatt-hours each year, or roughly 8.3 megawatt-hours per month.
The differences between these categories do not end there either. As of June, more than 56 percent of all Texas customers drew energy from an alternate electricity suppliers, including more than 65 percent of all small commercial customers. Meanwhile, larger customers have found less incentive to make the change, with 41 percent of non-residential and non-small commercial customer choosing to switch electricity providers.
That discrepancy could stem from the lower electricity prices these companies and organizations have already enjoyed compared to other commercial customers over the years. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, industrial customers paid an average electricity rate of 6.74 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2009, more than 30 percent below the 9.66 cent per kilowatt-hour price paid by commercial customers.
As smaller commercial businesses with electricity needs below 100 megawatt-hours per year search for service, they could find a helpful resource in Champion's new service, PoweringYourBusiness.com, which allows for quick, simple self-enrollment closer to what residential customers have enjoyed for years.