How Utility Companies Are Working with Supermarkets to Get You a Better Deal

What a great way to partner. Utility companies are now working with supermarkets; we can soon buy an electricity plan along with our organic lettuce, sustainably farmed fish, and fair trade coffee.

As we progress in life, it’s important to see fresh ways we can take advantage of services or partner. Deregulation brings opportunity.

The essential takeaway is that buying behavior of all kinds will be combined and strengthened. It affords us more opportunities to save time and money. Yet we also should be aware that it gives reams of information to retailers. Our lives become more efficient and intertwined, yet less private.

Check out this excerpt from the article, “Selling Electricity Over the Counter” in the Wall Street Journal. It’s interesting to see this innovation taking place in Australia, the U.K. and the United States. Tell me what you think: Would you buy a plan and gain discounts, while losing privacy?

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Wall Street Journal article:

Utilities around the globe are teaming up with retailers such as Marks & Spencer Group PLC in Britain, Coles Supermarkets in Australia and Best Buy Co. in the U.S. to sell energy and related products directly to consumers.

Retailers see a growing market in energy-conscious consumers who now shop for everything from power suppliers and energy-efficient appliances to solar panels, insulation and home-energy-management systems.

As more utilities have been forced to compete in deregulated markets, establishing alliances with retailers has helped them build customer loyalty and reduce customer churn.

Reliant has teamed up in Texas with electronics and appliance retailer Best Buy, in whose stores the utility now markets electricity plans and free home-energy monitors that help customers figure out how they can reduce their electricity consumption and save money. Similarly, Constellation, owned by Chicago-based power generator Exelon Corp., is experimenting with selling electricity plans through Best Buy stores in Illinois.

In Britain, Marks & Spencer, whose department stores feature staples from socks to scones, is selling natural gas and electricity from SSE PLC, one of the U.K.’s big six energy suppliers. Marks & Spencer also offers insulation and solar panels and provides advice on energy-efficient appliances.

In Australia, utility AGL Energy Ltd. in April linked up with Coles Supermarkets, a unit of Wesfarmers Ltd., via the Coles customer-loyalty program Flybuys. The program gives AGL residential customers rewards points for discounts on Coles purchases…Points can be used for purchases at Coles.

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