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'Negawatts' provider EnerNoc boosts revenue

Despite rapid growth, the so-called demand management company posts a fourth-quarter loss that's larger than estimates, punishing its stock.

EnerNoc, a company that makes money by throttling corporate energy use, on Wednesday reported a spike in fourth-quarter revenue, but a larger-than-anticipated loss drove down its stock price.

The company said that fourth-quarter 2007 revenue was $19.7 million, up 234 percent year over year, and full-year revenue more than doubled to $60.8 million.

The net loss for the quarter was $9, or 48 cents per share, more than the First Call consensus of 30 cents. EnerNoc's stock price dropped nearly 15 percent Wednesday on the news. Update: EnerNOC's stock was down over 27 percent by 1:20 PM eastern.)

During a conference call with analysts, EnerNoc CEO Tim Healy said that the Boston-based company will invest in salespeople and technical development to capture market share in what he called a rapidly growing field.

EnerNoc contracts with corporations to dial back electricity in an automated way, allowing them to lower expenses.

These systems could, for example, raise refrigerator temperatures for a short time. On its own, it won't affect a store's operation but, when done across many locations, can significantly reduce consumption.

Utilities count on demand response providers like EnerNoc to lower power consumption on the grid during times of high demand.

The total megawatts that EnerNoc has under management, or "negawatts," is at 1,113 megawatts. For comparison, a typical coal-fired power plant generates 500 megawatts.

Energy-efficiency technologies are expected to grow in importance, as utilities seek out alternatives to building new power plants to meet rising demand.

Healy said that the rolling blackouts in Florida on Tuesday, initially caused by an equipment failure in a substation, could lead to a more serious investigation of demand response software.

"Events like this have shown in the past that it can act as a catalyst to get the right people at the table," he said.