A much-hyped benefit of utility deregulation--one-stop shopping for phone, energy, and Net access--is starting to catch on.
The new company will sell consumers AT&T telecommunications services, ADT security service, and energy all in a single bill. AT&T will provide the one-stop call and billing center.
The idea isn't new. Last September, for example, KN Energy said it would offer gas, satellite TV, long distance phone billing, and Net access to its customers in Colorado.
On the telecom side, GTE bundles phone and Net access.
But the plan announced today is among the most ambitious. EnergyOne, run by former AT&T executive Andrew Guarriello, hopes to get other energy utilities from across the country to sign up as franchises.
Peco and UtiliCorp each will own a 50 percent stake in EnergyOne, which will be based in Kansas City, Missouri. It will market products under the EnergyOne brand.
The bundling of phone, Net, and energy services is brought on by deregulation of the $310 billion electric and natural gas industries, as well as telecom deregulation. Under the changes, the industries are jumping into each other's businesses.
With bundling, many of these services are offered at discounts.
But despite the consumer benefits, the programs have been limited. For example, telephone deregulation cleared the way for phone companies to offer cable TV, but by and large the companies have not begun to offer cable service.
For example, as reported last week, SBC Communications sharply curtailed its foray into video, citing cost-cutting and the desire to focus on core businesses. The cutbacks included an ambitious cable TV expansion launched by Pacific Bell in California. (SBC recently bought Pac Bell in the first merger of Baby Bells.)