SaveOnEnergy.com, an online clearinghouse for energy providers and customers, has secured $2.4 million in funding from an unlikely source: Texas oil and gas executives (specific investors were not disclosed). Dallas-based SaveOnEnergy.com plans to use the money to grow its market share in Texas and expand into those of New York and Illinois.
Founded in 2003, SaveOnEnergy.com is like a LendingTree.com for energy. Customers, whether private homeowners or businesses, log on and enter their state and current energy provider. SaveOnEnergy.com spits back the regionally available offers from its prequalified providers, allowing customers to shop around and compare offers for free. The system flips the energy industry on its head; energy companies have to bid for customers and customers are able to decide for themselves where they want their power to come from.
With the national energy market still reeling from deregulation and a variety of oligopolistic forces, consumers are faced with anything but a free and open market when it comes to gas and electricity. But SaveOnEnergy.com provides customers with the opportunity to make informed choices when it comes to energy, giving the energy market some semblance of actual market economics.
While cheap energy may seem like a disincentive to conservation, services like SaveOnEnergy.com will be vital to making sure that the costs of an eventual cap-and-trade system on emissions and a possible carbon tax are meted out to the best of the market’s ability.
Consumers’ inability to freely and easily compare and switch energy providers stifles innovation and doesn’t allow them to appropriately react to market forces — especially as energy pricing begins to reflect the carbon costs of utilities’ supply mix. Conversely, an empowered consumer will be able to exert force on utilities with their dollars, making energy providers sensitive to consumer needs. Now there’s a novel idea for the energy industry.