Innovation in electricity sector requires greater competition, NRG CEO says; Ameren’s Illinois default customers get an 18% rate cut; Arcadia Power offers free device installation by Amazon

NRG CEO: Electric industry innovation, disruption blunted by lack of competition. NRG President and CEO Mauricio Gutierrez cited by example the consumer-friendly disruption of on-demand transportation by Lyft and Uber as the kind of innovation that can occur in the electric industry but for continued monopoly utility regulation. “Throughout our country and in nearly every industry, competition has driven innovation, pushed human ingenuity and unveiled a new dimension of value by empowering consumers with choice,” Gutierrez writes in a new op-ed. “Even as we’ve made progress in other industries, competition has largely eluded the electric power sector,” he says. “Right now, in the electric power industry, there is a debate over the best technologies, business models and fuel types to power the economy of the 21st century. Competition is at the center of this debate.”

Illinois default service customers get an 18 percent rate cut. As of October billing statements Ameren’s default utility service customers in Illinois will see an 18.3 percent decrease in their energy costs, according to a local news report. As of the first of the month Ameren’s default service customers will pay 5.038 cents per kilowatt-hour for 800 kilowatt-hours. Beyond that usage threshold, the rate falls to 4.379 cents per kilowatt-hour. The local broadcast outlet reporting this development stressed that this rate decrease will not apply to Ameren customers who obtain their electricity from competitive suppliers, and featured an interview with Jim Chilsen of the Citizen’s Utility Board. Chilsen cited a concern with aggressive door-to-door marketers. “We’ve gotten a lot of reports of high-pressure sales tactics. We’ve also gotten a lot of reports from people who said ‘it seemed like a good deal when I first signed up and then after a month or two the price went through the roof, and my bill went through the roof. So, people should know the bottom line is that going to be very difficult for any of these alternative suppliers going door-to-door to beat Ameren Illinois’ price, so buyer beware.”

Arcadia Power offers home energy management device with free installation by Amazon. Arcadia Power is working with Amazon to connect homeowners and renters to convenient, in-home installation of smart home devices at zero upfront cost, the company announced in a press release. Two new Home Efficiency Bundles are now available for order through Arcadia Power’s dashboard in 10 cities throughout the U.S. The program is only available to Arcadia Power members, and will be expanding to additional cities in 2019.

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