As the electricity industry constantly progresses and evolves is again at the forefront of this innovation.  As noted a few weeks ago, the unique price comparison tool is driving product innovation in the Texas electric market by encouraging energy providers to come up with new and improved products and services in order to win customers' business. is innovating with technology, by working on new systems and tools to help business customers shop for electricity.  Tools available on have long been sought by small businesses and the electric companies serving them -- namely, a way to instantly provide customers with price quotes customized to how their businesses use energy.

Currently, businesses using to find a great electric rate can take advantage of's exclusive retail exchange portal, in which up to eight qualified electric companies compete for the customer's business.  It's a simple and hassle-free process that takes the work out of finding the lowest energy price. is taking it to the next level.  Currently, customers using the commercial exchange portal enter some quick information about their business, and the information is instantly transmitted to up to eight competing energy suppliers, who then contact the customer directly with their lowest rates.  This dramatically cuts down on the time of fielding price quotes, and also removes the delay of using a middle man.  The process is not, however, instantaneous.  Today, energy suppliers need to evaluate the customer's specific usage and location before being able to provide a price.  Compare this to how residential customers can shop for a lower electricity rate using  Residential customers, after entering their location, can instantly view specific electric rates from a host of pre-screened energy providers

This is because residential customers, with rare exception, have similar "load profiles," which is a proxy used to determine during what hours of the day residential customers use electricity.  For most residential customers, with traditional electro-mechanical meters, their meter does not record when power was used, only their overall consumption.  Since electricity prices on the wholesale electric market vary every 15 minutes, a method is needed to determine when a residential customer's usage actually occurred; hence, a load profile.  Since all residential customers in the same area have the same load profile, energy suppliers do not need unique customer information to generate price quotes; providers can provide "standing" offers for residential customers since all customers have the same load profile.

Things are more complicated for small businesses.  Like residential customers, small businesses typically do not have "interval" meters which record their hourly or 15-minute usage, meaning their power usage must be "settled" using a load profile.  However, unlike residential customers who generally use power in the same way (using the most in the afternoon), small businesses use power very differently depending on their type of business.  For that reason, there are many more rate classes into which a small business could be categorized, and each rate class may have its own unique load profile.  That makes things more complicated, and thus far has prevented suppliers from having "standing" offers for small business customers, because they need to know the customer's load profile before generating a price quote.

While there are a variety of small business load profiles, the number is finite, and the trick is simply identifying it, so a price quote can be instantly generated.  That's precisely the type of innovation is working on to make the process of finding a low electric rate faster and simpler for small businesses.  As envisioned by the experts at, there would be a set of "standing" small business electric rate offers on based on a small business' location and load profile, much like there are a host of "standing" residential electric offers based on the customer's location.  All a small business customer would need to do is "select" their load profile, enter their location, and a list of low electric rates from a host of pre-screened electric companies would appear, with a variety of term lengths and value-adding features.  This will make shopping for a low electric rate using even easier for small businesses, letting them compare offers directly and instantaneously, instead of having to wait for offers to come back from suppliers as is the case now.

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