Broker Seeks Declaratory Order From Regulator Regarding "Concierge"/Buyer's Club Service (Auto-Switching Of Customers To Best Plans Over Time)
June 10, 2016 Email This Story Copyright 2010-16 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
Broker Utiliz LLC has petitioned the Connecticut PURA for a declaratory ruling to determine if Utiliz LLC's business is subject to the regulations, rules, and licensing of an electricity broker (which are not licensed in Connecticut) or an electricity aggregator (which are subject to PURA licensure).
Utiliz LLC said that it was founded in April 2016 with plans to broker electricity and gas for residential and commercial customers in all deregulated states. Its initial launch in the summer 2016 will be targeted at residential electricity consumers in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and NJ.
"Our product will fully automate the process of selecting and enrolling a customer into a given plan such that the customer can enroll with us once and no longer worry about the switching process. Unlike all other brokers, we automatically switch our customers to the best, lowest cost plans over time as they become available," Utiliz said
"Revenue wise we are paid a flat fee by our customers (projected to be less than $40/year for residential) for this service and will not pursue any commission from the suppliers. Certainly the concept of commission is not included in our matching engine to ensure we are working for the consumer at all times. If we are forced to accept a commission from a supplier we will either return it as a rebate to our customers or donate it to charity on behalf of our customers," Utiliz said
Utiliz said that its consumer value proposition is as follows:
1) Concierge service. "Our market research indicates that while residential consumers are aware they have supplier choice, most have largely avoided the market due to risk of paying more due to teaser rates or other fine print. Over 80% of people surveyed would be willing to pay a fee for a third party (in this case Utiliz) to manage this for them."
2) Buyer's club. "Once our book of business grows we will want to negotiate bespoke rates for our clients as we will be able to project which clients will benefit from switching to new plans at any point in time. Note: While we may be in a situation to move a number (potentially thousands) of accounts on a given day, each of these will be enrolled individually based on the individual's benefit and usage profile. Any fees or commissions provided by the suppliers we will look to remove and pass through the savings to our customers."
3) Consumer advocate. "In an industry which is viewed negatively by the majority of consumers our business model pivots this so that we are acting on behalf of the consumer offering best in class support and complaint resolution."
"Utiliz is committed to complying with the applicable laws and regulations of the state of Connecticut ... We submit this request for declaratory ruling to ensure we understand what rules we are subject to in Connecticut as we establish and grow our business," the company said
The founders of Utiliz are Thomas Place and Kevin Manley
Manley has served as a contracted senior software developer for a number of financial firms and banks, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Standard Bank, Citigroup, and Barclays