Arcadia Power Launches Price Alert Service To Monitor Retail Market, Switch Customers To Retail Supplier Plans
Exploring Whether To Become Retail Provider Itself In Texas
December 14, 2017 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Karen Abbott • kabbott (at) energychoicematters.com
Arcadia Power has formally rolled out its price alerts service, which monitors residential retail supplier offers in states with energy choice and automatically switches residential customers to plans which provide savings
Arcadia Power describes itself as having built a home energy management platform. Its suite of services include community solar and on-bill financed energy efficiency products, and, of most note to the retail market, a free 50% wind REC offer for customers who sign up for a program under which Arcadia acts as the customer's agent in paying the customer's utility bill (with a 100% wind REC offer available for a premium)
Now, Arcadia Power is expanding its service to include, through agency agreements with its customers, the brokering of customers onto competitive electric (and eventually natural gas) plans.
Under the program, customers "link" their utility account with Arcadia Power (e.g. provide account information and agency authorization), and Arcadia monitors the market for savings, primarily versus the default service rate, by evaluating competing offers from about 10 suppliers
As Arcadia Power identifies superior offers for customers which will save them money, Arcadia automatically switches its customers to the identified offer, as the customer's authorized agent.
Arcadia leverages the size of its customer book to obtain superior offers from suppliers, the company said (essentially leveraging the aggregated load, though customers are presented with individual offers)
Customers are notified of the selected offer via email, at which time they can opt-out of the offer if they choose. Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia Power, told EnergyChoiceMatters.com that, in early testing, the opt-out rate was less than 2.5%
Arcadia Power's existing customers in retail choice states are automatically being moved to the new price alerts aggregation service as Arcadia rolls it out in such states, as permitted under Arcadia's terms of service with the customer. Arcadia Power currently has over 55,000 customers, though not all of them reside in states with energy choice
The Arcadia Power price alerts program only offers to customers fixed price plans from suppliers. The length of the term may vary based on the offers and Arcadia Power's assessment of market conditions; in some cases a 12-month plan may be deemed the best for customers, but, in a falling price environment, a three-month fixed offer may be judged to be superior. Customers will never face cancellation fees related to the price alerts service from either Arcadia Power or the selected supplier.
While Arcadia Power compares various offers in the market, Bhatraju said that, "our true north is competing against the Standard Offer Service rate, not other suppliers."
Arcadia Power said that in looking at its current members (before price alerts), Arcadia Power found that some utility customers in Ohio are spending an extra $200 to $1,000 a year versus competitive offers.
Arcadia Power works with a "select" group of suppliers for its price alerts service
Kiran Bhatraju, CEO of Arcadia Power, told EnergyChoiceMatters.com that, "In order to provide the best service to the customer, we tend to work with just the top 10 or so suppliers in each market, the ones who've been around, who are a bit more reliable, so we're working with the largest ones in each market."
The offers from retail suppliers may not necessarily include a green component from the supplier itself. In cases where the supplier offer does not include a green component, Arcadia itself provides 50% wind RECs for free to the customer, such that the customer is always provided a minimum of 50% green power (the customer can opt for 100% wind RECs from Arcadia Power directly for a premium independent of the supply plan).
Arcadia Power's price alerts program is currently available in Maryland, New York, Ohio, and Illinois. Expansion to the District of Columbia is expected soon.
Bhatraju said that the company plans to expand the price alerts service to every single competitive electric and natural gas market in the U.S. in 2018
That includes Texas, where Arcadia Power is actually exploring becoming a retail provider, rather than a broker
"In Texas, we're looking to enter next year. We're actually exploring even being the retail supplier in Texas because we do have the billing platform ourselves," Bhatraju told EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Bhatraju highlighted differences in Arcadia's automated aggregation/broker service versus other services in the market. The Arcadia price alerts program does not include a membership or sign-up fee, Bhatraju noted, distinguishing it from member-only plans with a membership fee which review the best retail offers in Texas, for example.
Bhatraju also noted that other services connect customers with variable rates, "which is not something we found that customers actually want or are familiar with, and frankly a lot of customers have bad experiences with variable rates and that's not something we want to do. So we offer and ensure stability over time through fixed rates."
As previously reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, Zach Axlerod earlier this year joined Arcadia Power as VP of Energy Services. Axlerod had previously founded Skyline Innovations (Nextility), whose operations included energy supply brokering in addition to offering other energy services.
Arcadia Power has also brought on board Nancy Hersh, former head of data science at Opower, to help build the software.