Walmart's Retail Electric Supplier, Texas Retail Energy, To Begin "Marketing" Electricity, Seeks To Serve Residential Customers
October 22, 2020 Email This Story Copyright 2010-20 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Texas Retail Energy LLC, the retail electric supplier owned by Walmart which, to date, has only served as a self-supply entity, applied for an amended Pennsylvania retail electric supplier license to, among other things, include service to residential customers. The application also amends a prior response concerning marketing, and indicates that Texas Retail Energy LLC will market electricity supply
EnergyChoiceMatters.com wishes to be clear that the reasons for the amendment are not clear, but offers these observations.
Notwithstanding the observations below, the public version of Texas Retail Energy's license amendment application did not include use of a fictitious name, and its original 2011 license application also did not seek to use a fictitious name
Of note, in the application amendment, under "Proposed Marketing Method," Texas Retail Energy LLC checked the box for "External Third-Party – Applicant will contract with a NON-EGS third party marketing company and or individuals".
Note that this is a change from Texas Retail Energy LLC's response in its 2011 original license application, in which, under "Proposed Marketing Method," Texas Retail Energy LLC checked the box for "Other", and had stated, "No marketing will be required as Texas Retail Energy will be providing electricity to only facilities within
the same corporate family."
Furthermore, in the license amendment application, Texas Retail Energy LLC now seeks to serve all customer classes in all service areas.
Texas Retail Energy (TRE) is currently authorized to serve only small commercial (25 kW and under demand) and large commercial (over 25 kW demand) customers at Duquesne Light Company, Metropolitan Edison Company, PECO Energy Company, Pennsylvania Electric Company, Pennsylvania Power Company, PPL Electric Utilities, Inc., and West Penn Power Company.
The amendment would allow Texas Retail Energy to additionally serve residential, industrial, and governmental customers in its current service areas, while also adding service to all customer classes in the new service areas of UGI Utilities, Pike County Light & Power, Citizens' Electric Co. and Wellsboro Electric Co.
In the amendment application, under "Proposed Services," Texas Retail Energy states, "TRE proposes to offer electric supply service to all classes of customers throughout the entire
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
This is another change from its 2011 license application in which Texas Retail Energy had stated, "TRE will provide electricity to its corporate parent, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., facilities within the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Additionally, Texas Retail Energy's new license amendment application includes, on a redacted basis, ostensibly substantive answers to application questions concerning marketing oversight and enrollment verification
While, in the amendment application, Texas Retail Energy said that it would not be conducting door to door sales, it stated that, "Applicant will, however, employ verification procedures." EnergyChoiceMatters.com notes that verification procedures would seemingly not be needed if service were limited to self-supply
Furthermore, in the amendment application, Texas Retail Energy responded to a question regarding whether it will be using verification procedures by stating, "Yes, to the extent TRE conducts in-person sales utilizing an agent or marketing professional."
Texas Retail Energy's license amendment also included, under seal, a sample disclosure statement, which is required to be filed if seeking to serve residential or small commercial customers. In contrast, the 2011 application did not include a sample disclosure statement, as at that time Texas Retail Energy had stated, "TRE will not currently serve any Residential or Small Commercial customers."
Also of note is that, in a supplemental filing, "based on follow-up discussion with Commission Staff," Texas Retail Energy submitted a revised Appendix J (the appendix which includes its disclosure statement). While the reason for such revision was not clear, EnergyChoiceMatters.com speculates that it is more reasonable to conclude that a Staff-directed revision to a sample disclosure statement is more likely to be prompted when service is proposed to be provided to the public, rather than self-supply.
Outside of the license amendment application itself, EnergyChoiceMatters.com would note the following observations which may, potentially, be relevant
Wal-Mart recently launched a membership service called "Walmart+", which includes access to various services and discounts (free shipping, etc.). The roll-out in September of the Walmart+ subscription program specifically noted that, "The list of benefits will continue to grow over time."
Among the current benefits of Walmart+ is discounted gasoline and fuel at Walmart, Murphy USA and Murphy Express fuel stations.
Separately, in 2019, a Walmart subsidiary trademarked the name "Walmart Energy"
While the goods and services associated with the trademark do not specifically cite retail energy supply, and include broader services (full text below), the stated goods and services associated with the Walmart Energy include, "online and retail store services featuring a wide variety of environmentally-friendly consumer goods of others; Promoting environmental service providers focused on energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction, and overall sustainable development; promoting environmental services of others focused on energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction, and overall sustainable development."
The full text of the goods and services associated with the Walmart Energy trademark are, "Promoting public awareness of energy and environmental issues and sustainability; online and retail store services featuring a wide variety of environmentally-friendly consumer goods of others; Promoting environmental service providers focused on energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction, and overall sustainable development; promoting environmental services of others focused on energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction, and overall sustainable development; promoting public awareness of the need for corporate and social responsibility for environmental sustainability"