Direct Energy is bringing in hundreds of new customers in the US state of Virginia through offering 100% renewable power.
The United States is a patchwork of different energy rules, with some states allowing free competition and others retaining a monopoly supplier. That creates a challenging environment for Direct Energy.
One of our leading customers, real estate group Bernstein Management Corporation, has been buying retail power and gas from Direct Energy Business for their Maryland and Washington D.C. properties since 2010; but state regulations prevented them from doing the same in Virginia. Until now.
Rule changes introduced last year mean that customers with usage below 5 Megawatts can use an independent supplier if that supplier can offer 100% renewable power. Direct Energy acquired its licence in February 2019 and Bernstein was one of the first customers to sign up.
The Company will purchase renewable power at a fixed rate, giving it certainty and boosting progress towards its own renewable goals. But the truly remarkable aspect of the deal is that Bernstein is paying less for its power now than the prevailing monopoly utility rate for electricity in Virginia and will continue to do so.
Last October Centrica also launched a new business unit in the US, Direct Energy Renewable Services, which is focused on this growing market. It will allow us to meet the demands of customers like Bernstein in a more joined-up way.