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Comcast could add electricity to list of services

The Philadelphia Inquirer

January 23. 2014 8:45PM

Call it the Grand Slam.

Comcast Corp. may soon provide customers with retail electricity supply, along with its “Triple Play” bundle of cable, Internet and phone service.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert F. Powelson said Wednesday the Philadelphia cable giant is working with a third-party supplier to include retail electricity in its bundle of services later this year.

Powelson disclosed the Comcast venture during public remarks after the release of a report that evaluates the nation’s competitive retail energy markets. Pennsylvania ranks second among states behind Texas in the Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States.

Powelson did not name the supplier with which Comcast is collaborating. But NRG Energy spokesman Dave Knox acknowledged his company is “working with Comcast on a new initiative.” NRG’s involvement was first reported by

NRG, with headquarters in Princeton, N.J., owns Reliant Energy, a large retail supplier in Texas, and Energy Plus, a retail supplier in Philadelphia that specializes in bundling electrical supply with affinity programs that reward customers with cash back and airline miles.

Comcast, which does not own a licensed electrical supplier in Pennsylvania, declined comment through a spokeswoman.

About 39 percent — 2.2 million — of Pennsylvania electricity customers have switched from incumbent utilities to competitive suppliers, mostly for discounted rates.

The architects of Pennsylvania’s retail electricity markets anticipate that over time suppliers will offer more innovative products that might include services such as energy efficiency, home security, renewable power and rates that vary by the hour.

In New Hampshire, the state’s largest utility has lost about 55 percent of its electric load to competitors, including 22 percent of its residential and small-business customers. The low cost of natural gas has reduced the price of electricity to less than what it costs Public Service of New Hampshire to produce it using its fossil-fuel burning plants.

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