Cincinnati Bell to Offer Energy Services

Cincinnati Bell sees a big future in the convergence of telecom and energy. The company announced last week that it will sell electric services to its residential customers through its new subsidiary Cincinnati Bell Energy.

Bell Energy has entered into a partnership with Viridian Energy, a Connecticut-based supplier of electricity from renewable sources. Together they’ll offer 100% green electric service to Bell’s residential customers in its southwest Ohio territory.

The service is possible thanks to a new state electric deregulation law that separates generation charges from distribution charges on a customer’s bill. Under the law, the incumbent provider Duke Energy continues to provide the electric service connection and it will handle billing and service issues. However, the customer now can chose what company he wants to provide the electricity. This cost makes up the generation portion of the customer’s bill, typically about two-thirds of the total.

According to one report, Cincinnati Bell is currently offering a variable monthly rate of 5.9 cents per kilowatt hour, which is about 30% less than Duke’s current regulated price-to-compare of 8.24 cents per kilowatt hour. Even though it is a variable rate, Bell is offering the product at a guaranteed annual savings over the local utility’s rate, and the company is touting its alternative as environmentally friendly. Certified by the Green-e Energy program, Bell is offering 100% regionally sourced wind power.

“The retail energy market is an exciting and rapidly growing space, and this convergence between telecom and energy is a dramatic first for both industries,” said Ted Torbeck, president and general manager of Cincinnati Bell Communications. “This innovative partnership with Viridian Energy provides substantial value to our customers, saving them money and helping them contribute to a cleaner environment.”

“Telecom is a dynamic and ever-evolving industry that has proven its ability to continually reinvent itself and adapt to changing customer needs,” said Michael Fallquist, founder and CEO of Viridian Energy.

For more, see this release.

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