Direct Energy
Overview
 
Direct Energy is a North American retailer of energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 and energy services. The company was founded in 1986. With over six million customer relationships in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, it is the largest energy and home services retailer in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The current President and Chief Executive Officer of the company is Chris Weston. Direct Energy is a subsidiary of UK-based Centrica plc
Centrica
Centrica plc is a multinational utility company, based in the United Kingdom but also with interests in North America. Centrica is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names "Scottish Gas" in...

, an integrated energy company.

Direct Energy was founded in Toronto in 1986, as a competitive energy retailer.
Encyclopedia
Direct Energy is a North American retailer of energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 and energy services. The company was founded in 1986. With over six million customer relationships in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, it is the largest energy and home services retailer in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. The current President and Chief Executive Officer of the company is Chris Weston. Direct Energy is a subsidiary of UK-based Centrica plc
Centrica
Centrica plc is a multinational utility company, based in the United Kingdom but also with interests in North America. Centrica is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names "Scottish Gas" in...

, an integrated energy company.

History

Direct Energy was founded in Toronto in 1986, as a competitive energy retailer. In 2000, the company was acquired by Centrica
Centrica
Centrica plc is a multinational utility company, based in the United Kingdom but also with interests in North America. Centrica is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names "Scottish Gas" in...

, the UK-based parent of British energy retailer British Gas.

From 2000 onwards, Direct Energy grew rapidly through acquisition. These acquisitions included Energy America (2000), Enbridge Home Services
Enbridge
Enbridge Inc. is a Calgary, Alberta based company focused on three core businesses: crude oil and liquids pipelines, natural gas transportation and distribution, and green energy. The company has approximately 6,000 employees, mostly in Canada and the United States...

 (2002), AEP’s Texas retail operations (Central Power and Light and West Texas Utility), the regulated retail operations of ATCO Gas and ATCO Electric in Alberta, Entergy Solutions Ltd.
Entergy
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. It is headquartered in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana.-History:...

’s ERCOT
ERCOT
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas formed in 1970, is one of eight Independent System Operators in North America, and is the successor to the Texas Interconnected System...

 customer base and Strategic Energy (2008).

In the area of energy services, Direct Energy acquired Luced Heating Contractors, BASE Controls Ltd., MABE Canada Inc.’s in-home service repair division, and the Residential Services Group.

In 2010, Direct Energy acquired Clockwork Home Services making Direct Energy the largest energy and home services retailer in North America . Clockwork has three brands:, One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Mister Sparky, which specialize in plumbing, electrical and air-conditioning and heating and services.

Direct Energy acquired a number of upstream assets, including gas reserves and power generation facilities. These include: Quintana Minerals Resources, Bastrop Energy Center, Frontera Energy Center, Paris Energy Center, and Rockyview Energy Inc.. Direct Energy has entered into long-term power purchase agreements for 813 MW of electricity from five wind farm
Wind farm
A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electric power. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines, and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other...

s in Texas.

Direct Energy owns and operates approximately 4,600 natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 wells in Alberta, most recently acquiring natural gas assets from Suncor Energy and Shell Canada.

The company ’s new strategy calls for increased investment in North America, specifically to grow its upstream asset cover to 35-40%; it also plans to gr ow its downstream businesses in its core markets of Texas, US North East and Canada.

Chris Weston became President & CEO of Direct Energy on July 1, 2009 following the retirement of Deryk King.

Products and services

Direct Energy’s U.S. operations span 46 states and the District of Columbia including: Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. In Canada, Direct Energy has operations in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

For residential customers and small business, Direct Energy offers fixed price electricity and gas plans, as an alternative to the local utility or in competition with the local competitive energy providers. In Texas, Direct energy offers a pre-paid electricity plan Power-To-GoSM. Through its services division, Direct Energy installs and services heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment. It also can perform energy retrofits and other energy management projects at larger facilities. Direct Energy’s Home and Business Services division employs over 1,400 technicians providing residential customers with heating, ventilation and air conditioner (HVAC), plumbing, home improvements, water heater and electrical appliance services.

Direct Energy is a regulated gas and electricity provider in Alberta, operating under the Direct Energy Regulated Services brand. It also offers deregulated service in the Province, operating as Direct Energy.

In South Texas, Direct Energy operates as CPL Retail Energy and CPL Business.

In West Texas, Direct Energy operates as WTU Retail Energy and WTU Business. Competitors include TXU
TXU
Energy Future Holdings Corporation is an electric utility company headquartered in Energy Plaza in Downtown Dallas, Texas, United States. The company was known as TXU until its $45 billion leveraged buyout by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Texas Pacific Group and Goldman Sachs...

, Bounce Energy, First Texas Energy Corporation, Texas Power
Texas Power
Texas Power is a retail electricity provider serving all deregulated electricity areas in Texas. They are located in Arlington, Texas. Texas Power bills customers for electric service provided by the power distribution companies....

, and Reliant Energy
Reliant Energy
RRI Energy, Inc. , based in Houston, Texas, United States, was an energy company that provided electricity to wholesale customers in the United States. The company was one of the largest independent power producers in the nation with more than 14,000 megawatts of power generation capacity across...

.

Controversies

Direct Energy was fined C$
Canadian dollar
The Canadian dollar is the currency of Canada. As of 2007, the Canadian dollar is the 7th most traded currency in the world. It is abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or C$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

157,500 in 2003 after investigators discovered 21 forged contracts trapping customers into long-term energy deals.
According to Paul Massara, then the president of the company, the forgeries took place between June 2001 and April 2002. Both Direct Energy and a company it acquired, Energy America were charged with employing unethical business practices, with Energy America being fined over $500,000 in penalties for enrolling customers without permission and using deceptive sales pitches. The companies were found to have used unethical business practices in Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

. The Ontario government has since passed a bill that would require energy retailers to follow up on each contract sold to ensure the customer had willingly made the purchase.

During the investigations, the company frustrated investigators by withholding and concealing evidence, failing to respond to complaints, failing to respond to subpoenas for court appearances and generally ignoring demands to comply with the investigation. The U.S. branch of the company was taken to court by a customer in 2002. The judge in the case removed himself after being solicited for a contract by Energy America, citing a concern that he was now a potential witness in the case. Before the hearing could be re-scheduled, the complaintant settled out of court with the company on the condition that he no longer discuss the case publicly.

Deregulation position

CEO Chris Weston has given several speeches stating the need for deregulation of the energy market and the need for consumers to pay the actual price for energy rather than what he considers its current artificially low position. Weston spoke at KEMA’s 21st Executive Forum on the benefits of a competitive energy market and the value it has to consumers. He has also authored opinion pieces on the subject.

Community Investment

Direct Energy is committed to volunteerism by encouraging employees to get involved with organizations in their local communities. In 2010 Direct Energy employees logged more than 10,000 hours across North America. Through the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy,Direct Energy employees planted 400 planters throughout downtown Pittsburgh. They planted nearly 5,000 pansies and daffodils. In Toronto, Direct Energy employees spent a day gleaning at a local farm. They collected 12,635 pounds of corn, potatoes, eggplants and bell pepepers for the Ontario Association of Food Banks’ to hand out at food banks for Thanksgiving.

See also

  • Deregulation of the Texas electricity market
    Deregulation of the Texas Electricity Market
    Electricity deregulation in Texas was the result of the coming into force of Texas Senate Bill 7 on January 1, 2002. According to the law, deregulation is to be phased in over several years....

  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
  • Ontario electricity policy
    Ontario electricity policy
    Ontario electricity policy refers to plans, legislation, incentives, guidelines, and policy processes put in place by the Government of the Province of Ontario, Canada, to address issues of electricity production, distribution, and consumption. Policymaking in the electricity sector involves...

  • Universal Energy Corporation
    Universal Energy Corporation
    Universal Energy Corporation is a Canadian electric utility and natural gas retailer headquartered in Toronto, with offices throughout North America. It focuses on long-term sales of residential, commercial, and industrial natural gas in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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