10 Questions With…

An interview with Stream Energy’s Director of Commercial Sales Cory Hall

1.       In what ways does commercial service differ from residential service?

CH: The usage patterns for commercial meters versus residential meters vary greatly. There is a difference in the way a commercial meter is billed rather than a residential meter. Residential meters have fairly predictable usage patterns while commercial meters can vary greatly. The greatest variability between each commercial account lies in its peak usage and how often it approaches that peak usage. For instance, a church’s usage pattern is much different than that of a convenience store. The church’s daily usage will rarely reach peak usage because the church is usually used only one day per week, while the convenience store has consistent usage every day of the week as it is typically open 24 hours. We see very prominent variations in usage during high heat times and summer months.

2.       How do you determine commercial electricity rates?

CH: The rates are dependent on a couple of different factors:  the size of the account and the efficiency of usage. We use historical usage data to determine how much power we should schedule for each account and what price it qualifies for. The more efficient an account is, the easier it is to schedule power for it, which often results in a lower rate. Efficient electricity usage is often described by how frequently the customer usage pattern approaches the peak usage for the premise. Peak demand is the maximum amount of power a customer needs to service his or her location at any given time during a service period. If a customer is very inefficient, he or she could be subject to higher pricing due to scheduling requirements and the risks associated with it. Also, inefficiency typically results in higher delivery charges for the customer as power is allocated to his or her business but is rarely utilized. An efficient customer is one who consistently hovers near this peak essentially utilizing most of the power that is allocated to him or her during that service period. Therefore, if a commercial customer increases the efficiency of his or her usage, that customer could qualify for lower rates on his or her electric service.  

3.       What states currently offer commercial service from Stream Energy?

CH: We currently only offer commercial service in Texas and Georgia, but we are working very diligently to offer commercial service in new markets by the end of 2011.

4.       How will the commercial team prosper at Stream Energy in the future?

CH: Our team, through sales, acquisition, retention and industry-leading support, will continue to grow our customer base without sacrificing any profitability.

5.       In what ways has commercial changed since its inception at Stream Energy?

 CH: While the commercial venture has been an ongoing opportunity for growth, the team has become self-sufficient and altered its focus to be very customer-centric. Our primary goal is to provide the best service in the industry to all our commercial customers.

6.       How competitive is Stream Energy commercial with other retail electric providers?

CH: Stream Energy is very competitive in the deregulated landscape as it pertains to residential and commercial rates and customer service. While we are seeing in the market that some providers sacrifice margin and profitability in order to obtain deals, Stream Energy’s commercial undertaking remains profitable and competitive in the marketplace.

7.       As a team, what goals do you strive for on a daily, monthly and yearly basis?

CH: On a daily basis, from a service standpoint, we strive to serve our customers to the best of our ability through unparalleled market knowledge and award-winning customer service. For two years running, our service team has been recognized as one of the top-rated teams in Commercial Client Satisfaction for electricity in the state of Texas.  

From an acquisition standpoint, we strive to attain as many accounts as possible while maintaining a high level of sales integrity. On a monthly basis, we attempt to obtain more accounts than the same month in the previous year. Similarly, on a yearly basis, our goal is to gain more accounts than the previous year.

8.       What goals do you have for the remainder of 2011?

CH: Our goal is to continue to expand the Texas market by adding as many new commercial customers as possible, as well as prepare ourselves for the possibility of entering new markets by the end of this year.  

9.       How is the commercial team so successful?

CH: We have a dedicated group of employees that are split into two different areas. One area is primarily focused on sales and acquiring new customers. This sales team is managed by Ronnie Rodamer. The other half of our department focuses on customer service.  If the customer needs assistance with billing or transactions, this team oversees all aspects of the customer lifecycle including retention. This service team is managed by Tony Martin.

10.   How does the commercial team acquire new accounts?

CH: Well, our sales team certainly does not open up a phone book and flip to a page and start dialing numbers. A large portion of our leads come from Ignite Associates who typically have a personal relationship with business owners and/or decision makers of commercial locations.  The Associates obtain the information necessary to price the deal, and our sales specialists take over from that point. Another way we generate leads are from customers who are referred to us either from current Stream Energy commercial customers or from finding our company information online. These customers simply make a phone call into our Commercial Client Services line (1-866-544-0692), and we help them sign up from there.