In 1996, when World Telecom Group (WTG) was founded, CEO Vince Bradley had innovative energy plans for his company. But by the time his master agency was starting progress in the telecom industry, his timing wasn’t exactly right.
As the economic downturn happened in 2008, cost savings and efficiency grew to become a priority for customers, and WTG was able to find its place.
According to Bradley, when WTG started its energy business, Energent, a division of the WTG-affiliated Commerce Consulting Corp., was the first major telecom master agent to offer the practice. In 2011, Energent became a revenue contributor and has since caught on with WTG’s agents and VARs.
Similar to the way it manages telecom, carrier and cable company vendor relationships as a master agent, WTG works with electricity supply companies (ESCO) as brokers. Working with Energent, the solution providers create a new revenue stream via existing customers as they bring customer energy usage costs in line.
“We’ve really targeted the master agent part of the industry because we lost a large customer a few years ago, and we didn’t want it to happen again, so they went out to work with international providers to develop a channel,” Bradley told TechZone360 at Telecom Exchange 2012 in New York City. “I made a commitment to going big on the international knowing the cloud is going to take things global anyway.”
These days with more than 100 master agent provider and more than 75 telecom providers, WTG has a diverse portfolio including local, long-distance, data, internet and associated equipment. The company also has specialty Divisions with extra support including LEC, Wireless, Wholesale and Cost Containment. With WTG, customers now only have to make one phone call to manage providers and utilize WTG for all services.
“WTG can cover virtually any populated area of the world in terms of our ability to provide services,” said Bradley.
Energent helps solution providers offer pricing scenarios, such as fixed rate energy and gas, variable rate energy gas, and blended rate electricity tailored to businesses that require heavy electricity usage outside of peak business hours. Ideally, customers require 5,000 kilowatts of electricity or 300 therms of gas monthly. So, solution providers have to set pricing expectations appropriately based on trading conditions and utility usage.
According to Tyler Price, Energent agent sales manager, a big difference between the energy and telecom markets is that most energy suppliers don’t have the big protected account lists that solution providers find from major carriers like AT&T. Continuing to expand, Energent has added demand side management resources earlier this year, such as retrofitting, demand response and distributed generation.
“Every business needs communications and power. Energy is a huge utility just as big as telecom, maybe even bigger,” said Bradley.
According to Price, 25 percent of WTG partners are at least looking at how to position energy, and he expects that to keep growing. Energy deals can net solution providers residuals between six percent and 11 percent for a minimum of time invested, while using Energent as the back office.
“Right now, there’s so much saturation for the products they already offer customers that they need something new to attract attention,” he explained. “It also allows them to create a lot more value for something that’s essentially a billing change. It’s very easy to start this.”
TechZone360 Web Editor
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