Comcast is investigating a new twist on the quadruple play, replacing wireless connectivity with electricity bundled in with video, broadband, and phone service. The bundle would initially be available in Comcast's Pennsylvania markets.
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PPUC) chairman Robert F. Powelson said Wednesday that the Philadelphia cable giant was working with a third-party supplier to include retail electricity in its bundle of services this year.
The revelation came during a conference call with the PPUC about a report the organization had prepared about U.S. retail energy markets.
NRG Energy spokesman Dave Knox said his company was "working with Comcast on a new initiative," as reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com. A Comcast spokesman confirmed the relationship with NRG in an e-mail response: "we are exploring a relationship with a third-party supplier, NRG, to conduct a retail energy trial in Pennsylvania. At this time, we don't have any further specifics to share."
NRG owns Reliant Energy, a 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 and airline miles.
Various states are attempting to encourage competition in the energy market, with the aim of giving consumers more choice and potentially lowering energy costs. An adjunct of many of these programs is that utilities might compete by adding new services, for example helping to regulate consumers’ energy consumption during peak periods by automatically adjusting thermostat settings, which would ultimately save consumers money.
This dovetails nicely with the home automation services that Comcast has been offering through Xfinity Home.
[this story was edited to include comment from Comcast.]