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Engaging Every Energy Consumer

The Energy Times recently interviewed Steve McBee, NRG Home’s president and chief executive. This is the last of a two-part series. Last week: Exponential Change in Energy.

The Energy Times recently interviewed Steve McBee, NRG Home’s president and chief executive. This is the last of a two-part series. Last week: Exponential Change in Energy.

Energy Times:  What will your national footprint look like?

McBee: We want to make sure that in the very near future we’ve got at least one product or one service where we can engage all 300 million American consumers who use energy.  Hopefully, we’re going to be able to engage them in more than a single way. We’re going to be able to engage them with an integrated suite of products that work together and that take care of a lot of their energy needs in a way that is tailored to them, to their lifestyles, to their economic situation.  As we look at additional markets to enter and additional products and services to bring onto the platform, we’re looking for extension. We want to make sure that we’re not constrained by geography, regulation or anything else.

Energy Times:  NRG Home today has annual revenues of about $6 billion.  How much could that grow?

McBee: That is probably worth a conversation in the next six weeks or so when we are going to be ready to talk more about that. But it’s my goal to build the dominant premium branded consumer energy company by 2020.  To build that company, we’re going to have to create meaningful growth.  When you’re an industry going through whiplash, quick changes, you have to forget everything that you think you know about your business, what your customers want, how you make money and how you used to drive your competitive position.  It’s an unsettling thing. It’s a scary thing. But it’s also exciting. The prize on the other side of all that change will be far bigger than the prize in the once stable markets.  Think about a future where consumers are generating, managing, controlling and ultimately sharing energy, either in their communities or in broader markets. Think about a world where consumers can get away from the wall and the plug and the wire and access power everywhere. The possibilities to build cool, high value lucrative new products, technologies and services are pretty meaningful.

Energy Times: For example?

McBee: Everything from backup generators solar-powered backpack or solar-powered boom boxes. One company is working with the ski resort industry to figure out how to build portable powers into chairlifts.  There’s a kajillion applications and a kajillion ways to do it. There are 85 million millennials and by 2018 they’re going to be the most powerful demographic force in the country. It doesn’t even occur to them that they should be attached to a ‘fixed’ anything.  They have a very seamless relationship with their technology. They expect it to always be on. They are going to expect that from everything – including their energy.  There’s a really great opportunity there.

Energy Times:  Will NRG aim to become the ExxonMobil of electric power?

McBee: Look, we expect to be the premier brand in the category and energy’s a big category. So the answer to that question is yes – we’re absolutely aiming to build a really disruptive business that provides really exciting and inspiring solutions and services for our clients. We expect it to carry a ton of weight in the market. 


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