Startup And Power On
New Zealand electricity provider Powershop, a startup company owned by Meridian Energy, the largest electricity generator and retailer in the country, is like eBay for electricity, according to CEO Ari Sargent. Powershop is built with an open, plug-and-play architecture — more like the Internet than the traditional top-down energy architecture. “Powershop’s infrastructure was developed in anticipation of a distributed energy model,” Sargent says. “As the market builds a larger number of smaller power plants like wind and solar we expect them to sell directly to consumers on our website.” Powershop’s revenue model is more like an Internet company than today’s energy industry: to take a per cent of each transaction. They don’t charge “connection fees” like many utilities (cable and telephone companies included) or transaction fees. The number of Powershop customers has doubled from 16,553 a year ago to 33,628 today.