Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wal-Mart soon to sell electricity...to itself

I should've seen this one coming: Wal-Mart is getting into the electricity business. And I don't mean putting up a wind turbine or selling lots of compact fluorescent bulbs: They want to sell themselves electricity.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the retail giant aims to cut costs at its Texas stores by creating its own electric company called Texas Retail Energy, which will supply stores with power bought at wholesale prices. Wal-Mart will have total control over its utility bills and save about $15 million a year.

But it might not stop there: Wal-Mart has the capacity to sell electricity to Texas' residential customers. The General Manager of Texas Retail Energy, Chris Hendrix, is cautious about the possibility:

"We've considered it. Whether or not it will ever materialize, we don't know. It boils down to whether the customers and suppliers want that...short-term, it's out of our scope. Longer-term, anything's possible."

But it still might not stop there: Hendrix goes on to say that Texas Retail energy would consider buying an entire source of energy, like a wind farm, if Wal-Mart can't find enough vendors to meet its eventual goal of using only renewables for power.

They might as well start making the turbines too, and eventually the wind itself.

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