Comcast explores selling electricity service to subscribers [telecom]

By Steve Donohue, FierceCable, January 24, 2014 | Comcast is looking at striking a deal with a utility company in | Pennsylvania that could see it bundle electricity services with its | pay TV, broadband and voice services, a Pennsylvania regulator told | reporters this week. | | The nation's largest MSO could begin marketing electricity services | as soon as the fourth quarter, Pennsylvania Public Utility | Commission Chairman Robert Powelson told reporters on a conference | call on Wednesday, according to reports from The Philadelphia | Inquirer and greentechgrid. | | "This is something we're exploring," a Comcast spokesperson said in | the report from greentechgrid. | | Comcast wouldn't be the first telecom provider to resell | electricity services. Rural telco Frontier Communications announced | in 2012 that it would sell energy services to subscribers in New | York, Ohio and Indiana. Cincinnati Bell also sells electricity to | its customers, and promises that they will see a 10 percent cost | savings by using its service.


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Some municipalities operate their own electric power and cable TV utilities. It seems to be particularly common in Minnesota -- examples that come to mind are Elbow Lake, Jackson, Pipestone, and Windom.

Several years ago, I did some consulting work for the Jackson system. It was interesting to me -- as a cable guy -- to note the close relationship between the power and cable TV operations. Their technicians all drove identical trucks, belonged to the same union local, and worked together on poles and underground. The power guys did the electrical work and the cable guys did the cable work. They all shared the same bucket truck for aerial work.

They shared the same warehouse (and morning coffee) with the water and sewer utility guys. The storage yard was a hodgepodge of cable reels (power and TV), satellite antennas, fire hydrants, sewer pipes, power transformers, pedestals, and poles.

The city office did the administrative work. Monthly bills included cable TV, electric service, water, and sewer all in the same itemized bill. I noted one bill that showed Showtime right next to sewer service.

Neal McLain

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Neal McLain
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