United States

United States

California green marketer finding niches

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California Commonwealth Energy Corp, a provider of renewable energy, has forged an alliance with a leading network of restaurants that promote themselves as "environmentally conscious." Commonwealth, of Tustin near Los Angeles, and the Green Restaurant Association will work together to promote sustainability-including using renewable energy. The restaurant network, founded several years ago in San Diego by a former student of the University of California, requires its members to adhere to several basic eco-friendly practices, such as avoiding styro-foam, recycling, and completing environmental assessments of their businesses. With the new energy alliance, the network will now encourage its dozens of members-restaurants, cafes and coffee shops-to buy power from renewable sources and also to distribute information about green electricity to their customers. Commonwealth bills itself as California's largest electric service provider with 70,000 customers.

On the other side of the country, Commonwealth is entering a second deregulated electricity market. On September 20 the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission granted the provider a license to market and sell electricity. With 4.8 million households, Pennsylvania has the liveliest deregulated power market in America. "We plan to do in Pennsylvania what we've successfully done in California-bring clean energy to residential and small businesses at a discount to the utility price," says Fred Bloom of Commonwealth. "Pennsylvania has become a national model for the restructuring of the electric industry." Commonwealth, which so far offers electricity in only California and Pennsylvania, plans to be active in 20 states by the year 2002.

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