Local resident joins startup utility company There have been a lot of changes in Humble resident Scott Birmingham’s life lately. In order to be a part of the excitement of getting in on the ground floor of a startup company, he left Cy-Fair and made his home in Fall Creek, putting his four boys in Humble ISD schools. This move is closer to the airport and cuts his commute to Frontier Utilities near the Galleria area by 20 minutes. “The founders of Frontier Utilities began building companies in Australia,” said Birmingham. In 2004, New Zealanders Donald Cheesman and Steve Eskrigge opened the doors to Victoria Electricity. In less than three years, this high voltage duo grew the company from a customer base of zero to more than a quarter of a million customers. Before they sold the company, it managed to pull in more than $110 million annually and employed more than 200 staff members. Victoria Electricity served electricity and gas customers in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Prior to that, the two had already sold their first successful start-up electricity retail business in Auckland. Each time, they capitalized on the newly deregulated power areas, which brings them to Texas, with additional interests in New York. “Frontier Utilities is reaching new customers through direct mail, e-mail and advertising in public spaces,” said Birmingham. The company has been doing business in Texas for approximately nine months. Birmingham said 85 percent of Texas’ utilities have been deregulated, opening the door for competition and savings for consumers. Under deregulation, existing local-wire companies remain responsible for maintenance and repair of poles and wires, and they continue to handle emergencies and outages, but customers can choose from a variety of providers with a variety of service packages. Frontier Utilities is licensed as a retail electricity provider for 85 percent of the deregulated areas and he said Humble residents have the choice of approximately 12 utility providers. “We offer lots of incentives to encourage customers to sign up with Frontier,” said Birmingham. “We offer a 10 percent discount for on-time payments, and we have the best customer service in the business.” Birmingham said the Texas startup is doing better than expected and is well ahead of the forecasts for various benchmarks. “We offer the best mix of price and customer comfort with a utility company. Our customer service department’s employees are some of the best in the business. Many have more than 20 years experience,” said Birmingham. “Our contracts are easy to understand and customers are not locked into restrictive contracts. Contracts can be written for as short as six or 12 months, with certain restrictions.” For information, call 1-866-926-8192. Photo: Scott Birmingham

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