At TXU Energy, the Generation of New Ideas Has Been Deregulated

lightbulb

It’s often said that competition breeds innovation. Here’s a less common but equally true saying: deregulation breeds competition. So when the vast majority of the state’s electricity market was deregulated in 2002, TXU Energy had plenty of motivation to innovate.

“The consumer really wants choice—choice of provider, choice of different types of plans,” says Scott Hudson, TXU Energy’s chief operating officer, “and that drove us to several firsts in the market.”

Legislation broke up what was once a monopoly for TXU Energy’s predecessor. Before 2002, the more simply named TXU generated, transmitted, and sold electricity to businesses and residents throughout North Texas. But TXU Energy now competes with dozens of other providers that can sell electricity—much of which is generated by Luminant and transmitted by Oncor. (TXU Energy’s parent company, Energy Future Holdings, owns the former and has an 80 percent equity stake in the latter.)

“The consumer really wants choice—choice of provider, choice of different types of plans,” says Scott Hudson, TXU Energy’s chief operating officer, “and that drove us to several firsts in the market.”

Among the innovations Irving-based TXU Energy likes to tout are its internet-enabled thermostat, its mobile app, and the smart meters that made its time-of-use plans such as “Free Nights” possible.

“The way we think about innovation is that it is everybody’s responsibility, because everybody has to listen to the customer,” Hudson says. “If you listen to your customers, you get all sorts of ideas.”

“If they feel we encourage new ideas, then we’re going to get more and more of them,” Hudson says, “and that’s going to make us more successful.”

To that end, the company’s senior leaders are each required to spend two hours per month listening to customers directly. They do this in a number of ways, including sitting with their employees who field calls from public.

When The Dallas Morning News released its annual rankings of the Top 100 Places to Work in November, TXU Energy—which finished seventh among large companies—received a special award: “Best at Encouraging New Ideas.” The rankings were based on a survey of more than 80,000 people working at 300-plus firms. There were 12 categories in the survey, and the special awards went to the companies that scored the highest in each category.

Earning such an award based on employee feedback is a point of pride, Hudson says.

“If they feel we encourage new ideas, then we’re going to get more and more of them,” he says, “and that’s going to make us more successful.”

For a daily dose of what’s new, now, and next in Dallas-Fort Worth innovation, subscribe to our Dallas Innovates e-newsletter.

Comments are closed.