ST. LOUIS -- Schnuck Markets here has reportedly begun using a new utility-management program that aggregates its stores' utility bills and interfaces with the chain's accounts payable system.
Streamlining the billing process should help generate savings by reducing errors, according to a source familiar with the situation. The system can also help identify appropriate rate schedules and sites with excess energy usage, though this feature is not yet in use at Schnuck, he added.
Schnuck declined to comment on its use of the utility-management system.
The system appeals to retailers who not only want to save on utility costs, but also want to prepare for deregulation of the electric power industry.
In addition, retailers who own the utility-management software, which comes from Illinova Energy Partners, Oak Brook, Ill., have access to weather data information via the company's web site.
Making weather data accessible over the Internet gives multiple-location retailers more comprehensive information than they could gather on their own, according to Illinova.