Dan W. Ryser

    With 6% of the U.S. natural gas market, Electric Clearinghouse Inc. is ready to take the next step in becoming a total energy marketer, and that is build a similar business in the power industry.

    "Certainly, natural gas and electricity are very much intertwined commodities and becoming more so," explained Dan W. Ryser, vice president and general manager of Electric Clearinghouse. "We say with the advent of more open and competitive markets in power we should be in a position to provide products and services that add value to those players much like we've done in the gas business."

    Ryser moved to Clearinghouse in late 1993 after a 22-year career with Enron Corp., including president of Enron Gas Processing Co., president of Transwestern Pipeline Co., executive vice president of Enron Gas Marketing, and president of Houston Pipe Line Co.

    In marketing electricity, Clearing-house plans to tap the expertise it gained in playing a major role in the deregulation of natural gas. "We think we have an understanding of evolving, deregulating markets, Ryser said. "It should put us in a position where we can be as effective adding value in power marketing as we are in gas."

    The interdependency of gas and power means Clearinghouse will have an advantage in managing financial risks for its customers over the companies that are marketing just one commodity. There are a lot of differences between the gas and electric industries, but there are some similarities too," Ryser noted.

    At this point, Electric Clearinghouse is buying from utilities, independent power generators, municipals and coops as well as selling to that same group of markets. "It just depends on who has production and who needs it, or who needs something like price management or protection against one sort of a risk or another," he said. As an independent marketer, Clearinghouse has the flexibility not available to utility providers.

    "I would anticipate that over time more and more industrial customers in North America will have the opportunity to choose their own power supplier," Ryser said. "As those situations develop or as that market evolves, we intend to be a supplier to that market."

    Clearinghouse's experience with access transportation of natural gas has proven beneficial in signing interchange agreements with electric utilities. "It's just a case of understanding the markets and knowing who has the transportation capacity and trying to get the best priced transmission capacity to conduct your business"' Ryser explained.

    Because Clearinghouse buys and sells gas all over the country, if gas has a particular value now or into the future it can equate that value to electricity in many cases. "So we can arbitrage the differentials in those commodities, and do that in such a way that we can provide some value-added services to our customers, whether they're gas or electric customers," he continued.

    "We just needs to figure out a way to provide good products and services to our customers, and if we can do that we'll have customers interested in doing business with us."

    Clearinghouse became Dynegy in July 1998 and Dynegy is merging with Illinova in January 2000. The new combined company will be $7.5 billion in assets.