When Sears, Roebuck and Co. decided to make its stores more energy efficient, the country's No. 3 retailer went hunting for a few electric utilities with the clout to get the job done on a massive scale.
In Florida alone, Sears boasts 54 department stores, 21 HomeLife furniture stores and a host of automotive repair and other outlets.
After a nationwide search of "hundreds" of utilities, Sears chose Miami-based Florida Power & Light late last year to analyze and install energy management improvements for Sears facilities throughout the southeastern United States. Several other utilities were picked to handle Sears's needs in other regions in the country.
FP&L was picked, says Sears, because it looked like a winner ahead in the increasingly competitive power business.
"If you're going to serve Sears, you have to be a substantial company yourself." says Sears spokeswoman Jan Drummond.
For FPL, the Sears alliance is its biggest energy managment deal, one that extends FPL's reach throughout the Southeast and well beyond its electric service territory in South Florida.
"We expect this to be the first of many similar alliances with key corporations and chains who are seeking regional and national solutions to their energy needs," says FPL Energy Services president Larry Laseter.