Commerce Energy

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Commerce Energy Group, Inc., based in Costa Mesa, California, USA, was the parent company of a wholly owned independent electricity and natural gas marketing company, Commerce Energy Inc.. The company was purchased by Universal Energy Group on December 11, 2008.[1]

On July 31, 2008, Commerce had 155,000 customers. Revenue for the fiscal year 2008, ending July 31, 2008, was $460 million. The company had 200 employees on July 31, 2008.


Commerce was founded by Fred Bloom in Tustin, California, in 1997 as Commonwealth Energy Corporation. On April 1, 1998, Commerce began supplying electricity to customers in California.

Commerce grew significantly with the acquisition of ACN Energy on February 9, 2005. This purchase boosted Commerce's customer count by 80,000.

On September 20, 2006, Commerce purchased a portfolio of about 300 commercial and industrial natural gas customers in five states from Houston Energy Services Company. This transaction tripled Commerce's natural gas sales volumes.

Gregory L. Craig was named CEO and Chairman of the Board on February 20, 2008, supplanting Steven S. Boss and Dennis R. Leibel in those positions, respectively.

On June 3, 2008, Commerce announced a staff reduction of 80 people, or 31 percent of its workforce. The company also announced a sale of its energy consulting firm, Skipping Stone Inc., to that company's former president and a closure of offices in Houston, Texas, and Boston, Massachusetts.

On October 27, 2008, Commerce announced a sale of its entire Texas business — roughly 58,000 customers — to Ambit Energy for $14.5 million. On November 12, 2008, Commerce announced its intention to sell its customer books in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Michigan to Universal Energy Group for $16 million. Universal would also own 49% of outstanding Commerce stock, with warrants to increase its stake to 66.67%. The deal would require shareholder approval due to the significant common stock dilution. On December 11, Commerce instead announced that Universal had purchased 100 percent of Commerce after Commerce underwent a consensual foreclosure by its lenders.

Universal shut down Commerce's remaining operations in Dallas, Texas, on March 27, 2009. A small staff was left in place in Costa Mesa until June 2009.


  1. ^ "Universal Energy Group Expands Its US Operations Through the Acquisition of Commerce Energy, Inc". Universal Energy Group. December 11, 2008. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 

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