SUPERVALU PLUGS IN THIRD PARTIES TO LIGHTEN BILLS

MINNEAPOLIS -- - Supervalu here recently enlisted the aid of two third-parties to handle payments as well as monitor the wholesaler's utility bills in search of greater energy dollar savings and energy-procurement efficiencies."This will give us negotiating power [in a deregulated marketplace]," said Larry Townsend, director of energy procurement for Supervalu. "We expect to be able to negotiate from

MINNEAPOLIS -- - Supervalu here recently enlisted the aid of two third-parties to handle payments as well as monitor the wholesaler's utility bills in search of greater energy dollar savings and energy-procurement efficiencies.

"This will give us negotiating power [in a deregulated marketplace]," said Larry Townsend, director of energy procurement for Supervalu. "We expect to be able to negotiate from a very strong base having this information."

Cass, St. Louis, will handle the payment of such energy bills as those for water, sewer and natural gas. Cadence, Cincinnati, will audit the energy bills.

Cass, which will receive bills directly from the utility companies starting Sept. 1, will work with the retailer under a one-year agreement, with an option to continue.

"We have been gathering information for several months and transmitted it to Cass, which has created this system," said Townsend.

Once the processing has been completed, Cass will transmit the wholesaler's energy-expenditure information into a database and the information will be transmitted to Cadence for auditing.

The new system provides an enterprise-wide view of energy expenditures, allowing the wholesaler to track its energy-conservation projects.

Each region will be able to view information over the Web.