Georgia Marketers Prepare for Home Stretch
Six marketers have succeeded in obtaining most of the Georgia
gas market share, with Scana and Georgia Natural Gas Services
(GNGS), the Atlanta Gas Light affiliate, emerging as definitive
winners, according to a study performed by Xenergy, the New York
State Electric & Gas affiliate.
Market share is becoming increasingly important, the study
indicated, because the amendment passed by Georgia's legislature
earlier this month which requires all customers to be switched by
Oct. 1, could be signed by the Gov. Roy Barnes by the end of the
month. Georgia Public Service Commissioner Bobby Baker said the
commission is trying to get Barnes to sign it as soon as possible.
"The governor has said April 5, 12 and 16 are days blocked off for
signing things. Hopefully, the amendment will fit into one of those
Once the bill is signed, all customers still receiving gas from
AGL will have 100 days to switch before they are assigned to a
marketer based on market share. William Huss, a Xenergy vice
president, thinks the 100 day period will begin in early May.
"What some marketers have called the 'Hundred Day War' will
begin on May 1," Huss said. " Any remaining customers who haven't
signed up by Aug. 11 will be automatically assigned natural gas
suppliers - and the process will be based upon market share. At
stake is the entire customer base of Georgia's primary natural gas
Approximately 500,000 customers have switched suppliers. At the
moment, Scana is in the lead with 240,000 customers signed. The
marketer's offer of $50 off the first gas bill has been successful,
said Roger Schrum, a Scana spokesman, but will be halted in April.
"We'll announce a new offer then," Schrum said, but could not
Besides Scana, GNGS has had the most success in the market.
"Scana and ourselves are the two largest players in the state,"
said Clif Payne, a GNGS vice president. "We are working hard and
succeeding at closing the gap between us and Scana." Payne would
not, however, release how many customers GNGS has signed. He only
said "We have the lion's share of the market."
The study also names Peachtree Natural Gas, Shell Energy
Services, Columbia Energy Services, and United Gas Management of
Georgia as suppliers that ended up with large market shares.
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