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Gas Choice Coming to 31,000 Virginians

Gas Choice Coming to 31,000 Virginians

Washington Gas soon will notify its northern Virginia customers of its customer choice pilot. Customers will have the option to choose from a list of gas suppliers whose names and phone numbers will be included in an October bill insert. A series of community education meetings is planned.

"The more competitive natural gas industry is providing consumers with greater economic freedom in purchasing energy," said Joseph M. Schepis, Washington Gas chief operating officer. "Virginia customers' participation in the pilot is important. It's a preview of what's to come, a chance to compare prices, save money and become more familiar with the open markets of a deregulated energy environment. The program should provide a clearer understanding of customers' expectations and will help us to match their preferences with the competitive opportunities of an open market."

About 29,000 residential customers and 2,000 commercial customers may participate in the first year of the two-year pilot approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Twice as many customers may participate in the second year. Enrollment begins Oct. 1, and customers may continue to sign up anytime thereafter until the target levels for residential and commercial customers have been reached. Customers agree to participate for one year. Gas supply under the pilot is scheduled to begin as early as Jan. 1.

Thousands of Washington Gas customers in the Maryland area have participated in a similar pilot. The success of the Maryland program has resulted in customer choice for all commercial customers and for a majority of residential customers.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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