Shell Signs Major Georgia Aggregator
Grass Roots Energy Company, a buyer's agent for Georgia's
residential energy consumers looking to switch from Atlanta Gas
Light Company (AGL), selected Shell Energy Services as the best
value in the market, the two companies announced Friday. Shell
gained access to the 35,000 Grass Roots customers by beating out 18
other marketers competing in the newly deregulated market. Clients
who signed up with Grass Roots by Nov. 4 will start new gas service
with Shell Dec. 1, 1998.
Shell has said that they will contact every Grass Roots member
before then and offer choices of service, payment plans, and other
benefits. The terms of the transaction between the two companies
were not disclosed.
"As part of our commitment to reduce monthly natural gas bills,
Grass Roots Energy has chosen Shell as the best choice today for
our members' natural gas needs," said Grass Roots President Dave
Shell was the right choice, according to Rich, because of the
company's commitment to customers and their capability to take care
of them, "We have 35,000 clients who want more than just a gas bill
every month. Shell has the phone centers and overall capability to
contact each of our clients individually. Nobody else could do
that." Shell also persuaded the buyers' agent by offering to
provide choices of service to each customer, allow payment options
such as over-the-phone transactions with a credit card (which,
according to Rich, no other marketer offered), and did not require
the customer to enter any kind of contract.
Georgia's official unbundling began Nov. 1, when 16,000
consumers switched from AGL to five different marketers. Scana
Energy, Infinite Energy, Georgia Natural Gas Services, e prime
Inc., and Peachtree Natural Gas all attracted consumers. According
to Rich, Grass Roots withheld from signing with a marketer in the
first month because they had not heard from all the marketers,
"Ideally, we wanted our customers to have new service Nov. 1, but a
lot of marketers were not ready to deal." The total number of
switching customers for the second month of unbundling will not be
available until late November.
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