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Shell Signs Major Georgia Aggregator

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 Rich.

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.

John Norris

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