Reliant Expands Midwest Retail Presence
Reliant Energy, formerly Houston Industries, expanded its
Midwest retail gas marketing business with the acquisition of
certain assets of National Energy Management LLC and Koch Midstream
Services Co.'s Chicago operation. Together, these retail marketing
businesses serve more than 2,200 accounts in the Chicago and
southern Wisconsin areas and have annual revenues exceeding $65
"These acquisitions provide Reliant Energy with key sales and
operating capabilities in one of the largest retail gas markets in
the U.S.," said Rollie Bohall, senior vice president of Reliant
Energy's commercial and industrial markets. "They fit with Reliant
Energy's strategy of growing its mid-market retail business in the
upper Midwest and strengthen our position as one of the leading
retail marketers in the Illinois region."
Reliant has been selling unregulated natural gas in the region
since 1994, primarily in Wisconsin and Minnesota with a few
accounts in the Illinois area, said Gregg Hollenberg, Reliant
director of market strategy. The acquisition announced yesterday
expands the company's presence in heavily industrialized Chicago.
Hollenberg declined to disclose the gas volumes marketed by the
acquired businesses. Customers are retailers, apartment buildings
and small industrials. "They're not the large industrials, and
they're not the small, mom and pop strip center kind of stores. It
really represents a large cross section of industries and
customers, but it's one with significant volumes."
Reliant Energy last week announced the acquisition of certain
assets owned by Com/Energy Marketing Inc. that added 2,000 accounts
in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut (see Daily GPI Feb.
25, 1999). "We've been active in this region for about two years
now and this was an opportunity to expand with a company that had a
complementary fit," Steve Husband, vice president for Reliant
Energy Retail Marketing, said at the time. "In terms of market
share, this increases [our commercial portfolio] about five times.
If we're talking about total market share, it increases it by about
Geographic areas where Reliant is active in unregulated retail
marketing include the upper Midwest, upper Atlantic region, and
National Energy Management is a joint venture of PanCanadian
Energy Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PanCanadian
Petroleum Ltd., and two subsidiaries of Madison Gas and Electric.
Koch Midstream Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch
Industries Inc., owns and operates gas pipelines and processing
In another, unrelated retail market expansion last week,
AmerenEnergy said it is entering the retail gas market in eastern
Missouri and southern Illinois. The company, a unit of St. Louis,
MO-based Ameren Corp., said it will provide gas-related services
and products to commercial and industrial customers, including
brokering services for gas transportation as well as risk
management. Ameren Corp. has two utility subsidiaries, AmerenUE and
AmerenCIPS, and serves 1.5 million electric customers and 300,000
gas customers in Missouri and Illinois.
Joe Fisher, Houston