Columbia, Energy.com Offer Online Supplier Switching
Energy.com and Columbia Gas of Ohio have teamed up to enable
Columbia Gas customers to switch suppliers online from the
Energy.com web site as part of the utility's customer choice
program. It marks Energy.com's entrance into active deregulation
enrollment services, the company said.
Any customer being served by Columbia can take advantage of the
service. Once on the site, they can get information about different
offers, research the 19 marketers currently selling gas in
Columbia's service territory, and now they can switch suppliers.
Marketers only pay a fee when they acquire a customer. The rest of
the service is funded by advertising, Tammy Cardoso, an Energy.com
"This is our first time providing this service," said Cardoso.
"But it won't be the last. We intend to offer it to the other LDCs
in Ohio, then branch out into other deregulating markets such as
Georgia, New Jersey, and New York. We also want to provide an
enrollment service for deregulating electric markets. Right now, we
are looking at Pennsylvania."
Columbia Gas formed Energy.com in 1998 and is the Internet
resources' sole investor. Yet Cardoso said location, not ownership,
was the main reason for the partnership. "A bigger factor than
Columbia being our chief investor is that we are located in
Columbia Gas' area, and we chose to start close to home."
Online switching is not new to Columbia. In January, it
successfully petitioned the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
(PUCO), to allow all 19 marketers to enroll customers online.
Columbia, the largest gas utility in the state, has a total of 1.3
million gas customers.
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