MichCon Deems Gas Pilot Program a Success
MichCon officials announced a successful beginning to its pilot
program yesterday, with 70,000 of their 75,000 eligible customers
choosing a newly introduced competing supplier in the first year of
a three-year program. Stephen E. Ewing, the president of the
Michigan gas utility, said the results prove customer choice
programs can work for the entire state.
The pilot program was approved by the Michigan Public Service
Commission (MPSC) in April 1998 and allows 75,000 customers to sign
up each year until 2001, amounting to a total of 225,000 eligible
residential and small commercial customers. Seven suppliers,
including Columbia Energy, Consumers, and Energy America (A Sempra
Energy affiliate), will take part in this program.
The way the program is designed, there are enrollment periods in
each of the three years; the first ended on May 15. The next
sign-up period for MichCon customers to choose their gas supplier
is November 1.
MichCon's program is one of three in Michigan and the results
are viewed as an important step in building the state's future
energy marketplace. Consumers Energy and Semco Gas also have
ongoing three-year pilot programs. Like MichCon, Consumers Energy
said results from its program have exceeded expectations. In the
first year of the Consumer pilot, 100,000 customers switched away
from the gas utility. It is currently in the second sign-up period
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