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Aquila, Engage to Sell Retail Energy through Web

Aquila, Engage to Sell Retail Energy through Web

Two top-10 national energy marketers, Aquila Energy and Engage Energy, started doing business July 29 in California on Energy Marketplace, the retail natural gas and electricity Internet shopping center operated by Southern California Gas Co. Declining to provide dollar or transaction volume statistics on the nearly two-year-old site, the nation's first retail energy Internet shopping site, a SoCalGas spokesperson would only say that there are other major announcements regarding Energy Marketplace that are pending and should be made in the near future.

SoCalGas said its web site now hosts 16 marketers serving both gas and power to California customers. They pay fees to the Internet service to participate as a supplier receiving pricing requests from customers and for advertising their company profile and services. The site, which began in November 1997 as a gas-only Internet marketing conduit, is still looking to expand to other states and negotiations in that regard are ongoing, according to the SoCal spokesperson in Los Angeles. The addition of two large national marketers "broadens the energy service offerings available to our customers over the Internet," said SoCalGas's Lee Stewart, president of energy transportation services.

"We look forward to exploring additional avenues to markets in California and other geographic areas as Energy Marketplace expands," said Richard McElroy, marketing vice president for Engage, which is a joint venture between $12 billion (US) Coastal Corp., and $11 billion (Canadian) Westcoast Energy, based in British Columbia. Aquila, which is part of UtiliCorp United, is currently ranked as the nation's fourth largest gas and second largest electricity wholesaler.

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