South Carolina Pipeline Files for Voluntary Open Access

SCANA's South Carolina Pipeline Corp. (SCPC) is fundamentally changing the way it does business in an effort to better market its pipeline capacity and expand its service territory. The company announced plans last week to voluntarily open its pipeline system to transportation-only service and discontinue gas sales service. It intends to file an application for the switch with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (SCPSC) next month.

"This is a significant change," said SCPC President Berry Gibbes. "South Carolina is growing, and the energy market is growing and evolving with it, putting new and different demands on our system. We believe that this conversion will position us to continue to serve all our customers reliably into the future.

"In a time of rising costs, large natural gas users typically want the ability to manage their own interstate pipeline capacity and control their natural gas purchasing strategy in order to capture the value in those assets," said Gibbes. "Converting to an open-access transportation system gives our customers the opportunity and the responsibility to do just that."

The change will allow pipeline customers to shop for the the best deal on gas supply but it be a challenge for smaller buyers. SCPC currently provides bundled gas service to LDCs and industrial customers in 40 of the 46 counties in South Carolina. It buys gas at supply points along the Gulf Coast, contracts with interstate pipelines to have it transported into South Carolina, and then sells and delivers it to its customers through its own 2,000-mile intrastate pipeline network. If approved by the SCPSC, the new plan would convert the pipeline to open-access service with cost-based rates. Customers would secure their own gas supplies and upstream transportation services as well as hold capacity on SCPC's system. Other energy services companies or marketers will have access to SCPC's capacity to manage service for customers.

SCPC plans to file its open access case with the SCPSC in the fall of 2001. In order to give customers time to prepare for this new service structure, the company will seek implementation in the fall of 2002.

Because the current system serves many industrial users with interruptible service, and the new structure will focus on firm service, SCPC is soliciting service requirements for firm transportation capacity from its customers through July 16. SCPC will propose firm transportation agreements with 15-year terms beginning with the implementation date of SCPC's open access tariff. Current or potential customers who would like an open season packet can contact Devy Traylor, manager of market and business development, at (803) 217-7900.

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