SCANA Corp. subsidiary SCANA Energy said Tuesday the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has tapped the utility to continue in its role of serving as Georgia's sole regulated provider of natural gas, a role the company has had since the regulated provider program began in 2002.

The Georgia General Assembly mandated appointment of a regulated provider in 2002 to ensure that elderly and low-income Georgians were afforded natural gas at lower rates. Under the Natural Gas Consumers' Relief Act, the regulated provider offers natural gas at special rates to those who meet low-income requirements set by the Georgia Department of Human Resources. An additional discount is available for low-income senior citizens.

As a regulated provider, SCANA Energy also serves as provider of last resort to natural gas customers who, due to credit problems or nonpayment, have been refused service by other marketers. Approximately 100,000 Georgians are currently receiving service under both programs.

"The Georgia Public Service Commission and SCANA Energy have put in place new programs and incentives that are more favorable to all customers under the regulated provider program," said Brett Newsom, SCANA Energy director of pricing and regulatory affairs. "SCANA Energy has also committed to ensuring new levels of excellence in customer service to our regulated provider customers."

SCANA Energy said the terms of both programs have improved for all customers under its regulated division program. Seniors will receive deeper discounts and reduced customer service charges, while credit-challenged customers who make prompt payments will be rewarded with improved rate plans and lower customer service costs.

The utility is one of the largest natural gas marketers in Georgia, serving more than 475,000 customers. SCANA Energy's regulated division is the state's only regulated natural gas provider.

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