Gas Choice Coming to 31,000 Virginians
Washington Gas soon will notify its northern Virginia customers
of its customer choice pilot. Customers will have the option to
choose from a list of gas suppliers whose names and phone numbers
will be included in an October bill insert. A series of community
education meetings is planned.
"The more competitive natural gas industry is providing
consumers with greater economic freedom in purchasing energy," said
Joseph M. Schepis, Washington Gas chief operating officer.
"Virginia customers' participation in the pilot is important. It's
a preview of what's to come, a chance to compare prices, save money
and become more familiar with the open markets of a deregulated
energy environment. The program should provide a clearer
understanding of customers' expectations and will help us to match
their preferences with the competitive opportunities of an open
About 29,000 residential customers and 2,000 commercial
customers may participate in the first year of the two-year pilot
approved by the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Twice as
many customers may participate in the second year. Enrollment
begins Oct. 1, and customers may continue to sign up anytime
thereafter until the target levels for residential and commercial
customers have been reached. Customers agree to participate for one
year. Gas supply under the pilot is scheduled to begin as early as
Thousands of Washington Gas customers in the Maryland area have
participated in a similar pilot. The success of the Maryland
program has resulted in customer choice for all commercial
customers and for a majority of residential customers.
Joe Fisher, Houston
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