SCANA Shuts Down Wholesale, Focuses on Retail in Southeast

SCANA Corp. announced it is refocusing its marketing strategy on the retail business in the Southeast and is shutting down its Houston office and its wholesale gas marketing operation. The company would not say how much natural gas its wholesale operation handles on a daily basis.

"We had a pretty substantial amount of wholesale business, but it was not a lot of term business so we don't have a lot to work off," said John Tufts, vice president in SCANA's Houston Division. "It was more of a month-to-month business." He said the operation should be shut down and most of its 19 employees laid off by the end of March.

"We've got a real strong team. It wasn't a performance issue, it was more just a refocusing," said Tufts.

SCANA Energy Marketing President Charles Rampey said the company plans to "continue to provide natural gas, electricity, and energy management services to the end-use retail markets."

SCANA is focused on the Southeast, where it has a strong and growing retail presence. "SCANA has more things to sell than just gas in both South Carolina and Georgia and that's a major market there and they are going after it in a major way," said Tufts. "They understand the residential side of the business. They've got telecommunications, home security, energy."

SCANA wholesale marketing division had been marketing gas as a producer-marketer up until the company sold its E&ampP business, SCANA Petroleum Resources, to Kelly Oil in December 1997. Then the company decided it wanted to become more of a national wholesale marketer. "Now they have refocused, realizing you have to be one of the real big guys to make any money. The market is very thin in the wholesale business," Tufts noted.

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