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Reliant Buys Retail Operations of COM/Energy

Reliant Buys Retail Operations of COM/Energy

Reliant Energy, formerly Houston Industries, has purchased the retail gas marketing assets of Commonwealth Energy System subsidiary COM/Energy Marketing for an undisclosed sum. The assets primarily are made up of contracts with more than 2,000 energy customers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, two offices in Massachusetts and a 10-person marketing team.

"We've been active in this region for about two years now and this was an opportunity to expand with a company that had a complementary fit," said Steve Husband, vice president for Reliant Energy Retail Marketing. "In terms of market share, this increases [our commercial portfolio] about five times. If we're talking about total market share, it increases it by about 10%."

Reliant Energy Retail Marketing President Richard Guha said the deal "offers us an experienced marketing and operations team as well as the opportunity to further strengthen our position in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut."

For Commonwealth Energy, the sale marks a turning point in corporate strategy. "The sale of the assets of our energy marketing company allows us to further concentrate our efforts on our core business: the delivery and distribution of electricity, natural gas, chilled water and steam," said CEO Russell D. Wright. "We, like other utilities in New England, have found that marketing energy in the emerging unregulated arena requires the market power of a national or international company like Reliant Energy to make it a real success." Commonwealth Energy is a $1 billion holding company based in Cambridge, MA. Its subsidiary companies, Commonwealth Electric, Cambridge Electric, Commonwealth Gas, COM/Energy Steam, and Advanced Energy Systems serve 620,000 customers in eastern Massachusetts.

Reliant Energy, based in Houston, is an international energy services firm with $11.5 billion in annual revenue and assets totaling more than $19 billion.

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