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Reliant Picks Up NJ Resources Contracts

Reliant Picks Up NJ Resources Contracts

Reliant Energy Retail Inc., announced last week the purchase of all New Jersey Natural Energy's (NJNE) commercial gas contracts. The actual agreement was signed last week, NJNE said, and customer accounts are already switching to Reliant. Neither the number of purchased accounts nor the financial terms of the transaction were disclosed. The two companies said the transition will be seamless.

Reliant Energy's retail group said it intends to integrate the business into its existing New Jersey natural gas business, which maintains a sales office in Edison, NJ. A company spokesman said Reliant is one of the largest suppliers to commercial customers in the state, serving in all New Jersey LDC service territories. "This acquisition fits with our strategy of growing our mid-market retail business and strengthening our position as one of the leading retail marketers in New Jersey," said Rollie Bohall, senior vice president, commercial and industrial markets.

The Houston-based company has retail operations in the upper Midwest, the upper Atlantic region and in Georgia. The NJNE purchase represents the third time Reliant has purchased retail assets from another energy company this year. In March, Reliant bought certain small industrial accounts from National Energy Management LLC and Koch Midstream Services Co (see NGI, March 8). It also purchased Com/Energy's retail marketing assets in late February.

Only NJNE's commercial customers are affected by this agreement. NJNE, the retail subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, will continue providing commodity service to its industrial customers and over 15,000 residential customers in the state. The sale marks the first time NJNE has ever sold a part of its customer base, the company said.

"This move is part of NJNE's strategic shift away from providing a commodity-only service to commercial customers," Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of NJR said. "Reliant Energy will provide these customers with commodity service, and we will focus on developing new services for commercial customers, including emerging distributed generation technologies like fuel cells and microturbines. In addition to providing innovative products and services to commercial customers, we are also developing these new services for our residential customers."

John Norris

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