Carolina Power & Light intends to either acquire a naturalgas supply or marketing company or strike a “strategic alliance”with one in a plan to offer customers “one-stop shopping” for theirmajor energy needs.

The plan reflects the ongoing convergence in the U.S. power andnatural gas sector, CP&L executives said. In a recent letter toshareholders, CP&L’s president William Cavanaugh wrote,”Natural gas marketing will be in our future as we build anorganization with the potential to be a one-stop shopping servicefor our customers.” CP&L’s service area spans approximately30,000 square miles, covering much of eastern and central NorthCarolina. The utility has just over 5,000 industrial customers,173,000 commercial customers and about 975,000 residentialcustomers. CP&L is in the process of deciding whether toprovide gas to some or all of its customer base, officials said.

The utility claims a move into gas is a natural “next step” asthe company shifts from “a traditional utility company to aresponsive marketing and services company.” CP&L paved the wayfor a move into gas earlier this year when it reorganized intothree distinct business units-Energy Supply, Energy Delivery andRetail Sales & Service.

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