CTG Resources Inc., parent of Connecticut Natural Gas, announcedit has retained Paine Webber Inc. to advise it on strategicalternatives to maximize shareholder value, including the potentialsale of the company and acquisitions of nonregulated enterprises toexpand the company’s district heating and cooling activities.

“With the recent entry of a number of large players into theNortheast energy markets, the size and scope of operations neededto compete increases dramatically,” CTG Chairman, President and CEOArthur C. Marquardt said. The company includes The Energy Network,an unregulated subsidiary. CNG provides natural gas service toapproximately 142,000 residential, commercial, and industrialcustomers, principally in greater Hartford and Greenwich, CT.

In the last year Massachusetts’ Eastern Enterprises, parent ofBoston Gas, has offered to buy nearby distributors, Colonial GasCo. and Essex County Gas. And Northern Indiana Public Servicereached across the country and grabbed Bay State Gas, the so-called”plum” among a flock of small Massachusetts distributors lastDecember.

Also in December Boston Edison parent BEC Energy announced itwould buy Cambridge, MA-based combination gas and electric utility,Commonwealth Energy System, parent of Commonwealth Electric Co.,Cambridge Electric Light Co., Canal Electric Co., and CommonwealthGas Co.

Then in January Energy East Corp., parent of New York StateElectric & Gas, put in an offer to buy Connecticut Energy Corp.(CNE) for $617 million, paving the way for the combined utility toadd 160,000 new gas customers and at the same time continuing toshrink the number of pure gas utilities.

The New England area is marked by numerous small distributors,who analysts expect to see combined over the next few years intojust three or four large combination utilities.

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