Grass Roots Energy Company, a buyer’s agent for 34,000residential gas customers in Georgia, decided to delay signing witha marketer amid the frantic atmosphere of the state’s first attemptat deregulation. The first signing period ended earlier this week,and the 16,000 Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) customers who did switch tonew marketers will have new service starting Nov. 1, 1998. (SeeDaily GPI, Oct. 28)

According to Grass Root’s president Dave Rich, the aggregatorwithheld from making a deal in the first signing period because ithad not heard all the marketers’ best offers, “Ideally, we wantedour customers to have new service Nov. 1, but a lot of marketerswere not ready to deal.” The company promises to negotiate “themost dependable energy at the best rates available, then arrange tohave it delivered via your existing line.” It shies away, however,from offering a fixed price. Marketers declined to comment onGrass Roots, saying that the whole Georgia situation is toounsettled to draw conclusions.

Rich says that Grass Roots has begun working on a new timetable,”We are working towards getting our customers the best package andstarting service by Jan. 1.” Marketers submit new customerinformation to AGL one week before the first of every month, inorder for service to start on the first of the month. With theseguidelines in mind, Grass roots is looking to be signed with amarketer by the last week in December.

Grass Roots Energy was founded in July of 1997, and beganmarketing to customers last spring. From the start, the aggregatorhas had a different marketing philosophy than the certifiedmarketers, some of whom spend millions of dollars in marketingefforts. While minimizing marketing costs, Rich says the company’ssuccess has stemmed from the 3000 independent marketers who havespread Grass Roots’ message throughout Georgia. Compensated on aper agreement basis, these independent contractors go door-to-dooror promote the aggregator in their spare time.

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