The NewPower Co. has been designated sole interim pooler for the Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) market by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) for a one-year term starting in July. The interim pooler is a safeguard against bankruptcies for the 1.3 million gas customers in AGL’s territory the state, which has seen several marketers fail since AGL exited the gas merchant business two years ago. NewPower won the position over several other suppliers, including Infinite Energy and Georgia Natural Gas, after meeting certain criteria of the Public Service Commission.

Under the terms of the interim pooler agreement, should a natural gas marketer in the AGL territory be unable to meet its obligation to serve residential or small business customers, NewPower will become the interim supplier, or “pooler,” for those customers until another marketer is chosen by the customer. As interim pooler, NewPower will advise customers of their choice of marketers, including NewPower, that offer a rate competitive to that of the interim pool.

“We’ve had a couple of marketers that have went into bankruptcy or were not able to meet their supply requirements and were in dire straights,” noted PSC Executive Director Deborah Flanagan. “In those cases, the bankruptcy court can allow some other company to purchase their customers, but during the interim, we don’t want anyone to be without gas and that’s where the interim pooler steps in.” The interim pooler has not been called upon yet this year, but Flanagan said they were called upon a couple times. Last year, there were two interim suppliers, Shell and Georgia Natural Gas.

“In just one year, NewPower’s customer base in Georgia has grown to 110,000 customers,” said CEO H. Eugene Lockhart. “We have made significant investments in our infrastructure and customer care facilities in order to achieve our goal of being best in class.” NewPower entered the Georgia retail market last year by purchasing all the retail customers (300,000 in eight states) of Columbia Gas.

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