NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report
Two weeks after Perry Gas filed for bankruptcy and sued its retail client billing provider, PowerTrust.com, the marketer confirmed it has dropped the lawsuit and is selling its residential energy marketing units to that same provider (see NGI, Sept. 4).
Perry Gas Co., in an effort to re-organize its company structure, entered into a letter of intent to sell two marketing subsidiaries to PowerTrust. Included in the deal is the stock and assets of Southeastern States Energy, and the assets of Perry Energy Services. “This is part of Perry Gas’ plan to maximize the return to its creditors in the bankruptcy plan, and we are in the process of reorganizing Perry Gas,” said Tom Dickinson, Perry Gas’ attorney.
Southeastern States Energy operates in Georgia’s deregulated gas market with about 10,000 residential gas customers. Perry Energy Services markets gas to residential customers in the Washington-Baltimore area.
“This has always been part of our plan,” explained Dickinson. “We have been working on this with PowerTrust even prior to bankruptcy. PowerTrust has expressed an interest in Southeastern States over an extended period of time. Perry Gas formed Southeastern States probably over a year and a half ago. Soon after that, PowerTrust began expressing interest in acquiring the subsidiary.”
Dickinson said the lawsuit that Perry had filed against PowerTrust was an effort to obtain information pertaining to the company’s financial woes. “We had requested accounting information from PowerTrust on the subsidiary. They furnished it to us; we analyzed it and got our questions answered. That really was one of the steps we needed to clear to complete the negotiations for the sale of the subsidiaries.”
Even though Dickinson claims the lawsuit was just a request for accounting, Perry Gas’ CEO Beth Perry Sewell issued a statement divorcing Powertrust from its financial woes. “PowerTrust.com, Inc. operates under a contractual alliance with Perry Gas entities pursuant to which PowerTrust provides marketing, customer service and billing support for natural gas customers served by the Perry Gas entities in certain deregulated natural gas markets. Perry Gas does not at this point have basis to conclude that the financial difficulties resulting in the Chapter 11 filing were caused by the performance of PowerTrust.”
Perry Gas plans to continue its retail gas business and restructure its business plan. “I think it is safe to say that we are getting out of the residential retail gas market, but we are refocusing on the commercial, small industrial and industrial retail markets which is the bulk of our business,” said Dickinson. The company operates its commercial and industrial businesses in the Mid-Atlantic states and the Southeast.
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