Reliant Energy Retail Inc., announced yesterday the purchase ofall New Jersey Natural Energy’s (NJNE) commercial gas contracts.The actual agreement was signed last week, NJNE said, and customeraccounts are already switching to Reliant. Neither the number ofpurchased accounts nor the financial terms of the transaction weredisclosed. The two companies said the transition will be seamless.

Reliant Energy’s retail group said it intends to integrate thebusiness into its existing New Jersey natural gas business, whichmaintains a sales office in Edison, NJ. A company spokesman saidReliant is one of the largest suppliers to commercial customers inthe state, serving in all New Jersey LDC service territories. “Thisacquisition fits with our strategy of growing our mid-market retailbusiness and strengthening our position as one of the leadingretail marketers in New Jersey,” said Rollie Bohall, senior vicepresident, commercial and industrial markets.

The Houston-based company has retail operations in the upperMidwest, the upper Altantic region and in Georgia. The NJNE purchaserepresents the third time Reliant has purchased retail assets fromanother energy company this year. In March, Reliant bought certainsmall industrial accounts from National Energy Management LLC and KochMidstream Services Co (see Daily GPI, March5). It also purchased Com/Energy’s retail marketing assets in lateFebruary.

Only NJNE’s commercial customers are affected by this agreement.NJNE, the retail subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, will continueproviding commodity service to its industrial customers and over15,000 residential customers in the state. The sale marks the firsttime NJNE has ever sold a part of its customer base, the companysaid.

“This move is part of NJNE’s strategic shift away from providinga commodity-only service to commercial customers,” Laurence M.Downes, chairman and CEO of NJR said. “Reliant Energy will providethese customers with commodity service, and we will focus ondeveloping new services for commercial customers, includingemerging distributed generation technologies like fuel cells andmicroturbines. In addition to providing innovative products andservices to commercial customers, we are also developing these newservices for our residential customers.”

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