Beginning April 1, up to 100,000 Consumers Energy gas customersare going to be able to choose their supplier during the first yearof the company’s statewide Gas Customer Choice program. But whileConsumers said in February that 14 companies indicated they willcompete for customers, some on the list are turning up their noses,at least to residential customers.

“If you’re calling in regard to the Consumer Choice program, inerror we were placed on the program for homes. However, we areserving small businesses to large businesses,” says a telephonerecording at Eastcoast Gas in Rochester, MI. A similar recording atLombard, IL-based marketer mc2 refers to the Michigan pilot andsays “mc2 is currently not serving customers in that market.”Another company on Consumers’ list of authorized suppliers, EnergyResource Management Corp. of Detroit, does not offer callers theopportunity to speak with a live person. Instead, a recordinginstructs them to leave a message for either the sales or marketingdepartments. A message left by NGI Wednesday was not returned bypress time.

“The thing to keep in mind about this is the program doesn’treally officially start until April 1st,” said Consumers spokesmanJeff Holyfield. “We’ve got more than 10 suppliers that are goingafter business customers, so that part of it is there. And again,it’s just getting started for everybody, and for the residentialcustomers, basically what we did was we opened the door. The door’sgoing to remain open for three years. Suppliers can come in at anytime during that period.” In each of the next three years, up to100,000 customers are to be able to choose an alternate supplier.

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