SCANA Corp. announced it is refocusing its marketing strategy onthe retail business in the Southeast and is shutting down itsHouston office and its wholesale gas marketing operation. Thecompany would not say how much natural gas its wholesale operationhandles on a daily basis.

“We had a pretty substantial amount of wholesale business, butit was not a lot of term business so we don’t have a lot to workoff,” said John Tufts, vice president in SCANA’s Houston Division.”It was more of a month-to-month business.” He said the operationshould be shut down and most of its 19 employees laid off by theend of March.

“We’ve got a real strong team. It wasn’t a performance issue, itwas more just a refocusing,” said Tufts.

SCANA Energy Marketing President Charles Rampey said the companyplans to “continue to provide natural gas, electricity, and energymanagement services to the end-use retail markets.”

SCANA is focused on the Southeast, where it has a strong andgrowing retail presence. “SCANA has more things to sell than justgas in both South Carolina and Georgia and that’s a major marketthere and they are going after it in a major way,” said Tufts.”They understand the residential side of the business. They’ve gottelecommunications, home security, energy.”

SCANA wholesale marketing division had been marketing gas as aproducer-marketer up until the company sold its E&ampP business,SCANA Petroleum Resources, to Kelly Oil in December 1997. Then thecompany decided it wanted to become more of a national wholesalemarketer. “Now they have refocused, realizing you have to be one ofthe real big guys to make any money. The market is very thin in thewholesale business,” Tufts noted.

Rocco Canonica

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