By virtue of a new agreement with TransCanada PipeLines Ltd.,Sears Canada could become the place where Canadians shop fornatural gas. Sears Canada and TransCanada, through its wholly ownedsubsidiary TransCanada Energy Ltd., plan to offer gas toresidential consumers in Ottawa. The program will start out as apilot, and the agreement between the companies is for six years.Sears will be the first national Canadian general retailer to offergas, the companies said.

“This joint venture marks Sears first step into the competitiveenergy market,” said Larry Moore, Sears Canada vice president forservice sales. “It is a welcome addition to Sears HomeCentral. Wealready provide fast, efficient and reliable heating and coolingservices for Ottawa customers through our 1-800-4-MY-HOME number,including 24-hour emergency service.”

Moore said the agreement with TransCanada precludes eithercompany partnering with another to sell gas to the residentialmarket. Enbridge Consumers Gas is the Ottawa LDC on which gas willbe sold to residential users. If the pilot is successful in theinitial months, the companies expect to roll it out to all ofOntario by the end of 2000, said TransCanada spokesman GlennHerchak. Eventually, in about five years, a national program couldhave about 550,000 customers out of a roughly 5.5 million potentialusers nationwide, giving it a 10% market share, Moore said. Totalvolume moved in a national program is expected to be about 200MMcf/d. With electric deregulation, Sears could become involved inselling power, too, Moore said.

“Teaming up with Sears provides TransCanada with a retailchannel to supply natural gas to residents throughout Ottawa in amore cost-effective manner than we can achieve on our own,” saidFrank Kelton, TransCanada Energy vice president for Canadianmarketing.

TransCanada will manage the supply, transportation capacity,storage and risk management for Sears’ gas customer contracts.”With Sears ability to meet the home service needs of our customersand our guarantee, together with TransCanada’s asset managementexpertise, this innovative partnership launches another avenue forus to offer our customer more service and convenience,” said Moore.

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