Attempting to reach energy consumers on both coasts, SouthernCalifornia Gas Co. said Thursday it hopes to offer its Internetmarketplace to customers in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois,Pennsylvania, and Georgia in the very near future. The expansionwas announced as part of the formal launching of power trading onthe company’s energy market web site,

“It is our hope that in other markets in the East, they willwant to promote customer choice as well. We want to offer thiseffective vehicle to do that in those areas.” Said Eric Baty, aSempra spokesman. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra. Until thisannouncement, the web service was only applicable to Californiacustomers. “What we’ve done is work closely with the utilitieswhere the markets for energy are most active to promote ourproduct.”

Denise King, another Sempra spokesperson, said the company alsostands to grow financially through fees charged to suppliers ifdeals are made through this web site. The end-user is not chargedat all, King said. Although provides valuableinformation about energy service, transactions must be carried outoffline.

The web site works as a facilitator between energy consumers andsuppliers. Commercial and industrial customers supply informationregarding their needs on the site, then that information is takenby participating suppliers, who then customize their bids to fitwhat the customer wants. Residential customers can receivecomparisons of both electric and gas offers, while getting updatedinformation about the companies. Right now, the web site can beaccessed by any California citizen. opened in November 1997. “Judging fromfeedback from customers and suppliers, we’ve had success with thegas side on this web site, and now we want to try our hand at theelectric market.” King said.

John Norris

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