The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) announced thatTitan Energy, which was purchased by AES Power Direct, LLC for $6million in cash at the end of July, will be returning an estimated$281,000 in uncashed deposit checks to approximately 6,300 of itsPennsylvania customers in the Columbia Gas and Peoples Natural Gasservice territories (see Daily GPI, July,26).

“Titan Energy customers who had sent in checks to remain on afixed rate natural gas contract, in response to a June, 2000 letterfrom Titan will receive their checks back and will remain on theirexisting fixed rate contract with Titan,” said Consumer AdvocateSonny Popowsky.

After Titan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection duringthe Fourth of July weekend, the OCA went down to Georgia to enterthe case on behalf of Pennsylvania consumers.

“Our concern at that time was that we knew the original TitanEnergy had collected these deposit checks and we wanted to makesure that those checks did not get lost in the bankruptcyproceeding,” said Popowsky. “We were afraid that customers wouldlose their contracts and lose their checks. We intervened in theGeorgia bankruptcy case to ensure Pennsylvania consumers were notforgotten.”

In the bankruptcy order, the OCA entered an agreement with AESPower allowing the 6,300 customers who had sent checks to securetheir fixed rate contract, to receive their deposit checks back andstay on that contract. In addition, the new Titan is issuinganother letter to its remaining 40,000 customers in the Columbiaand Peoples Gas service territories giving them the option to stayon the fixed contract if they choose to do so.

“These letters will give customers three options,” saidPopowsky. “Customers can choose to remain on the fixed ratecontract; they can switch to a monthly variable rate; or they canchoose another supplier, including their regulated natural gasdistribution company. There is no charge or deposit requirement forany of these options, but it is important for all customers to letTitan know which option they are choosing by October 27.”

Customers that fail to respond will be put on the monthlyvariable rate program by default. Customers with questions canreach Titan at 888-427-4872, or the OCA at 800-684-6560.

The consumer advocate said the new Titan Energy has been verycooperative. “I think that it is a very positive development thatAES has taken over an agreed to continue to serve these customers,and also agreed to return the checks,” he said. Some customersbegan receiving their deposit checks back yesterday, he added.

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