PORT HURON, Mich., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Growing competition in
Michigan's energy marketplace presents both opportunities and questions.
SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY urges consumers to review all factors used to project
savings when selecting their natural gas supplier.
SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY, which was the first in Michigan to offer
supplier choice to residential customers with a pilot program in Battle Creek,
now has opened the Aggregated Transportation Service (ATS) program to its
customers statewide. Enrollment, available to 7,000 customers in 1999, is on
a first-come first-served basis.
"SEMCO ENERGY supports choice for consumers. However, some of the figures
consumers are being quoted in regards to savings may be misleading," said
Marketing Director Timothy J. Lubbers.
Some marketers are quoting projected savings based on consumers using 150
thousand cubic feet (Mcf) annually of natural gas, Lubbers said. SEMCO ENERGY
residential customers use an average of 119 Mcf annually, he said.
"This means consumers should use the consumption data on their actual bill
to verify savings claims," Lubbers said. "We encourage competition and want
consumers to be aware of all the factors before making a choice they will have
to live with for 12 months or longer."
Customers selecting a gas supplier other than SEMCO ENERGY are required to
stay with that supplier for a minimum of 12 months.
Consumers also are encouraged to ask detailed questions about Gas Cost,
Balancing Charges, Monthly Minimums, Minimum Contract Terms and Exit Fees as
well as contract renewal terms when considering offers from gas marketers.
For example, SEMCO ENERGY will reduce its gas cost to all customers by
almost 10 percent beginning in April with a guarantee not to raise that rate
for three years, exclusive of government actions beyond Company control. The
gas price, guaranteed not to exceed $3.24 includes a 25 cents balancing charge
paid by all customers, regardless of their gas supplier.
The SEMCO ENERGY ATS program allows an additional 7,000 customers in
regulated territories to enroll each year of the three-year program to a
maximum of 21,000 in 2002.
In Battle Creek, where the program was piloted as Option Plus, enrollment
is open to an additional 1,000 residential customers each year to a total of
4,000 in the final year of the program.
SEMCO ENERGY will continue to handle natural gas delivery and service work
for customers opting for a third-party supplier.
The GAS COMPANY can provide a list of approved suppliers but cannot
recommend one marketer over another.
SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY is local natural gas distribution company with
about 240,000 customers in Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas. It is a
subsidiary of SEMCO ENERGY, Inc. (Nasdaq: SMGS), which also owns SEMCO ENERGY
SERVICES, an unregulated natural gas marketing division; and SEMCO ENERGY
VENTURES, which acquires and operates companies involved in natural gas
pipeline and distribution system engineering and construction as well as
SOURCE SEMCO ENERGY, Inc.
CONTACT: Francis Lieder of SEMCO, 810-987-2200, ext. 4186, or fax, 810-989-4098