PORT HURON, Mich., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY today
announced it plans to continue its "Customer Choice" rate freeze program
through the final year of the three-year program approved by the Michigan
Public Service Commission (MPSC) in September 1998.
SEMCO ENERGY's 262,000 customers in Michigan will continue to enjoy a
relatively low price of $3.24 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for natural gas
until the rate freeze program ends March 31, 2002, Gas Company President and
Chief Executive Officer Jon A. Kosht said.
Although natural gas users across the nation have seen very large
increases in the price of natural gas, SEMCO ENERGY customers have been
protected by the price freeze.
"Absent SEMCO ENERGY's 'Customer Choice' rate freeze program, the current
monthly cost of natural gas in the market place, plus the cost to deliver it
to Michigan, is over two times our price," he said.
SEMCO ENERGY, in response to the recent volatility and unprecedented
increases in natural gas prices, recently reviewed the possibility of
restructuring the "Customer Choice" rate freeze program, but could not achieve
a price favorable to customers.
"SEMCO ENERGY is committed to maintaining natural gas as a cost-effective
fuel for space heating and other uses," Kosht said.
SEMCO ENERGY is able to maintain its price freeze despite dramatic
increases in the cost of natural gas because of a long-term supply and asset
management contract negotiated in 1998 with TransCanada Gas Services, based in
Under the current program, SEMCO ENERGY is projected to save its customers
approximately $112 million on their gas bills in 2001, according to a study
done in late December 2000 by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The
MPSC regulates the state's public utilities.
"We would have sought authority from the MPSC to restructure our current
program only if it would have benefited our customers in the long term," Kosht
said. "SEMCO ENERGY has always been willing and able to continue the existing
program unless a restructured program yielded benefits for our customers.
That is what we plan to do."
SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY, a division of SEMCO ENERGY, Inc. (NYSE: SEN),
distributes natural gas to more than 260,000 residential, commercial and
industrial customers in Michigan. The Alaska division, ENSTAR Natural Gas
Company, distributes natural gas to more than 100,000 customers in Anchorage
and surrounding areas. The Company also owns and operates businesses involved
in natural gas engineering and quality assurance services, pipeline
construction services, propane distribution, intrastate pipeline and natural
gas storage in various regions of the United States. In addition, it provides
information technology and outsourcing services, specializing in the mid-range
SOURCE SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY
Web site: http: //www.semcoenergy.com
CONTACT: Francis R. Lieder, Jr. of SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY, 810-987-2200, ext. 4186, or fax, 810-989-4098