PORT HURON, Mich., May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michigan Department of
Commerce has approved SEMCO ENERGY, INC. (Nasdaq: SGMS) as the new name for
the former Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, Inc., the parent of three
natural gas distribution companies and a natural gas marketing company.
Shareholders had approved the new corporate identity at the Company's annual
meeting in April.
"Why did we want to change our name? Competition. The retail natural gas
and electric market is a $270 billion industry. Competition for industrial
customers in our marketplace has been ongoing for a number of years after that
segment was deregulated. Now, deregulation is opening the residential and
commercial portions of the market for competition. Our companies have always
been one family, but we needed one name to 'brand' our products and services
for our customers," William L. Johnson, SEMCO ENERGY President & Chief
Executive Officer, said.
Johnson added: "As effects of deregulation provide more choices
of energy suppliers for consumers, a couple of things are clear: 1) the actual
sale of energy won't produce large profit margins, and, 2) additional revenues
from new sources must be pursued (home banking, security monitoring, utility
billing and meter reading, etc). We must develop 'brand' recognition and
communicate to our customers who we are, what we stand for, and what we sell."
SEMCO ENERGY's three local natural gas distribution utilities (Southeastern
Michigan Gas, Battle Creek Gas, and Michigan Gas Companies) are now unified
under one name: SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY. The unregulated natural gas
marketing company (formerly SEMCO Energy Services, Inc.) becomes SEMCO ENERGY
SERVICES. A company for future unregulated energy endeavors will be SEMCO
Information in customer bills, newspaper ads, and billboards will begin
telling SEMCO ENERGY's new name story June 1.
SEMCO ENERGY has some 235,000 customers in 24 counties in Michigan's Upper
and Lower Peninsulas. SEMCO ENERGY was established (then as Southeastern
Michigan Gas Company) in February of 1951 by the late Cecil A. Runyan.
Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, Inc. was formed in 1977 as a holding
company with Southeastern Michigan Gas Company as a subsidiary. Enterprises
acquired Battle Creek Gas Company in 1985 and Michigan Gas Company in 1987,
The Company's stock symbol, SMGS, will remain the same on the Nasdaq Exchange.
SOURCE SEMCO ENERGY, INC.
CONTACT: Francis Lieder of SEMCO ENERGY, 810-987-2200, Ext. 4186, or Fax, 810-989-4098