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Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, Inc. Changes Name to SEMCO ENERGY, INC.

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 ENERGY VENTURES.

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

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding SEMCO Energy's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.

 
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