PORT HURON, Mich., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Seizing opportunity to provide
for the needs of smaller utilities and municipal water companies, SEMCO ENERGY
SERVICES, INC. (Nasdaq: SMGS) has entered into an agreement with Jackson,
Michigan-based HARRIS-MCBURNEY SERVICES, INC. to jointly market meter reading
systems and various utility support services, including automatic meter
reading (AMR) products and services.
Under the agreement, SEMCO ENERGY SERVICES and HARRIS-MCBURNEY will sell,
install and operate meter reading systems and provide project management
services. Prospective customers include smaller gas and electric utilities
and municipal water companies. The firms initially will be focusing their
efforts in the midwest but could expand as national opportunities present
The alliance complements other agreements SEMCO has entered into with
Itron, Inc. (Nasdaq: ITRI), a Spokane, Washington-based manufacturer of AMR
products and services. Automatic meter reading employs low-frequency radio
waves to transmit consumption data directly from meters to a fixed or mobile
point for processing and subsequent billing.
"Call it revolution or evolution, the message is clear: it's absolutely
critical to know your customer -- in this case, municipal water utilities and
small electric and gas companies -- and deliver products and services that
completely meet their needs," said Steve Malkiewicz, Senior Vice-President,
SEMCO ENERGY SERVICES. "With this alliance we can provide the equipment
install it and manage the process at a lower cost than our customers now pay."
SEMCO ENERGY SERVICES is a unit of SEMCO ENERGY, INC. and is a diversified
company with investments and operations in many segments of the natural gas
industry. Its nationwide customers include industrial, commercial and
municipal natural gas users, distribution companies and other marketers. The
company's gas marketing activities accounted for 130 Bcf in 1996 and includes
industrial, commercial and municipal customers in several states, SEMCO
ENERGY'S affiliate, SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY is in the process of installing
AMR across its 235,000-customer service area.
HARRIS-MCBURNEY, a performance contractor serving the utility industry
since 1935, provides a wide variety of engineering field and installation
services to gas, electric, water and telecommunications companies. In
addition to its Novi and Jackson, Michigan headquarters, the firm has offices
and operations in Tampa and Nokomis, Florida; Charlotte and Raleigh, North
Carolina; Rochester, New York; and Roanoke, Virginia.
"This alliance is part of our strategic plan to expand the scope of the
deregulated, energy services part of our business, thus creating alternative
sources of revenue. As profit margins become leaner on the industry's core
products, looking for returns well beyond those achieved in the regulated
delivery business makes these alliances a critical strategic activity, " said
William L. Johnson, SEMCO ENERGY President and Chief Executive Officer.
SOURCE SEMCO ENERGY SERVICES, INC.
CONTACT: Steve Malkiewicz of Semco Energy Services, 810-987-2200, or fax, 810-987-4507