PORT HURON, Mich., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Southeastern Michigan Gas
Enterprises, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: SMGS) ("SEMGE") President and Chief Executive
Officer, Bill Johnson, today announced "Option Plus." The program is the
first of its kind in Michigan and will allow a limited number of natural gas
customers, including residential users, to purchase gas supplies from sources
other than their local distribution company. The program will be offered
beginning April 1, 1997, to customers of SEMGE subsidiary Battle Creek Gas
More than a decade of natural gas industry deregulation has transformed
conditions for once-sheltered producers, pipeline companies and local
distribution companies, ushering in greater competition and expanded choice
for customers. Choice is a product of "unbundling" the gas purchasing,
transmission, storage, distribution, meter reading, billing and other services
associated with natural gas use and offering them to customers based on their
needs and wants.
Industrial and large commercial natural gas users with the expertise and
resources to purchase directly from producers or marketers have enjoyed
increased flexibility since the late 1980s. Programs like Option Plus now
make it possible for smaller customers to exercise similar options, choosing
from among alternative suppliers and services.
"The Battle Creek Option Plus program will be offered to up to 1,000
residential and small commercial and industrial customers," said Jon Kosht,
Vice President of Rates and Regulatory Affairs, SEMGE. "We're offering this
program because continuously enhancing our product and service offerings in
response to the changing needs of the marketplace is critical. It's also
consistent with our strategic direction to unearth every conceivable business
opportunity among energy consumers."
Of course, Battle Creek Gas Company will continue to offer its traditional
"bundled" gas sales service. Currently, the cost that local gas distribution
companies incur for natural gas is simply passed through to consumers -- there
is no markup.
Mr. Johnson also said that, as part of a rate case filing later this year,
a second pilot program will be proposed for MPSC approval for implementation
in 1998 and will be offered to customers of SEMGE subsidiaries Michigan Gas
Company and Southeastern Michigan Gas Company.
Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, Inc. owns Battle Creek Gas Company,
which serves 34,000 customers in 13 cities and towns including Battle Creek;
Michigan Gas Company, which serves 98,000 customers in 6 counties in
southwestern and western Michigan and 7 counties in the Upper Peninsula; and
Southeastern Michigan Gas Company, which serves 96,000 customers in eastern
and central Michigan.
SOURCE Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, Inc.
CONTACT: Jon A. Kosht, Vice President, Gas Supply, Rates ''&'' Regulatory Affairs, of Southeastern Michigan Gas Enterprises, 810-989-4107