Fw: More gas stories

H. C. Covington (ach1@sprynet.com)
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 11:49:57 -0600


H. C. Sonny Covington  at  I CAN America
Community Based Resource Consultants
125 S. Buchanan Street - Lafayette, LA  70501
(318) 235-7005  Fax 318-235-7602
hccovington@usa.net



Amway finds gas a natural
CNNfn



                                Companies to Watch


                                    Amway Corp.

                                   Columbia Energy Group

                                   Bell









 NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Hoping to tap a potentially gargantuan market for
deregulated energy, [ Amway Corp. ] , a direct marketer of products from
detergents to dietary supplements, is teaming up with a subsidiary of
 Columbia Energy Group ] to shop natural gas to more than a million
residential customers.

The companies plan to launch their joint effort in Georgia, one of several
states spearheading a nationwide deregulation drive under which customers
are permitted to choose the company that supplies their natural gas or
electricity.

The alliance said it will compete with 18 other marketers for 1.4 million
natural gas customers in Georgia. Over time, the companies said, they
intend to expand the program, state by state, as energy deregulation gains
speed. They eventually hope to add electricity to what the partners
envision will be a coast-to-coast sales portfolio.

In most states, sales of natural gas and electricity still are the purview
of state-run public commissions. But that arrangement is slowly changing,
analysts say, as deregulated competition takes hold across the industry.

The trend mirrors a similar one in telecommunications in the 1980s, when
AT&T's virtual stranglehold on telephone calling was abruptly undone with
the court-mandated splintering of Ma [ Bell ] into several regional "Baby
bells".

The companies announced their sales partnership after the Georgia Public
Service Commission recently certified Columbia Energy, of Herndon, Va., to
sell natural gas at decontrolled prices to residential and small business
customers.

Energy deregulation, many experts say, ultimately is a boon to consumers,
who ideally would suddenly be given a range of energy providers from which
to choose. The hope for consumer advocates is that growing competition will
result in lower prices and better access for energy buyers.

Columbia Energy is one of the nation's leading energy providers, with
assets of more than $6 billion in operations spanning all phases of natural
gas production.

The company directly or indirectly provides energy to more than 7 million
natural gas customers in 15 states and the District of Columbia. That
represents 12 percent of the nation's total sales of natural gas.

Closely-held Amway, based in Ada, Mich., boasts a network of more than 3
million salespeople in North America who market about 450 consumer products
categories ranging from nutrition to home living. The company sells
thousands of other brand-name products through its catalogs.

Shares of Columbia Energy (CG) closed down 1-3/16 at 58-11/16 Monday on the
New York Stock Exchange.


Publication Date: November 10, 1998



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