The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, March 5, 1999
Gas deregulation problems

Coweta Editor

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A glitch in computer equipment will cause at least 4,500 natural gas customers in Fayette and Coweta counties to pay higher gas rates for another month.

Coweta-Fayette EMC president Michael Whiteside said this week that his company had requested a switch of 4,500 customers from Atlanta Gas-Light to Peachtree Natural Gas on Feb.20. EMC officials thought the switch request was done in plenty of time for the switch to occur before the March bills were processed.

However, Utilipro, who handles the data switching for Peachtree Natural Gas submitted a corrupted file to Atlanta Gas Light, which could not read the data. Atlanta Gas Light held Peachtree Natural Gas to the "letter of the law," Whiteside said, and would not allow the switch to be made since it was right at the company's monthly deadline for making switches.

Since the gas deregulation started in November, Whiteside said the company has had a few switching problems, but nothing like this.

"We've gotten a lot of publicity from Fayette County municipalities choosing Peachtree Natural Gas as their provider and were just flooded with requests last month," he said.

When customers receive their first bill from Peachtree Natural Gas, they may notice a section on the bill for pipeline charges. Whiteside explained that all gas companies pay Atlanta Gas Light a charge for the company delivering gas through an Atlanta Gas light pipeline. The charge is passed along to customers and the fee is charged up front to deliver the gas, Whiteside said.

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