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Georgia To Open Gas Markets

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1997

The opening of the Georgia General Assembly on Jan. 13 prompted the Georgia Public Service Commission to push for competition in the state's natural gas industry. Following a December report by the Georgia House and Senate Gas Study Committees, legislation is expected this session to open up the gas market.

That report, in effect, rejected a proposal by Atlanta Gas Light Co. to enact competition. Now AGL has a new proposal, which would transform it into a "pipes" company that no longer would sell gas to end users. Instead, AGL would sell pipeline capacity to qualifying marketers who in turn would sell gas to end users. The marketers would acquire pipeline capacity from AGL based on their ability to secure market share. AGL would continue to operate its affiliated marketer, The Energy Spring, Inc.

The PSC says that while it favors of competition, it finds AGL's "rush" to full deregulation by July 1, 1997, without demonstrating clear consumer benefits, to be unreasonable, and that it may create an unregulated monopoly. (em LB t

Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor, and Joseph F. Schuler, Jr. an associate editor, of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTY.

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