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Industry News

UK's Centrica Eyes Texas Electricity Customers

LCG, Sept. 12, 2001--Centrica plc of the United Kingdom yesterday filed an application for retail electric provider status with the Public Utility Commission of Texas in Austin.

Centrica has asked the PUCT for authority to market electric services to residential and small commercial customers in all deregulated areas of Texas, including the service territories of Reliant Energy Inc.'s Houston Lighting & Power Co., TXU Electric Co., Central Power & Light Co., West Texas Utilities Co. and Texas-New Mexico Power Co.

The company plans on using a couple of American-sounding aliases to sell the juice. It will call itself Republic Power and Energy America in Texas.

The British company even found a native Texan to run its show in the Lone Star State. Don B. Whaley has been named president of Centrica's Texas subsidiary. He has more than 20 years' experience in the Texas energy sector, having worked for El Paso Energy Corp., TXU Energy Corp. and Enron Corp. He said he would send his salesmen to where the people are.

"Our primary focus will be on the key metropolitan areas of Texas that will be open to competition, specifically Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi and other communities throughout the state. We're making a strong commitment to Texas and Texans," Whaley said.

Last year, Centrica moved into North America by acquiring Direct Energy, a Canadian retailer that is the largest unregulated retail energy provider in North America. Now it's moving into Texas.

"Having grown up in Corpus Christi, I am excited about leading Centrica's efforts in my home state and to have the opportunity to serve consumers in this new deregulated market," Whaley said. "We look forward to giving customers a clear choice that will benefit them in choosing a new electric provider."

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