GA - System Glitch Hampers Promotion by Natural-Gas Marketer : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Date: 06/06 10:07 EST

System Glitch Hampers Promotion by Natural-Gas Marketer in Georgia

(The Atlanta Journal and Constitution/KRTBN)--Confusion over a frequent flier mile promotion is the latest in a list of glitches that has characterized Georgia's landmark natural gas deregulation.

SCANA Energy, the No. 2 natural gas marketer, announced plans a year ago to award one Delta Air Lines SkyMile for each dollar spent on monthly gas bills. The program began in October, and about 72,000 of SCANA's 432,000 customers have enrolled.

However, Roger Schrum, a spokesman for the South Carolina-based company, said credits are overdue for 20 million miles earned by SCANA customers during the first three months of this year. He blamed a "system glitch" for the fact that the records for this year weren't sent to Delta until last month.

Those miles should show up on the next Delta statements, he said. Then, starting in July, SCANA will begin posting mileage credits monthly, instead of quarterly. SCANA also will start transmitting billing information to Delta electronically instead of by sending over computer disks to speed the award of credits.

SCANA is fine-tuning the program in other ways.

The company has asked Delta to identify awards with the notation

SCANA Energy or SCANA. When the first credits were posted in January, many customers may have missed the significance of the notation 'SE' with the mileage credits on their Delta statements, Schrum said.

Schrum also said "less than 1,000" customers did not receive credits because the names or SkyMile account numbers on record at SCANA did not match those on file with Delta. The company is working to fix the problem.

Despite the problems, SCANA continues to enroll customers in the program. "Delta has been a good partner. We're continuing to work with them," Schrum said. Delta did not return calls asking for comment.

Schrum said SCANA has received calls from customers confused by the program; the Public Service Commission said it had received about a half-dozen calls.

That's a tiny fraction of the 6,500 calls and inquiries from customers of all marketers since the start of natural gas deregulation in November 1998. Of those, about 75 percent have been about billing problems and those calls continue to come in.

By Matthew C. Quinn


-- (, June 07, 2000

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