Michigan Attorney General Granholm Announces Agreement With Columbia Energy Corporation to Terminate Marketing Campaign.
Columbia Energy is competing with other companies to be a new supplier of natural gas to 100,000 customers of Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. Under a new program approved by the Public Service Commission, the Michigan natural gas market is being partially opened to allow competition among gas suppliers. A limited number of Michigan Consolidated and Consumers Energy customers can sign contacts with new gas suppliers, including Columbia Energy.
Granholm objected to the language used in a marketing solicitation that was mailed to customers by Columbia Energy. The mailing stated: "Save this winter, when your gas cost is usually highest. Lock in your low price now, when your gas usage is peaking."
In fact, the fine print on the back of the solicitation indicates that savings cannot possibly begin until April 1, 1999, after this year's heating season.
After being notified of the Attorney General's objection, Columbia agreed to terminate the solicitation immediately and to provide an opportunity for the customers who already signed up to disenroll from the program.
Granholm said: "I will not tolerate advertisements that mislead Michigan's consumers. While this solicitation never should have been sent in the first place, I commend Columbia Energy for its quick response and its promise to pull the advertisement and allow customers who may have been misled to opt out of the program."