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PEOPLES GAS TERMINATES CONTRACT WITH METER READING FIRM

PITTSBURGH, March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Peoples Natural Gas Company announced it has terminated its agreement with Bermex, Inc. effective immediately. Bermex had been contracted to provide meter reading for Peoples' 313,000 residential customers in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The announcement was made following meetings between Peoples Gas President Roger Wright and senior executives from Bermex. In those meetings, it was revealed that required background checks for six of Bermex's employees working under Peoples' contract were not conducted.

This information contradicted earlier statements made to Peoples by Bermex that all background and criminal record checks had been made.

Today's meeting was scheduled following an incident in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, where a Peoples Gas customer was allegedly raped by a Bermex employee on March 19.

Peoples Gas has ordered Bermex to cease all meter reading activities. Peoples has also ordered the return of all company ID issued to Bermex employees.

Wright said Peoples Gas is taking this action to safeguard the well-being of all of its customers. "We want our customers to be re-assured that we will do everything in our power to restore the trust that we have enjoyed with the public over the years."

Customers are urged to contact Peoples Gas if they have any questions about meter reading, gas service or individuals providing that service on the Company's toll free line 1-800-PNG-0111.

Peoples Gas -- the Pennsylvania distribution utility of Consolidated Natural Gas Company (NYSE: CNG) -- provides natural gas service to over 343,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in 16 counties throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
 -0- 3/21/96


/CONTACT: Elmore Lockley, Media Relations Manager of Peoples Natural Gas, 412-392-2467/

(CNG)

CO: Peoples Natural Gas Company; Bermex, Inc.' Consolidated Natural Gas

Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

JS-CD -- PGTH011 -- 3153 03/21/96 17:14 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 21, 1996
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