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FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION REVERSES DECISION ON MANDATORY BYPASS FOR GAS COMPANY'S LARGEST CUSTOMER

 FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION REVERSES DECISION
 ON MANDATORY BYPASS FOR GAS COMPANY'S LARGEST CUSTOMER
 ATLANTA, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today ordered Southern Natural Gas Company to involuntarily bypass Atlanta Gas Light Company (NYSE: ATG) and provide direct transportation service to the Augusta, Ga., plant of Arcadian Corporation, a Tennessee-based fertilizer manufacturer, reversing its earlier decision.
 The impact of removing Atlanta Gas Light Company's largest industrial customer from its revenue base is approximately $4 million, which equates to 1 percent of the utility's base revenue. That impact was emphasized in the opposition to Arcadian's request, since the fixed costs recovered from Arcadian will now have to be divided among the remaining customers of the utility. For example, in her opposition to the request, Nancy Gibson, Georgia Consumers' Utility Counsel, stated, "The loss of Arcadian will have serious ramifications on service to residential and small commercial consumers."
 The order, which was opposed by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Southern Natural Gas Company, the Georgia Consumers' Utility Counsel, and Atlanta Gas Light Company, is viewed as an infringement by the federal government upon state utility regulation.
 In recent years, the PSC has approved filings by Atlanta Gas Light Company which have significantly reduced the rates to the Augusta fertilizer facility. Arcadian currently benefits from the lowest rates on Atlanta Gas Light Company's system.
 This decision by FERC could initiate a nationwide trend in which large industrial customers bypass their local gas distributors and interconnect with interstate pipeline companies. Those actions could have a serious impact upon the rates of the remaining utility customers.
 "We are extremely disappointed with today's decision," said Charles W. Bass, senior vice president-governmental and regulatory affairs for Atlanta Gas Light Company. "We believe that state regulatory controls should continue and that bypass should not be mandated at the federal level.
 "We intend to seek rehearing from FERC and, if that is unsuccessful, will appeal the decision to the courts," said Bass.
 -0- 10/28/92
 /CONTACT: Verlene P. Cobb of Atlanta Gas Light Company, 404-584-3830/
 (ATG) CO: Atlanta Gas Light Company; Federal Energy Regulatory Commission;
 Southern Natural Gas Company; Arcadian Corporation ST: Georgia IN: UTI SU: EXE


EA-BR -- AT020 -- 6331 10/28/92 18:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 28, 1992
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