A natural gas utility with a presence in three states has acquired Mobile Gas.
Starting this week, Mobile Gas customers will begin to notice changes resulting from the August acquisition by Spire, company spokeswoman Michelle Niewald wrote in an email.
“Starting today, customers will see Spire employees in orange and gray uniforms with Spire logos on their vehicles,” she wrote. “They will also see a new bill starting this week — be on the lookout because it comes in an orange envelope. Look for our new trucks and hard hats in your neighborhood.”
With offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri, Spire serves more than 1.7 million customers, Niewald wrote. The larger customer base should result in savings from efficiencies and economies of scale.
“As a growing company, we can manage costs more efficiently to keep customer bills as low as possible,” she wrote. “We’ve always promised that growing our company would benefit those we serve. We know we’re delivering on that promise because our operating costs are going down while our customer satisfaction scores keep going up.”
Spire now serves 89,000 customers in the Mobile area.
“We have a strong presence in every community we serve — from Mobile to Birmingham and beyond,” Niewald wrote.
The Alabama Public Service Commission did not vote on Spire’s acquisition of Mobile Gas, but will maintain regulatory authority over the utility.
In an email, Spire spokeswoman Jenny Gobble wrote the PSC did not vote to approve the name change because it was an acquisition of a holding company and not the direct utility. Gobble added that the PSC will have oversight over the utility.
The commission, which is given its regulatory authority by state law, oversees investor-owned utilities. However, municipal gas distribution companies and gas districts are exempt from the commission’s regulatory authority.
The commission also expects greater efficiencies to lead to possible savings for customers.
Niewald wrote that Spire will allow former Mobile Gas customers to pay bills at more locations than ever before. For the next week, customers can also pay their bills through the Mobile Gas website, or by calling Spire.
“Starting Oct. 2, customers in Mobile will gain a new customer portal with options like reviewing gas usage, 24/7 appointment scheduling, text alerts and pay by text,” she wrote.
This story was updated at 12:32 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 to correct information related to the state’s oversight of Spire.