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Atlanta Gas Light woos Covington
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 At the request of the Atlanta Gas Light Company, the Covington City Council agreed on Monday to release information on the city's gas system to the company for a potential purchase offer.

At its Monday night city council meeting, Mayor Kim Carter said the step was just to see if a "dialogue" between the two bodies could take place regarding the possible sale of the city's gas system.

City Manager Steve Horton said Atlanta Gas Light has made it known that they are interested in expanding their operation and have contacted other cities in the area with requests for information on their gas systems.

"Their whole thing was they wanted to see if there was any interest in selling the gas system, of which we didn't say whether we had any interest or not," Horton said.

The city of Covington currently provides natural gas to approximately 8,500 residential, commercial and industrial customers. Less than half of the city's customers are located inside city limits. The city's coverage area covers approximately two thirds of Newton County as well as a portion of Walton County, south of Walnut Grove

Atlanta Gas Light is seeking information on the breakdown of the city's gas customers, by class, for the last three years. The company is also requesting an overview of gas costs, historical capital expenditures for gas operations, a list of gas system employees and their salaries and the average annual bill for gas services among other things.

Horton said he did not know what the city's gas system was worth.

"We've never had a cause or reason to go and evaluate it to see," Horton said.

When the city council decided to sell Covington Cable two years ago, a private firm was hired to perform a financial assessment on the cable system before the council solicited purchase offers.

Unlike the decision to sell Covington Cable, which was predicted by rising capital technology costs, Horton said the technology for operating the gas system has remained relatively stable throughout the years.

"[The gas system's] not something where I see competition fixing to gobble us up," Horton said, adding that he did not know the council's view on selling the gas system.