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Liberty Utilities is officially new natural gas provider

POSTED: April 3, 2013 12:37 a.m.

Liberty Utilities has already created 14 new jobs in Gainesville as a result of buying Atmos Energy’s natural gas distribution in Georgia, which includes offices in Gainesville, and more jobs could come.

The company became the new natural gas provider for about 9,000 customers in the Gainesville area on Monday.

Joel Ames, senior manager of customer care for Liberty in Georgia, said the company plans to provide more personal local customer service while enhancing customer service features on its automated system and website.

“I like the fact that it (the company) has a local and responsive management,” Ames said.

The $141 million purchase of Atmos’ business in Georgia also gave Liberty about 60,000 customers statewide and offices in Gainesville and Columbus. Liberty Utilities is a water, natural gas and electric utility, operating in several states, including Arizona, California, Iowa, Missouri and Texas.

There’s already been a move toward making more face-to-face contact with customers, Ames said. Atmos didn’t allow customers to pay at its offices, but Liberty allows people to make credit card payments at its office in Gainesville. The office used to have a phone where people could set up new accounts, but Liberty employees now handle those transactions personally. The office will take cash payments in about a year, Ames said.

“They’ll be able to come and chat with us like they did 20 years ago,” he said.

Liberty Utilities will offer more customer service options in the future. Some examples are being able to review the last five gas payments on its phone service and energy conservation tips on its website.

The company will give the same good service customers have come to expect from Atmos, said Tim Evans, vice president of economic development of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

“Atmos in the past, and we expect Liberty Utilities, will continue to be an important economic partner with us and what we do with existing businesses and new business recruitments,” Evans said.

Customers will notice a new Liberty Utilities logo on their natural gas bills and company vehicles. The sale was originally announced last August and got regulatory approval last month.


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