Case Study: IGS Energy
Deregulation Drew IGS Energy to Central Ohio, Quality Workforce Convinced Them to Stay
Marvin White, a retired CEO of Columbia Distribution Companies, founded Interstate Gas Supply, Inc. (IGS Energy) in 1989 with his son, Scott, and daughter, Cathy, in Dublin, Ohio. Deregulation of the natural gas market in the 1980s and 1990s opened the doors for IGS Energy to not only buy natural gas from producers but also to sell natural gas directly to the end-user.
“When IGS Energy was founded, natural gas deregulation was just beginning,” said Scott White, President. “Ohio was at the forefront of deregulation in 1989 and continues to be one of the leaders in changing the way natural gas is bought and sold. It made sense to start IGS Energy here in Columbus.”
With its revenue and number of customers served, IGS Energy is the largest mass-market natural gas retailer in Ohio. A commodity provider, IGS sells natural gas and electricity to nearly one million residential, small business, and commercial and industrial customers in eleven states. The 2010 acquisition of Accent, a Dublin-based electric supplier, was the springboard for IGS Energy’s integration of electricity into its product offerings, currently serving customers in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“We had invested heavily in systems and processes as a natural gas commodity provider that are transferable to the retail power market,” White said. “The expansion into the electricity platform meant IGS Energy was able to add a new product and additional value proposition to the customer. We saw it as a good fit for the company, and we were able to execute this expansion in markets we already served as a natural gas provider.”
IGS Energy has grown to be one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the United States. Committed to energy efficiency and innovation, IGS Energy has called the Columbus Region home for more than two decades.
“Ohio policy is favorable for deregulation, which has enabled us to be part of a vibrant marketplace for the past 22 years,” White said. “Central Ohio has a reliable and consistent workforce. The healthy perspective and practical work sensibility in the Midwest makes it easier to recruit the best in our industry to Columbus and to IGS Energy.”
White says that IGS Energy often finds top talent at universities within the state. They recruit heavily in Ohio, especially among recent graduates and alumni from The Ohio State University, Ohio University and Bowling Green State University. With numerous resources to draw upon, IGS Energy also benefits from the depth of financial institutions, analysts and organizations in Columbus. With ninety percent of its employees located in Central Ohio, IGS Energy recently relocated to a new headquarters facility in Dublin, Ohio, which was awarded LEED® Platinum certification, the highest of the four LEED certification ratings. This new building reflects the commitment IGS Energy has to responsible energy consumption and its future plans for company growth.
Building upon the experience gained by its expansion into Illinois and Pennsylvania in 2011, IGS Energy has most recently launched power sales activities here in Ohio and has future plans to continue to integrate electricity into its platform so it can sell both natural gas and electricity in all of its current markets. IGS Energy is also exploring opportunities to further expand into other innovative energy uses and technology applications for its customers.
“We want to go beyond being a commodity provider,” White said. “IGS Energy is currently exploring the potential to use natural gas as a transportation fuel. We see this as a potential opportunity, and there is hope in the fact that the industry thinks it is going to develop vast amounts of resources here in Ohio.”
IGS Energy has recently partnered with the City of Dublin to build a natural gas fueling station to use for their fleet and for public use on a limited basis. This partnership allows IGS Energy to test this type of expansion, as well as to investigate whether other local companies or organizations would be interested in transitioning from petroleum-based fuels to natural gas.
“There is a lot of optimism in the natural gas industry and it’s exciting to be part of it,” White said. “I think the future of Columbus is bright. Ohio has great potential for an economic resurgence soon and Columbus will directly benefit from this.”