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Group 8760 and Energy Services Group partner to offer GISB-certified E-Commerce solution to Pennsylvania Energy Companies

March 16, 2000 • Birmingham, Alabama

Group 8760, LLC, announced today that it has partnered with Energy Services Group (ESG) to provide an Internet based e-commerce portal directed for Pennsylvania energy companies transactions and nominations between local distribution companies and energy service providers. As part of the partnership, ESG will be incorporating Group 8760's Gas Industry Standard Board (GISB) - certified systems into its data processing and application service provider (ASP) operations. "We are very excited to announce this partnership and be able to offer this service to Customer Choice participants," said Nate Owen, ESG's President. "We expect it to make the transition from Value Added Networks to GISB much smoother and much less expensive. We have priced this service at a fraction of the cost associated with Value Added Networks or internal development."

In October 1999 the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PPUC) mandated that all energy companies participating in the Customer Choice program be able to transmit customer data according to the GISB standard by June 30, 2000. The mandate was issued with the purpose of determining a cost effective manner for participants to participate in the deregulated utilities market. According to Jim Mark, COO of Group 8760, "VANs are expensive, proprietary and coercive. With the Internet as a secure, reliable, and 24/7 transaction platform, the power shifts from the Vans to the client, who may now decide when and how they trade. In the past month we have seen the Vans announce their own clearinghouse options signaling the end of traditional VAN service."

"The IETF EDI INT AS2 specification provides a secure, reliable transport mechanism for business-to-business commerce over the Internet. GISBAgent addresses the existing needs of companies looking for a secure, reliable alternative to Vans today," states Dick Brooks, Chief Technical Officer of Group 8760. Brooks has been at the forefront of the EDI INT initiative as the co-author of the Internet Engineering Task Force's EDI INT AS2 standard for electronic commerce and a member of ebXML, the United Nations/CEFACT-OASIS business to business standards organization. "Our partnership with ESG provides choice to those clients who are either not ready for, or choose not to, bring the software application in house."

A recent study by Dataquest, a Gartner Group division, stated that the ASP market has the potential to become an extremely important segment of the overall IT industry within a relatively rapid period. "Many Pennsylvania energy companies preferred a low-risk, reliable, and economical alternative to utilizing Vans for electronic communication in the deregulated energy market" says Jim Buccigross, Group 8760's Vice President-Energy Practice. "Our partnership offers utilities and energy suppliers a choice, whether through ESG's clearinghouse or direct from Group 8760, the privacy, authentication, reliability and tracking are there, but the high VAN costs are not."

Group 8760 is a leading provider of e-commerce solutions for the energy and health care markets. Group 8760's enabling technology, InsideAgent® provides the electronic infrastructure that allows clients to connect directly with customers, suppliers, distributors, manufacturers and other trading partners. GISBAgent® is an electronic delivery mechanism for electronic file exchange over the Internet for the energy industry. Please visit the Group 8760 web site at www.8760.com for more information or contact Jim Mark at (205) 250-8053.

About Energy Services Group Energy Services Group provides comprehensive data processing services tailored to meet the specific requirements of energy companies and deregulated energy markets. ESG provides energy companies with industrial strength data processing capabilities required to supply energy to retail accounts in deregulated markets. For more information visit the Energy Services Group web site at http://www.EnergyServicesGroup.net.