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Southwest Gas Continues to Lead Gas Utilities in Growth

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The results are in and Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE: SWX) once again leads the nation in growth for natural gas utilities. According to President and Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Maffie, the company, with headquarters in Las Vegas, Nev., added nearly 63,000 new homes and businesses in 2000, a 5 percent growth rate. At the end of the year, the company was serving more than 1,337,000 customers in Arizona, Nevada, and parts of California.

The company's Southern Nevada Division in Las Vegas, which recently added its 400,000th customer, led the company in growth in 2000, adding nearly 26,000 new homes and businesses, a 7 percent increase. The new customer count affirms Las Vegas as one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

The Central Arizona Division, with headquarters in Phoenix, added 21,300 new homes and businesses last year, bringing its customer base to 424,700, a 5 percent increase. The central Arizona metropolitan area accounted for nearly 65,800 new jobs last year, more than 70 percent of the state's total.

The year 2000 was the seventh consecutive year in which company-wide customer growth has been at least 5 percent. "There is no other local distribution, natural gas utility in the country that has these kinds of numbers," Maffie said.

Growth for the company's other three divisions includes Southern Arizona Division (Tucson), 9,700 new customers; Northern Nevada Division (Carson City), 3,400 new customers; and Southern California Division (Victorville), 2,500 new customers.

"Our focus remains fixed," said Maffie. "Southwest Gas recognizes the competitive arena it is in. As a result, we continue to lead the nation because we maintain an aggressive pro-growth position. Builders and developers, businesses and residential customers alike know they can count on us for providing the best in quality of service."

Southwest Gas has budgeted $228 million this year to install new mains and services and upgrade existing facilities throughout the company. "In the long term, our aggressive position on growth will reap shareholders' value through increased revenues and improved earnings," Maffie said.

This press release may contain statements which constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (Reform Act). All such forward-looking statements are intended to be subject to the safe harbor protection provided by the Reform Act. A number of important factors affecting the business and financial results of the company could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the impact of weather variations on customer usage, natural gas prices, the effects of regulation/deregulation, the timing and amount of rate relief, changed in capital requirements and funding, acquisitions, and competition.
SOURCE Southwest Gas Corporation
Web site: http: //www.southwestgas.com
Company News On-Call: http: //www.prnewswire.com/comp/804969.html or fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 804969
CONTACT: media, Roger Buehrer, APR, 702-876-7132, or shareholders, Laura Hobbs, 702-876-7237, both for Southwest Gas Corporation