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Catholic Health East, the health care company that helps oversee the Catholic Health System in Western New York, has signed a contract to allow Enron Energy Services to manage the energy needs of its facilities along the East Coast.

Under the 5 1/2 -year agreement, Enron will manage the electricity supply and provide energy information and accounting services for Mercy, Sisters and Kenmore Mercy hospitals in the Buffalo area, along with 17 other facilities that fall under the Catholic Health East umbrella, said Suzanne Rhodes, an Enron spokeswoman.

As energy markets have deregulated and become more volatile and complex, more companies have turned to energy services firms to manage their electricity needs. Enron and Catholic Health East also are trying to find projects to improve energy efficiency at some of the non-profit organization's health care facilities.

Catholic Health East, which has a joint operating agreement with the Catholic Health System in Western New York, has 18 regional health care systems in 10 eastern states. The agreement with Enron covers facilities in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida and Pennsylvania.

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