In 1998, when Georgia became the first state in the Southeast to open its natural gas market to competition, SouthStar began marketing deregulated natural gas services directly to retail customers. We have the largest deregulated market share in the state, and are a leading natural gas provider in multiple markets across the U.S. Southstar now operates in over ten states providing natural gas to nearly a million of homes and businesses. And we are proud to serve fleets and stations that use compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel.
In each of the markets we serve, we strive to deliver the best in service and innovative product offerings. In Georgia, we were the first company to introduce Recycled Natural GasSM as a component of our natural gas supply from 2001 to 2003. We also care deeply about our community, and are proud to have contributed over $2 million to Georgia schools through our giving campaign, TrueBlue SchoolsTM. In Ohio, we are proud to serve and support the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We team up with Delta SkyMiles® to bring extra value to our customers in multiple markets. And throughout our service footprint, we are leading the way in providing alternative fuels, like compressed natural gas (CNG). We have already helped our customers in multiple markets displace over thirteen million gallons of diesel fuel with CNG. These are just a few of the examples of our business and civic leadership.
We purchase gas from a variety of sources across the map, follow the strictest of risk management procedures and require strong credit and long-term financial stability from our suppliers to minimize potential delivery issues. Our diversified portfolio features approximately 70 wholesale suppliers – including eight of the top ten suppliers – who provide the commodity and trade liquidity necessary to exceed customer demand.
We also manage a sophisticated in-house financial trading and risk management operation. Our experienced staff continuously analyzes the energy market to secure a pricing edge. And by providing value-added benefits like weekly market updates and expert energy advice, we enable our customers to individually track the market and more easily manage their energy costs.