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Soon after Hurricane Katrina, Shepherd Park resident Frank Borris, angry at skyrocketing gasoline prices, suggested to his neighborhood Internet message board that they boycott an oil company. Borris picked Exxon, but the rest of the group didn’t share his fervor. “I can’t say anybody else did for certain,” he says. Then, on Oct. 27, he stuck on an idea that every resident cares about: heating bills. He suggested that, instead of using Washington Gas, residents buy natural gas wholesale from an alternate supplier. By locking in a rate over a one-year contract, Borris estimated possible savings of 10 percent, leading 40 households to express interest. He has since contacted Washington Gas Energy Services (WGES), a deregulated corporate cousin of Washington Gas. “Everybody wants to pay less for their utility bills, and they are going up, up, up,” says WGES rep Pernell Lee. “Of course, the more families you have, the better deal you have.” The Shepherd Parkers aren’t quite on the vanguard of the cheap-gas movement, though. Lee recalls one similar deal years ago with a housing project on Kenilworth Avenue NE. —Jason Cherkis