New York attack delays Montana Power vote tabulation

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Sept. 13, 2001 – Montana Power Co. said destruction of the World Trade Center forced the Butte, Mont., power company to postpone a shareholder vote on sale of its natural gas and power distribution assets.

The New York firm tabulating the ballots was closed Tuesday, and it isn’t clear when they will be able to resume counting votes, Montana Power said. The meeting was originally planned Sept.14., but has been delayed until Sept. 21.

Montana’s utility assets are being sold as part of its transformation to a broadband telecommunications company named Touch America. The power company already has sold its oil and gas business to PanCanadian Petroleum Ltd., Calgary, for $475 million, its coal operations to Westmoreland Coal Co. for $183 million, and its independent power operations to CES Acquisition Corp. for $84.5 million.

.PPL Montanam, a unit of PPL Corp., purchased two coal-fired plants and 11 hydroelectric units from Montana Power in 1999.

Montana Power signed a 20-year contract with NorthWestern Corp., Sioux Falls, SD, under which NorthWestern will supply electricity to Montana Power from a facility north of Great Falls, Mont. The $140 million project will have initial capacity of 160 Mw, increasing to 240 Mw upon conversion to a combined cycle mode.

Under the contract, Montana Power will purchase 75 Mw of the facility’s capacity on a year-round basis and an additional 75 Mw during November through February. Wednesday NorthWestern Corp. said it postponed a teleconference with New York analysts that was scheduled for Sept. 20.

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