Energy East Corp. announces early retirement program at operating utilities: As part of its ongoing system-wide integration, Energy East Corp. announced a voluntary early retirement program for salaried employees of its six operating utilities which include The Berkshire Gas Co., Central Maine Power Co., Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., New York State Electric & Gas Corp., Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., and The Southern Connecticut Gas Co.
KPMG changes name: KPMG Consulting Inc., a business consulting and systems integration company, has changed its name and its brand to BearingPoint Inc.
Dynegy cuts back workforce: Dynegy Inc. announced a workforce reduction in connection with the company’s previously announced restructuring initiative and exit from the marketing and trading business. The reduction affects approximately 780 employees, including approximately 600 employees in Houston. After the restructuring, Dynegy’s global workforce will stand at approximately 4,600 employees.
Texas remains leader: Texas continues to lead the U.S. in electricity restructuring, but progress in this country has virtually ground to a halt, the update to the third edition of the Retail Energy Deregulation Index (RED Index) shows. Progress toward restructuring continues to be made in Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand, the update noted. The update, issued by the Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets (CAEM), showed that California’s well-publicized troubles, the Enron collapse and the financial crisis in the energy industry have slowed progress on electricity restructuring in the U.S. According to the Index, the most positive development in retail energy restructuring in the U.S. has been the emergence of the North American Energy Standards Board.
Legal & regulatory
FERC approves AEP separation: American Electric Power (AEP) received Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of its corporate separation plan to form wholly owned regulated and unregulated companies. AEP filed the request in July 2001. AEP’s plan provides for one corporation to hold AEP’s subsidiaries whose revenues derive from activities that are competitive and primarily market-based, and for the other corporation to hold AEP’s utility subsidiaries that are subject to regulation by at least one state utility commission.
FERC applauds RTO West filing:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously approved most aspects associated with the development of RTO West, a regional transmission organization. The Stage 2 filing was submitted on March 29, asking FERC to determine that RTO West satisfies FERC’s minimum requirements for RTO formation. The RTO West filing utilities include Avista Corp., Bonneville Power Administration, British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, Idaho Power Co., Nevada Power Co., NorthWestern Energy, PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric Co., Puget Sound Energy and Sierra Pacific Power Co.
Lawsuit filed against AEP: The law firm of Lovell Stewart Halebian LLP filed a class action lawsuit on October 22, 2002 on behalf of all persons who purchased, converted, exchanged or otherwise acquired the common stock of American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP) between May 17, 1999 and October 9, 2002, inclusive. The lawsuit asserts claims under Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated by the SEC there under and seeks to recover damages.
Nova Scotia Power receives ruling: Nova Scotia Power received a ruling from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) regarding the power company’s 2002 rate application. The application sought an average rate increase of 8.9 percent across all customer classes. Nova Scotia Power filed the application in response to significantly higher prices for import coal in 2002.
Mergers & acquisitions
Willbros completes Mt. West transaction: Willbros Group Inc. announced that it has completed the acquisition of the Mt. West Group of companies: Mt. West Fabrication Plants and Stations Inc., Process Electric and Control Inc., Process Engineering Design Inc. and Pacific Industrial Electric Inc. Mt. West Group provides design-build services, including engineering, procurement and construction (“EPC”) services to the energy industry. The consideration for the Mt. West Group includes approximately $4.4 million cash and the issuance of 950,000 shares of Willbros Group Inc. common stock. Mt. West has operations primarily in the western United States.
Progress Energy to sell NCNG: Progress Energy announced an agreement to sell stock of its North Carolina Natural Gas (NCNG) subsidiary to Piedmont Natural Gas for approximately $425 million in cash. (Progress Energy plans to use the net proceeds from the sale to pay down debt.) The sale includes Progress Energy’s investment in EasternNC, a joint venture with Albermarle Pamlico Economic Development Corp. The acquisition is expected to close by mid-2003.
Projects & contracts
GWF renegotiates Calif. power contracts: PSEG Global confirmed that its joint venture GWF Energy LLC has successfully renegotiated terms and conditions to supply power to the state of California from three new peaker facilities located on the major transmission line known as NP15. The agreement settles all issues involving the company in California. As a result, PSEG Global will continue with construction of its Tracy Station, a 160 MW peaker, and proceed with the financing of all three projects. The other two are the Hanford Energy Park, a 90 MW peaker, and Henrietta Energy Park, also a 90 MW peaker.
Earth Tech wins Mexican power projects: Earth Tech has been awarded two separate design/build/finance power transmission contracts from the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE). The two projects, known as the Eastern Bajio System and the Associated Network of Rio Bravo have project costs of $73.8 million and $31 million, respectively.
Duke Power to buy peaking capacity: Duke Power has agreed to purchase peaking generation capacity from Progress Energy. The contract, involving Progress Energy’s Rowan County Energy Complex in North Carolina, runs from June 1, 2004 to May 31, 2008. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. elp