Legal and regulatory
Avista files rate case: Avista Corp. has filed a request with Idaho regulators to increase electric prices by 11 percent above current rates and natural gas prices by 9.2 percent. Avista’s request is designed to increase electric revenues by $18.9 million annually and natural gas revenues by $4.8 million annually. (The commission has up to seven months to review the filing.) Avista has not had a general electric price increase in Idaho since 1999, and this would be the first general natural gas price increase in Idaho since 1990, according to the company.
Texas retailer to settle complaints: The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) ordered Republic Power—doing business as Energy America—to pay a $750,000 penalty. (The company now operates in Texas under the name Direct Energy.) The PUC reviewed customer complaints regarding the company’s sales practices, including telemarketing, door-to-door and Internet offers. In a notice of violation issued last August, the PUC charged Energy America with not providing the required “electricity facts label” to new customers in addition to not making required disclosures. In addition to the penalty, Energy America has agreed to other corrective actions, including stopping collection on customers who have filed complaints.
Mergers and acquisitions
Power Measurement buys software business: Power Measurement, a global provider of enterprise energy management systems, has acquired ABB’s retail energy business, formerly Energy Interactive in Oakland, Calif. Under this arrangement, ABB’s staff, services and products will be integrated into Power Measurement’s organization, with ABB’s retail energy products offered alongside Power Measurement’s—both under the Power Measurement name.
AEP to sell to Golden: American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiary Texas Central Co. has signed an agreement to sell its 7.8 percent share of Oklaunion Power Station to Golden Spread Electric Cooperative for $42.75 million. Proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt.
Xcel to sell Cheyenne: Xcel Energy announced a definitive agreement to sell its Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power electricity and natural gas operations to Black Hills Corp., pending approval from FERC and the Wyoming Public Service Commission. Xcel is expected to record a one-time gain of approximately one cent per share upon completion of the transaction.
Dynegy to sell Illinois Power: Dynegy plans to sell Illinois Power to Ameren Corp. The agreement also includes the sale of Dynegy’s 20 percent minority interest in the Joppa power generation facility in Joppa, Ill. (Ameren is currently the operator of and has a 60 percent ownership interest in the 1,086 MW facility.) The $2.3 billion purchase price consists of the assumption of Illinois Power’s debt, estimated to be approximately $1.8 billion at closing, $400 million of cash, subject to working capital investments, and a $100 million escrow.
Projects and contracts
Black & Veatch completes study: Black & Veatch announced the completion of an economic impact study of renewable energy in Pennsylvania to determine potential benefits that investments could create for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The study included a review of the current status of renewable energy development in the United States and Pennsylvania, characterization of renewable power generation technologies, assessment of Pennsylvania’s renewable resources and estimation of economic benefits the state would experience by adopting a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policy that would mandate their use to provide a percentage of the state’s energy. “Our findings concluded that investments in renewable energy resources would provide a windfall of economic benefits to the state of Pennsylvania,” said Ryan Pletka, Black & Veatch renewable energy project manager. “By instigating a shift from fossil fuels to sustainable renewable energy resources, the state could potentially create 85,000 net new jobs over the next 20 years and increase earnings by approximately $2.8 billion and state output by $10.1 billion.”
ABB wins contract: ABB has received a $4.1 million order from the Southern California Public Power Authority for a 69 kV gas insulated substation design build project. Burbank Water and Power is the host utility for this project, named the Magnolia Power Project. This will be the fifth gas insulated substation from ABB to be located in Burbank. It is scheduled for completion by October.
Calpine to sell power to Cleco: Calpine Corp.’s Calpine Energy Services has reached agreement with Cleco Power to supply the Louisiana utility with up to 500 MW of power. The one-year agreement, beginning next January, includes delivery of 200 MW of power around the clock. Calpine Energy Services will supply power to Cleco from the 1,160 MW Acadia Energy Center just south of Eunice, La., in Acadia Parish.
Sempra gets federal contracts: Sempra Energy Solutions, the retail energy marketing arm of Sempra Energy, has been awarded four independent energy services contracts with federal government facilities: Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (in Florida and Puerto Rico), Evans Army Hospital (Ft. Carson, Colo.), and Hill Air Force Base (Ogden, Utah). The largest of the contracts is the 10-year, $17.9 million Veterans Affairs San Diego project.