News briefs

Projects and contracts

Allegheny Energy to build Arizona plant: Allegheny Energy Inc.’s subsidiary, Allegheny Energy Supply Co., plans to construct a 1,080 MW natural gas-fired merchant generating facility in La Paz County, Ariz., approximately 75 miles west of Phoenix. Construction is expected to begin on the $540-million, combined-cycle facility in 2002. When completed in 2005, the facility will allow Allegheny Energy Supply to sell generation into Arizona and other states served by the Western System Power Pool, including all or parts of California, western Canada, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Panda to construct Illinois plant: Panda Energy International Inc. will build a $350-million merchant electric power plant approximately three miles northwest of Mount Vernon in Jefferson County, Ill. Construction is expected to begin on the 1,070 MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle facility during the first quarter of 2002. When completed in late 2003, it will allow Panda to sell power in the wholesale electric market through an interconnection with the West Mount Vernon substation.

Avista-STEAG, NRG partner: Avista-STEAG LLC and NRG Energy Inc. announced the formation of a partnership to build, operate and manage a 633 MW natural gas-fired merchant power plant. The Brazos Valley project, as it will be known, is situated in Fort Bend County, Texas, 30 miles southwest of Houston. Avista-STEAG will retain 51 percent ownership in the project while NRG will own 49 percent. The project has secured its major permits. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2001 with commercial operation expected in January of 2003.

TXU, AEP unveil wind project: TXU Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of TXU, and American Electric Power (AEP) jointly announced a new 130 MW wind power project. TXU Electric & Gas will buy power produced by the 130 MW Trent Mesa Project for at least 10 years; AEP will develop, own, operate and maintain the project. Financial terms were not disclosed. Including this agreement, TXU Electric & Gas has contracted to purchase more than 1.3 billion kWhr of renewable energy annually from several wind farms in Texas.

Mergers and acquisitions

PA Consulting purchases Hagler Bailly: PA Consulting Group has completed the acquisition of the outstanding shares of common stock of Hagler Bailly, following Hagler Bailly shareholder approval of the transaction valued at $96 million-equivalent to $5.32 per share. The combined organization, including PHB Hagler Bailly, now operates under the PA Consulting Group brand name worldwide and has a global presence of around 3,400 staff.

PNM eyes Western Resources: Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) and Western Resources have approved an agreement under which PNM will acquire the Western Resources electric utility operations in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction. Under the terms of the agreement, PNM and Western Resources, whose utility operations consist of its KPL division and KGE subsidiary, will both become subsidiaries of a new holding company to be named at a future date. The equity value of the transaction is estimated at $1.503 billion.

NiSource, Columbia finalize deal: NiSource Inc. has completed its $6 billion merger with Columbia Energy Group. This merger establishes the largest U.S. natural gas distributor east of the Rocky Mountains, with wholesale and retail gas and electric operations.

UtiliCorp sells to EPCOR: UtiliCorp Networks Canada, a unit of U.S.-based UtiliCorp United, has reached an agreement to sell its retail electricity business in Alberta to EPCOR, an Alberta power, water and natural gas company based in Edmonton. EPCOR will pay CA$110 million (approximately $74.7 million) to acquire the operations and retail rights to the customers of UtiliCorp Networks Canada. Residential, farm and small business customers in central and southern Alberta will automatically transfer to EPCOR’s regulated rate option on January 1st, unless they choose an unregulated service package.

Legal and regulatory

Con Edison questions merger: Consolidated Edison Inc. has stated that restrictions imposed by Connecticut state regulators in their approval of the company’s proposed acquisition of Northeast Utilities called into serious question whether the transaction will be completed. (Con Edison agreed to acquire the utility last year in exchange for $3.29 billion in cash and stocks.) Con Edison has asked the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control to reconsider its findings. ABN AMRO’s U.S. electric utility analysts conclude that the merger has a “50/50 chance of closing.”

Green Mountain, New Power embroiled in PECO struggle: Green Mountain Energy Co. formerly challenged an agreement by PECO to transfer approximately 300,000 residential customers to New Power Co. In legal papers filed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Green Mountain Energy Company described the PECO/New Power agreement as “not in the public interest,” adding that PECO ignored a qualified bid submitted by Green Mountain. New Power characterized the contention as “completely false” and has filed a response to Green Mountain’s protest with the commission.

Author

  • The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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