News Briefs

Companies

Exelon says no new plans for Zion: Exelon Nuclear has stated that it does not plan to restart its 2,080 MW Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois, which was shut down in 1998 after a history of troubled operations. The company issued their statement after nearly a year of speculation that the twin-reactor plant on Lake Michigan might be reopened. (Exelon did not entirely rule out a restart if market conditions support one, but representatives say Zion would need to make at least $200 million “big ticket” repairs, including replacement of the plant’s steam generators.)

Florida Power agrees on rate reduction: Florida Power and Jack Shreve, Florida’s Public Counsel, have agreed to reduce base rates $125 million per year, resulting in a nine percent overall reduction for customers. Over the term of the agreement, which runs through year-end 2005, customers will save in excess of $500 million, including a one-time refund of $35 million and a decrease of $50 million in fuel charges for the balance of 2002.

AEP to rumble in the jungle: American Electric Power (AEP) will lead a group of 12 students and teachers from Ohio and West Virginia to a South American rainforest this summer for AEP’s Environmental Learning and Adventure in Bolivia (E-LAB) program. Managers of five AEP power plants have announced E-LAB participants from neighboring high schools. (AEP provides all funding for E-LAB.)

Deregulation

Nevada says “No nukes, Prez”: Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn has given his veto of the President-approved Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, starting the clock on a 90-day window for the federal government to either bow to Guinn’s wishes or override him.

Calif. kills direct access: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted three to two to end, retroactive to Sept. 20, the right to choose a power provider, effectively closing the door on “direct access.” However, there is a debate raging about power contracts garnered by larger companies and institutions before Sept. 20, which consumer groups and legislators say shifts the burden of paying for “power crisis” electricity to small businesses and residential users.

Legal & regulatory

FirstEnergy asks for review: FirstEnergy Corp. has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to review a Commonwealth Court decision denying two of FirstEnergy’s electric utility operating companies (Metropolitan Edison and Pennsylvania Electric) the ability to defer costs associated with their provider-of-last-resort obligation. The deferrals- approximately $211 million through February 2002-represent the difference between the cost to provide power to customers and the amount the companies are permitted to charge customers under the state’s deregulation law.

Renewable minimum passes Senate: A minimum renewable energy standard offered by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) was passed in the Senate by voice vote this spring, which could mean support for the biomass industry, stated the American Bioenergy Assn. (The renewable portfolio standard is part of the larger energy bill that still needs to pass through final approval in the Senate and then head to conference with the House.)

Enron, Astros agree to clip contract: Enron Corp. has reached an agreement on the terms of a settlement regarding the naming rights contact between the company and the Houston Astros Baseball Club. Under the terms of the settlement, the Astros have agreed to pay the estate the sum of $2.1 million to release Enron from all obligations. As a result, the Astros have the right to immediately negotiate a naming rights agreement with a new partner. At press time, however, Enron Field had simply been renamed Astros Field.

Mergers & acquisitions

Triple Point chooses right road: Triple Point Technology has acquired Energy Crossroads, an application service provider in Irvine, Calif. (Terms of the deal were not disclosed.) Founded in 2000, Energy Crossroads client base includes Anaheim Public Utilities, Grant County Public Utilities and the cities of Pasadena, Burbank and Glendale.

Sempra buys an Enron business: Sempra Energy Trading, the wholesale commodity trading subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has acquired the Liverpool, England-based Henry Bath Limited and subsidiaries, which provide warehousing services for non-ferrous metals in Europe and Asia. The companies were purchased from Enron and Dipankar Ghosh of PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the joint administrators of Enron Europe. Sempra Energy Trading made the purchase for a cash price of $24 million, subject to adjustment based on a final audit of the net assets. The transaction is expected to be accretive to Sempra Energy’s earnings in 2002.

Projects & contracts

RJM awarded pollution control project: RJM Corp., a provider of emission control technologies, announced a contract for multiple NOx emission control technologies from Austin Energy, which will be applied across all six of Austin Energy’s gas-fired boilers. RJM will provide engineering and selectively apply burner upgrades, CFD modeling, tempering and installation for four tangentially fired and two wall-fired units. Financials were not disclosed.

B&V to build Pa. plant: Black & Veatch (B&V) has joined Barton Malow in a joint venture agreement to provide design, procurement, delivery, construction, startup, testing and initial operation of the Reliant Energy Hunterstown LLC power project. The plant features a three-on-one combined cycle design composed of three gas turbine generators, three triple-pressure reheat cycle heat recovery steam generators and one reheat condensing steam turbine generator for a total nominal capacity of 800 MW. Commercial operation for the plant is scheduled for June 2003. Financials were not disclosed.

Mirant opens Fla. plant: Mirant has begun commercial operation of a natural gas-fired power plant in Pasco County, Fla. The simple cycle plant north of Tampa has 474 MW of net dependable capacity. Mirant bought the unfinished plant from El Paso Corp. in October 2001.

AmerenEnergy in tight with Soyland: AmerenEnergy Marketing, a wholesale and retail energy marketing company based in St. Louis, has contracted with Soyland Power Cooperative Inc. to manage its existing generation resources and load requirements over a six-year period, beginning January 1, 2003. This contract closes an RFP process begun Oct. 26, 2001. Financials were not disclosed.

Transmission

Trans-Elect to join RTO: Trans-Elect Inc., the Washington, D.C.-based independent electric transmission company, announced its intention to join the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO), pending the completion of its acquisition of the Michigan Electric Transmission Company system from Consumers Energy, expected next month.

Agency quits plans to upgrade lines: The Transmission Agency of Northern California, a coalition of 15 municipal utilities, has decided to no longer fund a $300 million upgrade to Path 15. The project will continue without the coalition, financed by PG&E (which owns the line) and Trans-Elect.

Potential RTO seeks FERC approval: A coalition of western electric utilities has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to find that the RTO West proposal meets minimum characteristics and functions for formation of a regional transmission organization. Avista Corp., Bonneville Power Administration, British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, Idaho Power Co., NorthWestern Energy, Nevada Power Co., PacifiCorp, Portland General Electric, Puget Sound Energy and Sierra Pacific Power Co. comprise the coalition.

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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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