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ELP Volume 77 Issue 6

CNG to merge with Dominion Resources:

Consolidated Natural Gas Co.`s board of directors accepted a revised $6.4 billion offer from Dominion Resources and rejected an unsolicited offer of $6.68 billion from Columbia Energy Group due to its uncertainty and timing. The merger will create the nation`s fourth-largest electric and natural gas utility with more than 20,000 MW of power generation and about 3 Tcfe of natural gas and oil reserves producing more than 300 Bcfe annually.

Merchant markets create tangle in transmission planning

Many forces-competitive, regulatory, legal and technical-are today putting the squeeze on the U.S. transmission grid. A system that once offered convenient movement of electrons and thrived in an air of cooperation among users is now often at the center of contested cases before regulatory agencies and courts. As the new order of generation, transmission and distribution (T&D) shakes out, the grid will be frayed and its interconnectivity realigned.

Dominion Resources, CNG plan generation along pipeline:

Dominion Resources and a subsidiary of Consolidated Natural Gas Co., CNG Power Co., signed an agreement to develop natural gas-fired power generation facilities along CNG`s natural gas pipeline system, identifying 45 potential development sites so far. The Wholesale Power Group of Dominion Resources will market power generated by the new facilities.

Staking claim to rural territories, IOUs challenge REC protections

In the late 1800s, barbed wires crisscrossing prairies and rangelands often led to territorial disputes among ranchers in rural areas. Today, wires continue to be the subject of territorial disputes in many of those same regions, but the focus is no longer on fence posts strung with barbed galvanized wires. Instead, heads turn upwards to poles and towers with aluminum-steel conductors stretching for miles across croplands and pastures, and investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and rural electric coop

Sempra, PS&G expand Latin presence:

Chilquinta SA of Chile entered into an agreement to sell Chilquinta Energia SA, an electric and natural gas distribution company with operations in Chile, Argentina and Peru, to Sempra Energy and Public Service Enterprise Group in a transaction valued at $830 million. Sempra Energy and PSEG will acquire 90 percent of the shares of Chilquinta Energia and will make a tender offer to acquire the remaining 10 percent of the shares from other shareholders in Chile. Sempra Energy already has natural g

NERC changes spur MAPP/MAIN merger:

In March, the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool`s executive committee supported examination of a proposed merger, and in April, the Mid-America Interconnected Network`s boards of directors voted to continue the study to develop a joint regional reliability organization. A report should have been presented in late May or early this month.

TALK ABOUT WINDPOWER …

An F5 tornado, with winds near 300 mph, tore a one-half mile-wide swath of destruction through central Oklahoma on May 3. Above, an electric transformer explodes as the tornado wreaks havoc near Newcastle. AP/Wide World Photos

Avista partners with German IPP:

Avista Corp. affiliate, Avista Power, and STEAG AG, Germany`s largest independent power producer, agreed to form a joint venture to develop, build and buy electric generation assets in North America. STEAG will purchase a 50 percent interest in Avista Power and invest jointly with Avista in future projects. STEAG also secured an option to purchase a minority interest in Avista Corp. marketing and trading affiliate, Avista Energy.

VIEWS FROM THE FRONTLINE

There`s currently a shared belief in America that competition is better than a monopoly. And clearly we can already see within our industry the benefits of wholesale competition in the form of market-based pricing for wholesale customers. Southern Company supports competition. We believe all customers should benefit from competition. Our concerns center around the transition to retail competition and its ultimate form. We want to make sure that the transition is fair to all parties, that the tim

Conectiv bets future on competition

Utilities fall into two general categories when positioning for the industry`s restructuring: Those who embrace change and those who don`t. Conectiv of Wilmington, Del., is among the former.