Electric Power news briefs, September 11

Lodestar Corp., Peabody, Mass., said it will open an office in Houston, Tex, to support customer-related operations for current customers the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Enron Corp., Shell Energy Services Co., a unit of Royal/Dutch Shell, and Reliant Energy Inc. in addition to future and prospective customers. This is the first remote site focused on developing new software solutions for Lodestar customers. With major energy players and market activity in the area, Texas is an important state, said Chairman Chris Hamilos. Lodestar said its software is in use by more than 100 North American energy providers in North America and 20% of US energy consumers receive their billing through Lodestar software.

Capstone Turbine Corp. said it has reached licensing agreement with Solar Turbines Inc. to manufacture recuperators, an integral part of the Capstone MicroTurbine system. The agreement paves the way to higher production volumes needed to meet growing demand for the Capstone MicroTurbine, the company said. More than 11,000 Solar gas turbines approaching 1 billion operating hours of experience are installed in 90 nations on land and offshore.

Sempra Energy unit Southern California Gas Co. was fined $3.5 million for allegedly forcing about 500 landowners to sell mineral rights at unfair prices and lying about it to regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission fined the utility as part of a settlement allowing the property owners to undo the gas company deals. The settlement was approved after commissioners received assurances that the $3.5 million fine would be paid by shareholders of corporate parent Sempra Energy, not ratepayers. Utility spokesman Lee Stewart said the agreement will avoid protracted litigation with the state.

Southern Union Co. said the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy has issued orders dated Sept. 6, 2000, approving the mergers of Fall River Gas Co. and Providence Energy Corp. into Southern Union. The receipt of these orders satisfies the last of the required regulatory approvals, the company said. Closing of these transactions is expected by month end. With respect to the pending merger of Valley Resources Inc. and Southern Union, final regulatory approval was received from the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers on July 24, 2000. That merger is expected to close Sept. 20, 2000.

The Coastal Corp. said its Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC affiliate has received a comprehensive draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its proposed 744-mile natural gas pipeline from Alabama across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida. After comments are reviewed and considered, a final environmental impact statement will be issued. Gulfstream anticipates the approval process will be completed by February 2001. Gulfstream has 10 large, nonaffiliated Florida utilities and power generation facilities signed to long-term commitments for the majority of its 1.1 bcf/day of natural gas capacity.

Alliance Pipeline has selected Oct. 30, 2000 as its commercial in-service date. When construction of the Alliance Pipeline system was scheduled nearly 3 years ago, October 2000 was forecast for start-up, with a target date of October 2. The Alliance Pipeline system is designed to deliver 1.325 bcf/day of natural gas on a firm basis from the gas producing regions of northeastern British Columbia and northwestern Alberta to the Chicago area where it interconnects with the North American pipeline grid.

Sempra Energy Trading, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy said it has acquired a majority share of UK-based gas and electricity marketer Atlantic Electric and Gas from current shareholders, including M.M.T. Computing PLC. As a wholesale energy trading and marketing company, Sempra Energy Trading will apply its expertise in commodity procurement and risk management as Atlantic Electric and Gas enters the marketplace with a competitive product offering.

KeySpan Corp. and TXU Energy Services a unit of TXU Corp., Dallas, separately reported launching partnerships with myHomeKey, a home management service that allows consumers to use one-stop online access to total home management. The site is free to consumers and features six product and service categories tailored to specific areas: home repair and upkeep; home monitoring and control; neighborhood and community information; utility/energy services; appliance and other home product purchasing; and move management. Users can schedule appointments with electricians, plumbers, landscapers, and a variety of other local licensed partners. If users have preferences for specific suppliers, this information can be securely filed to expedite future appointments.

Hydrogen Burner Technology Inc. (HBT) said it has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its common stock. HBT manufactures stationary and transportation hydrogen processors for supplying hydrogen to the fuel cell market as well as onsite hydrogen generators for industrial markets. The lead underwriter for the offering will be Salomon Smith Barney Inc. and the comanagers will be Lehman Brothers Inc. and CIBC World Markets Corp.

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