Electric Power news briefs, December 14


UtiliCorp United Inc. said the Arkansas Public Service Commission adopted a Dec. 4 order by the Commission's administrative law judge which recommended against UtiliCorp's proposed merger with the Empire District Electric Co. Separately, the Oklahoma Public Service Commission issued an order approving the merger. Consummation of the merger is also subject to approval by commissions in Kansas and Missouri.

Sempra Energy said it completed a public offering and sale of $300 million of its 6.95% notes, due in 2005. The company intends to use the net proceeds from the sale of the notes to reduce short-term debt. The notes were sold through an underwriting group led by Salomon Smith Barney. Credit Suisse First Boston, Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter served as co-managers.

Reliant Services LLC, jointly and equally owned by subsidiaries of Vectren Corp. and Cinergy Corp., reporting completing the purchase of Miller Pipeline Corp., Indianapolis, from NiSource Inc. for about $68.3 million. Reliant, in conjunction with Miller Pipeline, will expand its utility services business by adding underground pipeline construction, replacement, and repair to its current services of underground facility locating, contract meter reading, and installation of telecommunications and electric facilities.

NRG South Central Generating LLC reported it commenced an exchange offer for all of its outstanding 8.962% Series A Senior Secured Bonds due 2016 and 9.479% Series B Senior Secured Bonds due 2024 for 8.962% Series A-1 Senior Secured Bonds due 2016 and 9.479% Series B-1 Senior Secured Bonds due 2024.. The exchange offer will expire on Jan. 12, 2001, unless extended by NRG South Central. NRG South Central LLC owns, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Louisiana Generating LLC, electric power generation facilities in New Roads, La.

Atlanta Gas Light Co. said it will implement a seasonal rate plan which natural gas marketers will roll out during the February 2001 billing cycle. For customers, the new rates will result in higher base charges in the winter and lower base charges in the summer. Interstate pipeline transportation charges and the commodity cost of natural gas will not be affected by the new rate design, the company said. To ease the transition to this seasonal base rate, residential customer will receive a refund of $14/month from the Universal Service Fund in February and March, 2001. In addition, senior citizens will receive a refund of $10 for January.

Abu Dhabi Gas Co.(Atheer) said it plans to reach total gas processing capacity of 3 bcf/day in 2001. It will also be responsible for the supply of gas to Dubai, through a 48-in. diameter, 112 km pipeline, the first time such supplies will be made, according to the OPECNA news agency. Atheer's principal objective is development of natural gas resources in Abu Dhabi to secure additional supplies and meet future domestic demand.

Norway's Statnett and Norsk Hydro reported an agreement under which Statnett will purchase a substantial part of Hydro's Norwegian power lines and transmission system Jan.1, 2001 in Sogn, Fjordane, and Rogaland counties. In total, the agreement covers over 400 km of power lines and a number of junctions on the grid, as well as transformer stations and coupling stations. Norsk Hydro said it will book a pretax gain from the sale of around 180 million kroner (22.2 million euros) in the first quarter of 2001.

American Electric Power Co.Inc. said it received authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart the 1,020 Mw Cook nuclear plant Unit 1 in Bridgman, Mich. The NRC�s restart authorization allows AEP to proceed with reactor operation. The authorization make it possible Unit 1 could restart and reach full power before the end of the year. Units 1 and 2 were idled in September 1997 because of questions raised about operability of safety systems.

The Michigan Public Service Commission staff is inviting comment from natural gas suppliers, marketers, and other stakeholders regarding further unbundling the rates and services of Michigan's local natural gas distribution companies. In an October 13, 2000 order, the commission gave the staff 1 year to determine what additional services should be unbundled and to outline the scope and the duration for such services. The initial deadline for comments is Jan. 15, 2001.

Duke Energy Field Services (DEFS), a unit of Duke Energy Corp., reported completion of the Roggen natural gas processing plant expansion northeast of Denver, Colo., more than doubling its processing capacity to 58 MMcfd. The company said the Denver-Jules Basin has been a tremendous growth area for DEFS with plant inlet volumes increasing from 160 MMcfd 1 year ago to more than 186 MMcfd today. Natural gas liquid (NGL) production has also increased from 12,600 b/d to more than 14,600b/d.

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