Electric Power news briefs, June 22

TECO ... BGE ... Dynegy .... ALSTOM ESCA ... APB Energy ... Chapel Hill Brokers ... RedMeteor.com ... Electricit�e France ...Gaz de France ... TransCanada PipeLines ... Arizona Public Service ... Entergy Gulf States

TECO Power Services, a unit of Tampa-based TECO Energy Inc., reported the 75-Mw second phase of its Hardee power station has begun commercial operation. The new $38 million Hardee unit will provide peaking electric power to TPS' affiliate, Tampa Electric Co., through a long-term purchased power contract. The unit brings total capacity to 370 Mw at the facility. Both phases of Hardee Power Station are fueled by natural gas. TPS formed TM Power Ventures with Houston's Mosbacher Power Partners to develop power projects, such as the Commonwealth Chesapeake power station, a 312-Mw generating facility under construction on Delmarva Peninsula, Va., and a 334-Mw project in the Czech Republic.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., a Constellation Energy Group Inc. subsidiary, was granted a 2.69% increase in natural gas distribution rates by the Maryland Public Service Commission. The company had originally requested substantially more in November 1999. D. Douglas DeWitt, director of gas regulatory planning, said BGE is disappointed with the commission's decision, which could affect the company's ability to keep pace with the growing demand for natural gas services in central Maryland. BGE last filed for a rate increase in December 1997 with an increase of 2.8%, which went into effect in March 1998.

Dynegy Inc., Houston, has awarded a contract to ALSTOM ESCA Corp., Bellevue, Wash., to install integrated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems nationwide. Dynegy will install a generation management system in Houston and remote data acquisition systems at 20 locations across the US. SCADA systems will provide Dynegy's energy traders with real-time data regarding generation capacity and production costs, says Bob Green, project manager at ALSTOM ESCA.

APB Energy Inc., an energy broker, said it has acquired North Carolina's Chapel Hill Brokers Inc., which primarily focused on electricity. Tom Hahn, president of Chapel Hill Brokers, said having access to the True Quote platform will allow the company distribute options analytics and pricing data in real time. APB Energy's Chapel Hill division will continue to operate in North Carolina, focusing on Midcontinent electricity and electricity options. APB is an authorized agent of True Quote, an online energy-trading platform.

RedMeteor.com, an internet-based open commodities exchange for crude oil, refined products, natural gas, natural gas liquids, and electricity has acquired TCT Energy Inc., an energy brokerage firm. RedMeteor.com's acquisition of TCT Crude Inc. establishes the platform's hybrid model, combining human interaction through brokers with RedMeteor.com's technology. Houston-based RedMeteor said TCT Energy has long-term relationships with domestic and international producers, traders, and marketers. The acquisition of TCT Energy will allow energy traders to use the RedMeteor.com exchange or continue using traditional modes of trading, such as working through a broker, the company says. Scott Thompson, formerly president of TCT Energy, has joined RedMeteor.com as executive vice-president.

In a move marking their international cooperation, Electricit�e France (EdF) and Gaz de France (GdF) have acquired a 45% stake in Poland's Zespol Electrocleplowni SA (ZEcW SA), a gas and electric company operating in Gdansk and Gdynia. EdF has a 35% stake and GdF, 10% , but the companies say they are committed to a capital increase which would bring their joint stake to 51%. GdF will increase its stake when the power plants convert from coal to natural gas or develop gas-fired, combined-cycle units. The two ZEcW power plants are in the most industrialized regions of Poland . The Gdansk facility has installed electric capacity of 243 Mw and thermal capacity of 938Mw; the Gdynia facility has 110 Mw electric capacity and 541 Mw thermal capacity . ZEcW sells the heat to the urban heating networks of Gdansk, Gdynia, and Sopot covering 90% of the area's heat needs.

TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., Calgary, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, TransCanada Energy Ltd., said it will build an 80 Mw natural gas-fired cogeneration power plant near Carseland, Alta., and a 40 Mw natural gas-fired cogeneration power plant near Redwater, Alta., for a total capital investment of $112 million. The Carseland cogeneration plant will supply electric power and steam to nearby nitrogen operations facility under a 20-year agreement. The Redwater cogeneration plant will provide electric power and process heat to the company's Redwater natural gas liquids fractionation and storage facility under a 20-year agreement. Surplus power from both facilities will be supplied to the Power Pool of Alberta. TransCanada is currently divesting of all its midstream business, including the Redwater facility. The company expects the sale of the Redwater facility will include the power and heat sales agreement associated with the Redwater cogeneration plant. Subject to regulatory approvals, construction of the plants will begin this fall with expected completion by November 2001.

The town of Gilbert, Ariz., approved a plan by Pinnacle West Capital Corp. subsidiary Arizona Public Service to begin construction on a 125-kw, $800,000 solar power facility. Electricity generated by the plant will directly feed into the electrical grid system that serves APS customers. It is financed in part by APS customers who, as APS Solar Partners, pay $2.64 per month to have 15 kw-hr of their electricity needs generated by solar power. The plant also is funded by the Department of Energy through the Utility Photovoltaic Group. When finished, the one-acre site will consist of 10 solar arrays, which will track the sun from east to west on a single axis. Completion is scheduled tentatively for October.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission has approved a proposal by Entergy Inc.'s subsidiary Entergy Gulf States Inc.(EGSI) and the commission's staff for the company to refund $83 million to customers as part of a settlement of issues in four annual EGSI rate cases. The settlement, which includes interest and is fully covered by accounting reserves, resolved all but one outstanding potential refund issue in the annual EGSI rate reviews for the period Jan. 1, 1994 through Dec. 31, 1997. The only outstanding potential refund issue is an issue presently on appeal before the Louisiana Supreme Court: Due to a July 29, 1998 rate reduction, the company estimates that this issue will not have a material financial impact.

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