Electric Power news briefs, August 9

United Illuminating Co. ... United Capital Funding Partnership LP ... Philadelphia Gas Works ... Public Service Co. of New Mexico ... IDACORP Inc. .... Rocky Mountain Communications Inc. ...AmerGen Energy Co. ... GPU Inc. ... PECO Energy Co. ... British Energy PLC ... Williams ... Calpine Corp. ... Enporion ... Allegheny Energy Inc. ... New Century Energies ... Minnesota Power Inc. ... Northern States Power Co. ... PPL Corp. ... Cap Gemini Ernst & Young LLC


The United Illuminating Co.(UI) reported it and United Capital Funding Partnership LP have elected to redeem the $50 million issue of 1995 9 5/8% Preferred Capital Securities, Series A. UI will repay the loan and the partnership will use the funds to redeem the securities Sept. 25, 2000. The redemption price for the Securities is $25/share, plus accrued dividends to the redemption date of $0.160417/share. UI said redemption is expected to save the company about $1.2 million/year in interest charges.

The Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) has filed a request with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) for an interim base rate increase totaling $52 million. A similar request was filed with the Philadelphia Gas Commission (PGC) in June. The dual filings were initiated by PGW in light of the July 1, 2000 switch in regulatory authority over the utility from the PGC to the PUC. Last week PGW filed with the PUC for a $97 million increase in its gas cost rate (GCR), a pass-through of the additional amount PGW must pay to purchase natural gas on the open market. If both the base rate increase and the GCR are approved by the PUC, the typical PGW residential home heating bill could increase by about 30%.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico reported it plans to repurchase up to $35 million of its common stock through the end of the first quarter of 2001. The company said it is the best use of excess cash and is expected to improve the company's stock price. There are 39,535,699 shares of PNM common stock now outstanding.

IDACORP Inc. said it will repurchase up to 350,000 shares of outstanding common stock in open market transactions, including block purchases, or in privately negotiated transactions. The company's board of directors approved the stock repurchase program as part of the acquisition of Rocky Mountain Communications Inc. The shares to be repurchased represent less than 1% of the company's 37.6 million shares outstanding as of August 8. The company will purchase outstanding shares and distribute them to current RMCI shareowners as partial payment for the RMCI acquisition reported earlier, said J. LaMont Keen, senior vice-president and chief financial officer

AmerGen Energy Co. said it has completed the $10 million purchase of the Oyster Creek nuclear generating plant in Lacey Township, NJ, from GPU Inc., which is being acquired by FirstEnergy Corp. The sale includes the 619 Mw single-unit boiling water reactor and adjacent former farm property. AmerGen, a joint venture between PECO Energy Co., Philadelphia, and British Energy PLC, Edinburgh, Scotland, now holds the license for Oyster Creek's operation. In 1999, the company purchased the Clinton power station in Illinois and Three Mile Island Unit 1 in Pennsylvania. It also has signed an asset purchase agreement for the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station in Vermont.

Western Resources Inc. and the staff of the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) reached an agreement today for the company's utilities to file a rate case on or before Nov. 25, 2000, the company reported. As part of the agreement, the parties agreed the test year for the rate case will be Oct.1, 1999, through Sept.30, 2000 and Western Resources' utilities will include in the rate filing the new generation it is placing in service in 2000 and 2001. The KCC staff will retain the right to review various issues relating to the new generation. As a result, the parties will file a motion to approve the agreement and request that the commission issue an order disposing of the Kansas Industrial Consumers' complaint, the company said.

Williams reported the Internal Revenue Service has issued a favorable ruling on the company's proposed tax free spin-off of its communications business to Williams' shareholders. The ruling will permit a tax-free distribution of Williams Communications (WCG) stock to shareholders in what is commonly known as a spin-off transaction. Under this form of transaction, each Williams shareholder would get a proportionate number of WCG shares. Williams currently owns approximately 85% of Williams Communications. The action is expected to take place within the next 12 months in order to preserve the ruling, unless it is extended or modified in the future.

Calpine Corp. reported it priced its public offering of 11,500,000 shares of common stock, including exercise of the underwriters' over-allotment option, at $69.50/share. Calpine also said it has priced its public offering of $1 billion of senior notes in two tranches: $250 million of 8-1/4% Senior Notes due 2005 and $750 million of 8-5/8% Senior Notes due 2010. Proceeds from the common stock and senior notes offerings will be used to finance the construction and development of additional power generation facilities, to fund recently announced acquisitions, to refinance existing debt incurred to fund development and acquisition transactions, and for working capital and general corporate purposes. Concurrently, Calpine said it priced $517.5 million of convertible preferred securities, including exercise of the initial purchasers' option, in a private placement, priced to yield 5%, with a conversion premium of 25%.

A group of North American utilities and their partners today have announced the formation of Enporion, an open global procurement exchange for the energy industry. The initial founders group includes Allegheny Energy Inc., New Century Energies, Minnesota Power Inc., Northern States Power Co., and PPL Corp. Cap Gemini Ernst & Young LLC is the business advisor for Enporion. The initiative will mark the first collaborative effort of SAP and Commerce One following the announcement of their alliance to combine their product offerings for building electronic marketplaces.

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