Electric Power news briefs, October 4

ScottishPower PLC ... PacifiCorp ... National Propane Gas Association ... H Power Corp. ... GE Power Systems ... Jenbacher Group ... AmerenEnergy Fuels and Services Co. ... Unicom Corp. ... Bumler Heating and Specialties Inc. ... Building Automated Systems and Services ... Muscatine Power and Water ... Tenaska Power Services Co. ... Omaha Public Power District ... TNP Enterprises Inc. ... First Choice Power Inc. ... Coastal Merchant Energy LP ... Competitive Power Ventures Inc.

ScottishPower PLC reported the Oregon Public Utility Commission has approved a revenue increase of $13.6 million for PacifiCorp, its US subsidiary, beginning Oct. 1.ScottishPower CEO Ian Robinson said new rates will be phased in under separate schedules in each state. He said the rate increase concludes all of the state rate cases filed prior to the company's merger with PacifiCorp and, with the other previously announced results, gives the company an aggregate revenue increase of approximately $55 million.

Customers can help shield themselves from rising propane costs by getting their tanks filled now, before the weather turns cold, said Daniel N. Myers, executive vice-president for National Propane Gas Association. US propane inventories were 5.5% lower in July than a year ago and the lowest since 1996, the NPGA said. Total US propane imports have dropped over the last 2 years, from over 4 million bbl (MMB) at this time in 1998 to about 0.5 MMB this year. Imports, which mostly come from Canada, make up 10% of the U.S. supply. World demand is also rising. China is experiencing a 19%/year growth rate; Southeast Asia is growing 10%/year, India has been growing at nearly 9.5%/year, and Mexico is growing at 3.5%/year, according to the association.

Fuel cell maker H Power Corp. reported a net loss of 10�/share on net revenues of $1,214,000 for the quarter ended Aug. 31, 3000, compared with a net loss of 5�/share on net revenue of $825,000 for the comparable period in 1999. H Power's initial public offering (IPO) raised $104.2 million Aug. 9, 2000. CEO H. Frank Gibbard attributed the losses to the result of planned increases in research and development, marketing and selling, and general administrative expenses. He said the results were not unusual for the fuel cell industry, which is characterized by significant amounts of capital investment, strong competition, and intense technical development.

GE Power Systems, a unit of General Electric Co., and the Jenbacher Group reported they have expanded their current distribution agreement to include Mexico. Under an agreement signed last year, GE Power Systems is the exclusive distributor in North and South America and the Caribbean for the sale of Jenbacher gas engine technology, including gen-sets and cogeneration systems for industrial applications. Under the terms of the expanded agreement, GE Power Systems will be the exclusive distributor in Mexico for all applications including combined heat and power (CHP), landfill gas, and special gases. GE will provide service and spare parts for these projects.

Ameren Corp. reported creation of AmerenEnergy Fuels and Services Co.(AFS)�a subsidiary of AmerenEnergy Resources Co. The new unit will provide about $1 billion in fuel procurement and gas supply services for its affiliated companies and other customers in the Midwest energy markets. It will supply coal, natural gas, oil, ash management, and emission services to Ameren's 12,000 Mw of generating capacity and manage the supply of natural gas to Ameren's 300,000 retail gas customers.

Unicom Corp. reported the acquisition of Bumler Heating and Specialties Inc., Detroit, Mich., and Building Automated Systems and Services, the seventh and eighth acquisitions in just over a year for Unicom Mechanical Services, a Unicom subsidiary. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Iowa's Muscatine Power and Water (MPW) has selected Tenaska Power Services Co. and Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) to perform marketing services for the state's largest municipal water and electricity utility, Tenaska reported. Under the agreement, the companies will market excess capacity and purchase supplemental supplies required by MPW and provide other related marketing services. Terms were not disclosed.

TNP Enterprises Inc. said it has chosen First Choice Power Inc. as the name for the new energy company to be spun off from its principal subsidiary, Texas-New Mexico Power Co. First Choice Power is being formed to prepare for electric competition, which will begin in Texas in January 2002. First Choice Power will be registered as a retail energy provider with the Public Utility Commission of Texas later this year, the company said. Legislation passed last year requires utilities to separate into at least three companies�power generation, power delivery, and energy sales and service�before 2002. After Jan. 1, 2002, Texas-New Mexico Power Co. will continue to deliver power to the customers it currently serves, but those customers can choose which retail energy provider they want to purchase power from. The delivery of power will be regulated, but power sales and service will be unregulated.

Coastal Corp. reported Engage Energy US LP has changed its name to Coastal Merchant Energy LP, effective Oct. 3. The name change coincides with the previously reported termination of the Engage Energy joint venture by units of Coastal and Westcoast Energy Inc. and the division of the operations into separate entities now owned and operated independently by each company.

Competitive Power Ventures Inc. said it has concluded a $51 million private equity financing commitment with Warburg Pincus Funds, an indirect wholly owned unit of Credit Suisse Group, and certain individual investors. Among the individual investors is Jacek Makowski, founder of J. Makowski Co., who will become a board member. The company was assisted in the financing by BNP Paribas Group. The company said it will focus on the development of 250-800 Mw power generating facilities. Power Ventures said it has five projects under development in Florida and Virginia, and over the next 3 years, intends to develop at least 10 projects in the US and Canada.

More in General Interest