Electric Power news briefs, July 28

American Electric Power Co. ... Comision de Electricdad ... Panda Energy International Inc. ... Gulf States Pipeline ... BC Gas Inc. ... BC Hydro ... Bank of America ... DukeSolutions ... Cayuga Energy Inc. ... Energy East Corp. .... PEI Power Corp. ... Southern California Edison Co. ... Dynegy Inc. ... Williams ... NYSEG

For the first time, transfer of electricity between Mexico and the US can take now place without interrupting customers. A new electric tie links the transmission system of American Electric Power Co.(AEP) with the Mexican transmission system owned and operated by Mexico's Comisi�n Federal de Electricdad (CFE). The new "asynchronous" technology converts the formerly incompatible alternating currents (AC) of both countries to direct current (DC), according to the companies. AEP worked with CFE and the Electric Power Research Institute, the utility industry's science and technology organization, to develop, test, and install the tie. The 36 Mw DC tie will provide voltage support to Piedras Negras, Mexico, and Eagle Pass, Tex., while improving reliability of power delivery service between the two electric grids. ABB Power Systems was selected to develop the the back-to-back voltage source converter, know as "HVDC Light."

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission(FERC) has approved construction of a 42-mile, 30-in. interstate pipeline to connect Panda Energy International Inc.'s $ 1 billion, 7,200 Mw El Dorado merchant power plant, El Dorado, Ark., with gas producers in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Garry Hubbard, Panda senior vice-president, said Union Power Partners LP, Panda's project affiliate, and its pipeline affiliate, Trans-Union Interstate Pipeline LP, have signed interconnection and transportation agreements with Gulf States Pipeline, a unit of El Paso Energy Corp. The plant will use a maximum of 430,000 MMbtu/day of natural gas, Panda reported. The first phase of the project is scheduled to go on line in the spring of 2002.

BC Gas Inc., Vancouver, reported the board approved a memorandum of understanding to pursue the creation of two companies, on a joint 50-50 basis, with BC Hydro. The BC Hydro board agreed to the memorandum at an earlier meeting. One company will market nonregulated products and services to residential and small commercial customers, BC Gas said. The second company will manage all the customer billing, measurement, and call center services for both BC Hydro and BC Gas.

Bank of America and Duke Energy Corp. unit DukeSolutions have signed a 5-year contract under which DukeSolutions will provide energy supply information management at 4,800 Bank of America properties with about $110 million/year in energy expenses. Bank of America Corporate Real Estate and its facility partners, Trammell Crow Co., Dallas; Lincoln Property; Dallas; Jones Lang LaSalle, Chicago; Charles E. Smith Realty Company, Arlington, Va.; and CB Richard Ellis Services Inc., El Segundo, Calif.; will be able to analyze integrated energy information and take actions to maximize savings.

Cayuga Energy Inc., a unit of Energy East Corp., and PEI Power Corp., a subsidiary of Southern Union Co., have formed a joint venture company, PEI Power II LLC, to build and operate a 45 Mw peaking power plant near Scranton, Pa. PEI Power operates a 25 Mw electric and steam cogeneration plant that burns natural and landfill gases at the site. The new gas-fired merchant plant will serve growing demand for electricity in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland markets, the companies said.

In a case growing out of California's restructuring of the electric industry, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an 11.6% return for Southern California Edison Co., an Edison International company. FERC set aside an administrative law judge decision in awarding the company the full amount it requested. Ratemaking jurisdiction on transmission was transferred from the California Public Utilities Commission to FERC when SCE joined the California Independent System Operator and unbundled its rates. The commission reopened the case last year to develop further the record on the rate of return issue.

Dynegy Inc. said it has begun operations at the 800 Mw Rockingham power plant, a simple-cycle generating facility in Rockingham County, NC. Dynegy is supplying 600 Mw to Duke Power, a division of Duke Energy Corp. Under terms of a power purchase agreement, Duke Power will purchase 600 Me for 3� years beginning this month. Dynegy Marketing and Trade is marketing 200 Mw in the wholesale electricity market. Dynegy signed a long-term natural gas interconnection agreement with Williams in July 1999 to provide capacity for up to 222 MMcfd of gas.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved $1000/Mw-hr bid caps for wholesale electricity transactions throughout New York state in an order July 27. FERC agreed Wednesday to limit the price that generators may bid to sell their energy into the wholesale market through the summer period. The order stems from an Apr. 24 filing by NYSEG, a unit of Energy East Corp., that called for the caps in summer when prices are highest. �Volatile, irrational prices would doom competition,� says Michael German, NYSEG�s president and COO. German says the order will go a long way toward preserving and promoting retail competition in New York.

More in General Interest