Electric Power news briefs, August 31

FirstEnergy Corp. ... American Transmission Systems Inc. ... Duke Energy Corp. ... Caminus Corp. ... Nucleus Corp. of Texas ... Essential.com ... Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing Inc. ... Williams ... Shell Renewables Biomass ... Sala-Heby Energi AB


FirstEnergy Corp. reported its subsidiary American Transmission Systems Inc. will take control of its $1.2 billion high voltage transmission facilities in Pennsylvania and Ohio, effective Sept. 1. The decision is part of a move to split the company's regulated and unregulated businesses. The facilities to be transferred include 7,100 circuit miles of transmission lines with voltages of 69 kv and higher, and about 120 transmission substations with 37 interconnections with six other regional utilities. In December 1999, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved the formation of the Alliance Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), a for-profit organization that will own and operate the transmission systems of several companies. The Alliance RTO was proposed by FirstEnergy, American Electric Power Co. Inc., CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy subsidiary, DTE Energy Co.'s Detroit Edison subsidiary, and Dominion Resources Inc.'s Virginia Power subsidiary.

The Ohio Power Siting Board staff has recommended approval of Duke Energy Corp. affiliate Duke Energy Washington's plan to build a $220 million 620 Mw natural gas-fired electric generation plant near Beverly, Ohio. Electricity produced at the facility will be delivered to the electric grid via an existing electric transmission line that also crosses the property. The project will go before the Ohio Power Siting Board for consideration later this year. The board has recently approved seven combustion turbine generation projects, for a total of 2,795 Mw of new generation in Ohio. Of this, 1,100 Mw are currently operational. Additionally, the board is reviewing applications for another 5,030 Mw of generation capacity.

Caminus Corp., New York, reported it has completed the acquisition of Nucleus Corp. of Texas, Houston, for $19.6 million, consisting of $13.7 million in cash, 261,334 newly issued shares of common stock of Caminus, and issuance of stock options. Caminus CFO Mark Herman said Nucleus is projecting revenue of $3.5-4 million for the balance of 2000 and is expected to add 1� to Caminus' pro forma cash earnings in the fourth quarter. In 2001, he said the acquisition is expected to add a minimum of $10 million in revenue and 5�/share to Caminus's pro forma cash earnings.

Essential.com said it has entered into a reseller agreement with Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing Inc. Under the agreement, Essential.com will resell electricity supply from Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing, an unregulated affiliate of Niagara Mohawk Holdings, throughout the midAtlantic and Northeast regions. As a reseller of Niagara Mohawk Energy Marketing's electricity supply, Essential.com will provide customers with online billing, payment, and customer care.

A Williams unit reported it is holding an open season from Aug. 31 to Sept. 29 to determine shipper interest in incremental annual firm transportation service for the proposed Momentum expansion project. Momentum is a proposed expansion of the Transco pipeline system from Station 65 in Louisiana to Station 165 in Virginia designed to meet increasing natural gas demand in the southeastern US. The project is anticipated to be in service by May 1, 2003. Williams plans to file the Momentum Expansion Project with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during the second quarter of 2001. The level of market commitment will determine the cost, facilities, final capacity, and rates for the project.

Shell Renewables reported its first bio-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) plant with the establishment of a joint venture with Swedish utility company Sala-Heby Energi AB. The JV, called Sala-Heby Kraftv�e AB, will build and operate a 10 MWe and 22 MW plant, fueled entirely by wood residues from forestry and wood processing operations. The plant will supply heat to more than 500 homes in the town of Sala, Sweden, north of Stockholm. The use of bio-fuel is well established in Sweden, especially in district heating and CHP plants, says Shell. The energy source is supported by the Swedish government through financial incentives. Peter Langcake, head of Shell Renewables Biomass, said the CHP project is a first for the company, but the Royal Dutch/Shell Group has much experience in developing large engineering projects.

Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of Peoples Energy Corp., said eligible small commercial and industrial customers can begin choosing a natural gas supplier Sept.1, under the Choices For You program. More than 14,000 customers have participated in the program, which began as a pilot program. This is the first open enrollment where eligible customers have the option to enroll in the program on an ongoing basis. About 82,000 small commercial and industrial customers, all within the city of Chicago, are eligible for the enrollment. The six suppliers who are currently qualified to participate in the program include: Enron Energy Services, a unit of Enron Corp.; MidAmerican Energy Co.; Multiut Corp.; Nicor Energy LLC.; Peoples Energy Services; and Santanna Energy Services.

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