Electric Power news briefs, November 9

UtiliCorp United Inc. ... Western Gas Resources Inc. ... KeySpan Corp. ... Eastern Enterprises ... EnergyNorth ... TNPC Inc. ... Consumers Energy Co. ... Nuclear Management Co. ... Ameren Corp. ... Midwest Independent System Operator ... Alliance Pipeline LP ... Florida Power & Light Co. .... Bonneville Power Administration ... South Jersey Gas Co.


UtiliCorp United Inc. reported earnings of $74.9 million or 80�/share on sales of $8 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, up from earnings $42.5 million or 46�/share on sales of $6.5 billion in the comparable 1999 quarter. The company attributed the increase to increased contributions from Aquila Energy and international businesses. UtiliCorp said it expects full year 2000 earnings per share will be about 20% higher than the $1.75/share earned in 1999.

Western Gas Resources Inc. reported net income of $14.5 million or 36�/share fully diluted on revenue of $909.8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, up from net income of $1.1 million or a loss of 5�/share on revenue of $505.6 million for the same period in 1999. The company said the third quarter 2000 results included an aftertax gain of $2.4 million from the sale of the Arkoma gathering system and an aftertax extraordinary loss of $1.7 million incurred in connection with the early repayment of long-term debt. Exclusive of these items, the company had net income of $13.8 million or 34�/share on a fully diluted basis.

KeySpan Corp. said it completed acquisition of Eastern Enterprises, Weston, Mass., and EnergyNorth, Manchester, NH. KeySpan now has assets of more than $10 billion and projected annual revenues of $5 billion, resulting primarily from the consolidation of six utilities in New York and New England. KeySpan said it expects the acquisition to yield pretax savings of about $40 million/year.

TNPC Inc., parent of the New Power Co., reported a net loss of $69.9 million or $2.96/share on revenue of $18.2 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000. The national natural gas and electricity retailer said revenue was in line with expectations. The company completed its initial public offering on Oct. 5, 2000. For the fourth quarter, New Power said it has set a revenue goal of about $60-$63 million and yearend customer count of about 340,000.

Consumers Energy Co., a unit of CMS Energy Corp., said it signed an agreement, subject to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval, to become a partner in Nuclear Management Co. (NMC), Hudson, Wis., and will transfer operational responsibility of its 789 Mw Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven, Mich., to NMC. NMC was formed by four upper Midwest utilities in February 1999 to operate seven nuclear units at five plant sites in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. With Consumers Energy as a partner, NMC will have responsibility for operating eight units with 4,500 Mw of generating capacity.

Following on the heels of Illinois Power Co. and Commonwealth Edison Co., Ameren Corp. said it plans to withdraw from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) and to become a member of the Alliance Regional Transmission Organization (Alliance RTO), pending the necessary regulatory approvals. Regional transmission organizations, including independent system operators, are entities established to insure comparable and nondiscriminatory access to regional electric transmission systems.

Alliance Pipeline LP, Calgary, reported it has deferred a commercial in-service date to the end of November. CEO Norm Gish said commissioning activities are continuing and most debris has been removed from the line, but periodic reductions in the flow of test gas due to debris have complicated integration and concurrent commissioning at the Aux Sable liquid products processing facility near Chicago. He said the system is flowing at about 40-50% of capacity.

FPL Group Inc. unit, Florida Power & Light Co. said the first of six new combustion turbines was successfully placed in service this month at the Fort Myers power plant, part of a conversion from oil burning units to natural gas. The turbines will enter service first as simple cycle units, at the rate of one per month through June 2001. By 2002, all the turbines will be reconfigured as combined cycle units. Plans call for the repowered Fort Myers plant to produce 1,400 Mw of power and to be fully operational by mid-2002.

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) said it proposed a 15% surcharge through Oct. 1, 2001, to cover the cost of purchased power because customer demand under new 10-year wholesale contracts is so strong the agency must buy power on the open market to augment its supply. BPA said it signed new wholesale contracts last week with more than 130 northwest utilities and industries. Those agreements pushed the agency's total firm energy load to 11,000 Mw�more than agency predictions and nearly 3,000 Mw more than the federal Columbia River power system can generate on a firm basis.

South Jersey Gas Co., a unit of South Jersey Industries Inc., said it received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to boost residential customers' gas bills by19%/year, reflecting higher wholesale natural gas prices. The rate will increase to 94�/therm from 78�/therm. The BPU also authorized the company to raise rates again by 2% in December and by another 2% in January. South Jersey Gas must also file in early December to substantiate any additional increases, to ensure its rate reflects market conditions for February, March, and April. Separately, the company reported 354 union employees represented by District 1 Lodge of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers locals S95 and S76 initiated a work stoppage. Their contract expired at midnight, Nov. 7.

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