Electric Power news briefs, June 7

PG&E ... Columbia Energy ... PEPCO ... WBI Holdings ... MDU Resources Group ... Kinder Morgan ... SCANA Corp.


PG&E Corp.'s National Energy Group has signed a 14�-year tolling agreement with Liberty Electric Power LLC, a unit of Columbia Electric Corp. Under the terms of the agreement, PG&E National Energy Group has signed a contract with Liberty for long-term capacity rights at Liberty's 530 Mw natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle Liberty Electric Power Project in suburban Philadelphia. PG&E National Energy Group Pres. Lyn Maddox said the transaction makes National Group one of the "fastest growing spark spread managers in North America." Columbia Electric Corp., a subsidiary of Columbia Energy Group, is an unregulated electric generation company.

Prompted by public concern over two recent manhole fires that led to power outages, Potomac Electric Power Co., Washington, DC, said it will hire outside experts to evaluate electricity distribution in Georgetown. While the company is committed to inspecting equipment in manholes and testing new vented covers, company executives said, the additional measures are in order. Based on the results of the evaluation, substantial improvements in the infrastructure may be necessary for the future, the company said. Cables involved in the underground fire in Georgetown June 4 have been removed and tagged in preparation for extensive examination by forensic experts. The fire in a manhole on M Street and Thomas Jefferson Place left 1,900 customers without power for most of that day.

WBI Holdings Inc., the natural gas pipeline unit of MDU Resources Group Inc., has reached an agreement to purchase more than 1,000 miles of gathering lines and a natural gas processing facility from Kinder Morgan Inc. The assets are in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska and include three gathering systems: the Bowdoin system in north-central Montana, the Niobrara system in northeastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas, and the Yenter system in northeastern Colorado. Included in the acquisition is the Yenter plant, a natural gas processing facility northwest of Sterling, Colo.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., principal subsidiary of SCANA Corp., said it has sold to PaineWebber and Banc of America Securities LLC in a negotiated offering $150 million principal amount of 7.50% first mortgage bonds due June 15, 2005. The bonds are being offered to the public at 99.573% to yield 7.604% to maturity. The bonds were priced to SCE&G at 98.973%, resulting in a cost of money of 7.751%. SCE&G will use the net proceeds to refinance existing long-term debt, repay short-term debt, and for general corporate purposes.

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