Electric Power news briefs, October 25

Cloverland Electric Cooperative ... Hydro-Qu�c ... Neiman Marcus Group ... Silicon Energy Corp. ... RTO West ... Hawaiian Electric Industries ... Florida Progress Corp. ... PPL Corp. ... Scana Corp. ... Conectiv ... FirstEnergy Corp. ... Southern Union Co. ... Consumers Energy Co. ... MDU Resources Group ... MDU Resources Group ... Westinghouse Electric ... STP Nuclear Operating Co. ... PECO Energy ... Energy Ventures Inc. ... Alberta Research Council ... NRG Energy ... El Paso Energy


The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a settlement agreement and authorized Cloverland Electric Cooperative to refund $323,934 to its monthly member-customers and $33,690 to its seasonal member-customers through billing credits. The commission approved the refunds because Cloverland overcollected from its member-customers for its power supply costs from Jan.1-Dec. 31, 1999.

Canada's Hydro-Qu�c reported subsidiary, Hydro-Qu�c International, has acquired the assets of Chile's Transelec. The Chilean transmission company supplies energy to local distributors serving 93% of Chile's electricity users, including many of its residential customers. Its network, which supplies the country's capital and other main cities, has some 7,276 km of transmission lines. Company assets are valued at $1 billion (US) and revenues for 2000 are expected to be about $146 million.

Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Group Inc. has selected Silicon Energy Corp.'s energy technology software to better control costs and risks across its nationwide locations, Silicon reported.. Silicon Energy's technology will allow Neiman Marcus to collect precise load profile information nationwide and review up-to-date energy consumption profiles at any time. With this information, Neiman Marcus will be able to help prevent energy waste and store data for use in negotiating rates, the company said.

An analysis by California Energy Commission staff says the proposed $550 million, 1,056 Mw gas-fired Mountainview power project in San Bernardino County complies with required rules governing siting of power plants in the state. The proposed plant is still subject to public hearings and review by the commission.

Nine electric utilities serving eight western states with some 50,000 miles of transmission lines have submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to form a regional transmission organization (RTO) to be called RTO West. The nine members of RTO West are Avista Corp., the Bonneville Power Administration, Idaho Power, Montana Power Co., PacifiCorp. Portland General Electric Co., Puget Sound Energy, and Sierra Pacific Resources. As proposed, RTO West will operate the transmission systems for all participating transmission owners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Montana, Wyoming, and California, but ownership will remain separate.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. reported net income for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2000 of $22 million, or 68�/share on revenue of $445.9 million, compared with $21.6 million, or 67�/share on revenue of $392.5, in the same quarter of 1999. Strong results from utilities and savings bank offset higher losses from the international power group, the company said. Utility net income was up 23% and savings bank net income was up 15%. Meanwhile, the deterioration of the Philippine peso and higher fuel prices hurt international power operations, said Robert F. Clarke, HEI chairman.

Florida Progress Corp. reported third-quarter 2000 earnings of $150.3 million, or $1.53/share on revenue of $1.3 billion, compared with 1999 third-quarter earnings of $137.3 million, or $1.40/share on revenue of $1.1 billion. Reported earnings for the 2000 third quarter include aftertax charges of $13 million, or 13�/share, related to a proposed lawsuit settlement and merger transaction costs. In addition, third-quarter results include a reduction in income taxes, which increased net income $16.8 million, or 17�/share. Last year's third-quarter results included aftertax charges of $5 million for merger transaction costs and a $6 million income tax reduction, which increased net income for the quarter. The current estimate of year 2000 operating earnings is $3.65-$3.70/share, the company said.

PPL Corp. reported third quarter 2000 net income, excluding nonrecurring items, rose to $124 million, or 81�/share on revenue of $1.5 billion, compared to net income of $89 million or 55�/share on revenue of $1.4 billion reported in the year ago quarter. PPL also announced its 2002 earnings forecast of between $3.55-$3.65/share, a range that reflects an approximate 11% increase over its 2001 forecast of $3.20-$3.30/share. The company attributed its 2002 forecast to higher margins on energy transactions; increased wholesale electricity supply; new natural gas-powered plants in Arizona, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania; and higher international earnings.

Scana Corp. said consolidated earnings for the third quarter of 2000 were $59 million, or 56�/share on revenue of $816 million, compared with earnings of $67 million, or 65�/share, on revenue of $558 million in the third quarter of 1999. Earnings for 1999 quarter include a nonrecurring gain of 5�/share. Lower 2000 third quarter earnings reflect the impact of milder weather on electric utility operations and a seasonal loss at subsidiary PSNC Energy, which more than offset significantly improved results in the Georgia retail natural gas business, the company said. Scana estimated full year 2000 earnings will be $2.00-$2.10/share. For 2001, the company estimates that earnings from operations will be $2.15-$2.25/share.

Conectiv reported that third quarter 2000 net income before nonrecurring items slipped to $89.6 million from $91.8 million in 1999's third quarter. A drop in average shares outstanding to 82.7 million from 87.7 million boosted earnings per share to $1.01 from 95�/share a year earlier. Including nonrecurring items in the third quarter of 1999, Wilmington-based Conectiv had a net loss of $253.2 million, or $2.89/share. Third-quarter revenues increased 43% to $1.55 billion, primarily as a result of Conectiv's wholesale energy marketing and trading business and the effects of strong economic growth in southern New Jersey and the Delmarva peninsula.

Citizen Power, a regional watchdog organization, said is appealing the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) decision to approve the FirstEnergy Corp.'s transition plan to the Ohio Supreme Court. PUC rules will allow FirstEnergy to avoid reducing customer bills up to $500 million, if 20% of its customers don't switch to another supplier by 2003. The risk of not reaching the 20% threshold is minimal because the competition plan PUCO approved will allow First Energy Services to sell power from FirstEnergy's plants at a cheaper price than FirstEnergy's operating companies and most competitors can match, said Citizen.

Southern Union Co. reported a net loss of $12.2 million or 25�/share on revenue of $144.5 million for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, 2000, compared with a net loss of $6.1 million or 19�/share on revenue of $84.8 million for the same period in 1999. The increase in net loss during the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, reflects the consolidation of Pennsylvania Enterprises Inc. and seasonal factors, the company said.

The Michigan Public Service Commission approved Consumers Energy Co.'s Oct. 17 application for a voluntary, expanded natural gas customer choice program. Under the expanded program, beginning Apr. 1, 2001, up to 600,000 Consumers Energy natural gas customers will be eligible to participate in the program. Effective Apr. 1, 2002, up to 900,000 natural gas customers will be able to participate, and on Apr. 1, 2003, all Consumer Energy natural gas customers may select an alternate natural gas supplier.

MDU Resources Group Inc. reported earnings of $39.8 million or 63�/share on revenue of $530.8 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30,2000, compared to $28.9 million or 52�/share on revenue of $375.6 million for the same period in 1999. The company said it expect earnings from operations for 2001in the $1.90-$2.00/share range.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, DPL Inc. reported net income of $66.7 million, or 55�/share on revenue of $355.5 million, compared to net income of $53.6 million, or 36�/share on revenue of $331.3 million for the same period in 1999. 2000 is a transition year for DPL and during the third quarter, the Company amortized the remaining $21 million of the $50 million original issue trust preferred discount associated with its recapitalization. Additionally, DPL recorded a nonrecurring aftertax charge of $41.4 million, reflecting its final transition order. These non-cash charges reduced earnings in the 2000 period to 10�/share.

Westinghouse Electric Co.and STP Nuclear Operating Co., a unit of Reliant Energy Inc., have reached a agreement calling for Westinghouse to provide nuclear fuel fabrication services for units 1 and 2 of the South Texas nuclear project, Westinghouse reported. Under the $250 million contract, Westinghouse will supply fuel to both 1,250 Mw pressurized water reactors through the end of their licenses.

PECO Energy Co. reported earnings of $239 million before nonrecurring charges, or $1.41/share, on revenue of $1.6 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, compared to $235 million, or $1.25/share, on revenue of $1.7 billion, for the same period of 1999. Earnings after these extraordinary and special items were $234 million, or $1.38/share for the 2000 third quarter, compared to $228 million, or $1.22/share in the year ago quarter.

Energy Ventures Inc. (EVI) said it has signed a nonbinding letter-of-intent with the Alberta Research Council Inc. (ARC) to enter into a $3 million (Can.), 3-year joint venture to develop EVI's Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC). In return for this investment ARC will receive common share equity and warrants in EVI, the company said. Start-up in early January 2001 is anticipated.

NRG Energy Inc. reported for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, net income was $88.6 million or 49�/share, compared to $27.6 million or 19�/share on a share-adjusted basis for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 1999. Revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000 was $624.8 million vs. $170.4 million in the same quarter in 1999. NRG's earnings continued to benefit from increased generation capacity due to a number of recently acquired generation assets, the company said. Since Sept. 30, 1999, NRG has increased its net megawatt ownership interest in generating facilities in operation by 112%, from 6,719 Mw to 14,216 Mw as of Sept. 30, 2000.

El Paso Energy Corp.reported net income of $137 million or 57�/cents/share fully diluted on revenue of $7 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2000, compared to net income of $39 million or 17�/share on revenue of $3.2 billion in the comparable year ago quarter. The company said it is experiencing strong growth in its merchant energy group, including higher margins for power sales and trading in certain markets, and strong demand for long-term fuel management services and risk management activity for merchant power plants.

Capstone Turbine Corp. said it filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed public offering of 7 million shares of its common stock. Of the shares, 6 million shares are to be offered by selling stockholders and 1 million by Capstone. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Credit Suisse First Boston will lead manage the underwriting group with Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter serving as comanagers.

TEHERAN�Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Mohammad Maleki, in a meeting with Georg Bachenbach, the deputy minister of economy and energy of the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, discussed ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation in the development of power plants, the English language daily 'Iran' reported. Quoting sources in the Tavanir power group, which is affiliated with the ministry, the publication said Bachenbach expressed readiness to construct 12 steam power plants in Iran.

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