Electric power news briefs, October 13

Southern Energy Potrero LLC ... Consumers Energy ... Michigan Electric Transmission Co. ... Open Access Technology International Inc. ... Avista Corp. ... Consumers Energy Co. ... Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. ... SEMCO Energy Gas Co. ... Brascan Corp. ... Great Lakes Power Inc. ... Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. ... Rotary Power International Inc. ... West-Con Drilling Supplies Ltd.


The California Energy Commission has begun the formal review of the proposed $260-$320 million, 540 mw, combined cycle natural gas-fired Potrero power plant scheduled to be operational by summer 2003. It is owned by Southern Energy Potrero LLC, a unit of Southern Energy of California. It would run in conjunction with an existing 206 mw steam turbine and three 52 Mw combustion turbines. The existing plant was purchased by Southern Energy of California from PG&E Corp. in April 1999.

Consumers Energy, a unit of CMS Energy Corp., filed a request Friday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to transfer its electric transmission system assets to a new subsidiary, Michigan Electric Transmission Co.(Michigan Transco). The proposed transfer is the first step in Consumers Energy's plan to sell or transfer control of its transmission business to a party which meets the requirements of FERC Order 2000. After the transfer is completed, Consumers will function solely as a generation and distribution company taking service from Michigan Transco under FERC-approved transmission tariffs. Separately, CMS Energy said it anticipates third quarter earnings, to be released Oct. 26, will be 10-15% higher than the company's previous guidance of 40�/share. It attributed the improvement to favorable power transactions and cost reductions.

Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has selected Open Access Technology International Inc. (OATI), Minneapolis, Minn., to supply an integrated, web-enabled, electronic scheduling service for the transmission-owning members of SPP, OATI said. These e-commerce systems will enable SPP to manage the electrical energy marketplace demands of its approximately 50 members. OATI Tagging service is used to document energy transactions and transmission system reservations and is used by about 98% of the transmission operators in the Eastern Interconnection of the North American power grid, the company said.

Avista Corp. said it expects to report significant positive earnings for the third quarter on Oct. 25, well above consensus estimates, which had forecast a loss. The company attributed improved financial performance to better than anticipated earnings by Avista Energy, its nonregulated energy trading subsidiary. Additionally, expected losses at the utility will be mitigated by an accounting order in Washington that allows Avista Utilities to defer excess purchased power costs incurred through mid-2001, the company said.

The Michigan Public Service Commission has adopted terms and conditions for providing permanent gas customer choice programs for residential and commercial customers. Previously, the commission had approved voluntary natural gas choice pilot programs for Consumers Energy Co., a unit of CMS Energy Corp.; Michigan Consolidated Gas Co.; and SEMCO Energy Gas Co. These companies provide natural gas to about 94% of the retail natural gas customers in Michigan. The commission order also directs additional services offered by the major Michigan gas utilities should be considered for customer choice within 1 year of the order and the staff should develop a customer education program in conjunction with major stakeholders.

Robert Harding, chairman of Brascan Corp., Toronto, said the company plans to proceed with the $75 million, 45 Mw High Falls power station project on the Michipicoten River near Wawa in northern Ontario. The High Falls project will contain two hydroelectric generating turbines and be capable of producing 70% of its power output on-peak. The High Falls project is one of nine acquisition or power development opportunities currently undergoing feasibility study by Brascan's 93%-owned affiliate Great Lakes Power Inc.

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. (MISO) said it is issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) for an independent third party market monitor. The independent market monitor will work with the Midwest ISO staff, the transmission owners, suppliers of generation, federal and state regulators, consumer interest groups, and environmentalists, MISO said. Proposals must be submitted to the Midwest ISO no later than Nov. 15. The Midwest ISO will announce top candidates in mid-December with selection, subject to board approval, made by mid-January.

Conway Davis, CEO of Rotary Power International Inc., and William Hayes, CEO of West-Con Drilling Supplies Ltd., jointly reported signing a letter of intent under which West-Con would purchase up to 50 model 2116RG 2 rotor 580 Series gaseous-fueled rotary engines and generator sets. Upon the demonstration meeting acceptable parameters, West-Con said it intends to purchase up to 50 more rotary engines and generator sets having a total value to Rotary of about $5.5 million.

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