Electric Power news briefs, October 9

Unicom Energy Inc. ... AGL Resources Inc. ... Virginia Natural Gas ... Westcoast Energy Inc. ... Engage Energy Canada LP .... Edison Sault Electric Co. ... Southern California Edison Co. ... San Diego Gas & Electric Co. ... Frost & Sullivan

Michigan Public Service Commission said it granted Unicom Energy Inc. a license as an alternative electric supplier to sell electric generation service to Michigan retail customers, the eighth approved under the Customer Choice and Electricity Reliability Act of 2000. The new law allows most retail customers of electric utilities to choose an alternative supplier by Jan. 1, 2002.

AGL Resources Inc. said it has closed on its $533 million acquisition of Virginia Natural Gas, making AGL the second-largest natural gas-only distributor in the US, serving nearly 1.8 million customers. AGL Resources successfully bid for Virginia Natural Gas and announced the acquisition on May 8, 2000. Henry P. (Hank) Linginfelter, a 17-year veteran of Atlanta Gas Light Co., will be the new president of Virginia Natural Gas. The utility was divested by Richmond-based Dominion Resources Inc. as a condition for its acquisition of Consolidated Natural Gas Co.

Westcoast Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC, reported it has acquired 100% of the ownership and control of, Engage Energy Canada LP, as well as the Engage US power business based in Michigan and the Engage gas and power business in the U.S. In the US, Westcoast has established Engage Energy America Corp (Engage America), a 100% owned affiliate headquartered in Southfield, Mich., to focus on the US Midwest, the US Northeast, the Great Lakes, and the US Pacific North regions, in both gas and power, the company reported.

The Michigan Public Service Commission ordered Edison Sault Electric Co. to file, within 30 days, detailed and complete answers to questions on its plan to provide reliable electrical service to Mackinac Island. The order is part of a proceeding to investigate the electric service provided by Edison Sault following a series of widespread and sometimes lengthy electricity outages on Mackinac Island this summer. Issues to be addressed include: the status and installation of the replacement cable to be used for supply from St. Ignace; the company's plans to provide for the health and safety of its customers on the island; and the cost and availability of temporary generators for the upcoming winter.

Unit 2 of the San Onofre nuclear generating station (SONGS) Unit 2 was shut down Oct. 7 for a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, officials reported. During the outage workers will replace 100 of the Unit 2 reactor's 217 uranium fuel assemblies and do other necessary maintenance. Located in northern San Diego County, SONGS is operated by Southern California Edison Co. and is jointly owned by SCE, 75%; San Diego Gas & Electric Co., 20%; and the cities of Riverside and Anaheim, 5%. The nuclear plant's two operating units produce about 2,200 Mw of electric.

India's uninterruptible electric power supply (UPS) market will reach a forecasted $590.2 million, according to a report by consultants Frost & Sullivan. Many Indian grid-based power projects fail to meet the demand for good and clean power from large companies in information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services, researchers said. Growth in such industries such as telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing firms, and small business are adding pressure on the weak power infrastructure. But most companies cannot afford to wait until power transmissions improve, Frost & Sullivan said. IT usage in India is expanding so rapidly that current power supply and transmission facilities in most regions will soon be unable to support the needs of most companies, says Frost & Sullivan industry expert Manoj John.

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