Electric Power news briefs, October 27

El Paso Merchant Energy ... International Paper Co. ... CMS Energy Corp. ... Peoples Energy ... Laclede Gas Co. ... WPS Power Development Inc. .... Sierra Pacific Power Co. ... ISO New England Inc. ... New York Independent System Operator ... Ontario Independent Electric Market Operator


The California Energy Commission earlier this week voted to begin the power plant licensing process for the United Golden Gate power project, a 51 Mw simple cycle power plant proposed for a site at the San Francisco International Airport. The project is the first to be accepted for expedited review by the commission under AB 970, the California Energy Security and Reliability Act signed by Gov. Gray Davis Sept. 6. Only simple cycle plants that present no significant adverse environmental impact, and are equipped with best air emissions control technology are eligible for the fast-track review process. The plants will lose their license to operate, unless they converted into combined cycle power plants within 3 years. The project owner, El Paso Merchant Energy, a unit of El Paso Energy Corp., is also proposing a 570 Mw combined cycle power plant at the same location.

International Paper Co. has completed the $12 million purchase of CMS Energy Corp.'s 12.5% ownership interest in the 58.8 Mw Curtis/Palmer hydroelectric generating project in Corinth, NY, CMS reported. Its electric output is under a long-term contract to Niagara Mohawk Power Co. With the sale, CMS Energy has completed about $870 million of cash proceeds and balance sheet debt reductions to date as part of its asset optimization program.

Peoples Energy reported net income of $86.4 million, or $2.44/share, on operating revenue of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2000, compared to net income of $92.6 million, or $2.61/share on revenue of $1.1 billion in the prior year. The company reported a loss of $11.4 million, or 32�/share, including a nonrecurring charge for a mercury remediation program, on revenue of $219.1 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of $3.8 million or 11�/share on revenue of $171.1 million in the prior year quarter. Operating results for both periods include $16.1 Operating results for both periods include $16.1 million in total anticipated costs for the mercury inspection and remediation program in the company's gas distribution business.

Laclede Gas Co. said it will seek regulatory authorization to reorganize its corporate structure to form a holding company known as The Laclede Group Inc. Under the new structure, Laclede Gas would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Laclede Group Inc., but would continue to operate as a regulated natural gas distribution utility. Existing corporate subsidiaries of Laclede Gas�Laclede Energy Resources Inc., Laclede Venture Corp., Laclede Development Co., Laclede Investment Corp., Laclede Gas Family Services Inc., and Laclede Pipeline Co.�would become subsidiaries of The Laclede Group Inc., and would remain unregulated.

WPS Power Development Inc., a unit of WPS Resources Inc. has agreed to buy the 525 Mw Tracy/Pinon power station for $249.8 million from Sierra Pacific Power Co., a unit of Sierra Pacific Resources, said Sierra Pacific. In conjunction with the purchase, Sierra Pacific Power negotiated the right to buy energy and ancillary services from WPS Power Development for agreed upon prices, subject to a collar, from closing up until March 1, 2003, at a cost ranging from $80 million to $150 million based on time of closing. The sale of the generation assets is a regulatory condition of the merger of Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power, which was completed in July 1999.

Annual charges to recover the cost of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) electricity regulatory program will now be based solely on the volume of electricity transmitted by public utilities than by assessing charges on both jurisdictional power sales and transmission volume, FERC ruled Wednesday. The charges will be based on the megawatt-hours of unbundled transmission service�both wholesale and retail�and on bundled wholesale power sales, including a transmission component., the agency said.

ISO New England Inc., the New York Independent System Operator, and the Ontario Independent Electric Market Operator said they have selected the joint consulting team of LEGG and KEMA Consulting to perform a feasibility study for a regional day-ahead wholesale electric market. Completion of the first phase of the study is expected in May 2001.

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