Electric Power news briefs Dec. 13

SouthWestern Power Group II ... Xcel Energy Inc. ... Williams Cos. Inc. ... Dynegy Inc. ... Cinergy Corp. ... CalEnergy ... Southern California Edison Co. ... Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP ... Trailblazer Pipeline Co. ... NorthWestern Corp. ... Kelly Group LLC ... Pacific Gas & Electric Co. ... FirstEnergy Corp. ... GasNet

The Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee certified a proposed gas-fired 1,000 Mw electric generating plant to be built by Bowie Power Station LLC, a unit of SouthWestern Power Group II, Phoenix. To be built near Bowie, Ariz., the plant is expected to begin operating in 2004. The application still must be approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has contracted to buy electricity for 30 facilities from a unit of Xcel Energy Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., Xcel said. The $14 million contract, which runs through Aug. 31, 2003, marks the first substantial agreement for retail power by a state department under the recently deregulated energy marketplace in Texas, the company reported.

A unit of Williams Cos. Inc., Tulsa, Okla., reported completing facilities to transport natural gas to the 500 Mw Bluegrass generation facility being built by Dynegy Inc., Houston, near Louisville, Ky. Scheduled to begin operating in the second quarter of 2002, the plant will be able to receive up to 165,000 decatherms/day of natural gas.

Cinergy Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio, reported pricing an offering of $275 million of convertible securities with an overallotment option of $41 million. The offering was increased from an initial $250 million due to strong investor demand, the company said. The net proceeds of the offering will be used to repay a portion of Cinergy's short-term indebtedness.

CalEnergy, a unit of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., said it refiled a lawsuit in Imperial County Superior Court in California seeking to force Southern California Edison Co., a unit of Edison International, to meet the terms of agreements it signed to purchase electricity from CalEnergy's geothermal plants. CalEnergy dropped the lawsuit last week after Edison agreed to pay the past-due amount and begin paying alternative energy generators according to its June agreement, CalEnergy said, but the company alleges Southern California Edison reneged on the deal.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, Houston, reported signing a definitive agreement to increase its ownership in Trailblazer Pipeline Co. to 100% by acquiring a 33.3% interest from Enron Trailblazer Pipeline Co. for $68 million in cash. Kinder Morgan already operates the 436-mile natural gas interstate pipeline that runs from Rockport, Colo., to Beatrice, Neb. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2002, subject to approval by the court overseeing the Enron bankruptcy.

NorthWestern Corp. said it signed a limited notice to proceed with Kelly Group LLC, Vancouver, Wash., to handle engineering, procurement, and construction for the $140 million Montana First Megawatts Project, a 240 Mw combined cycle, gas-fired electricity generating facility, being built near Great Falls, Mont. The first phase of the project is scheduled to be in commercial operation by the summer 2002, the company said.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Francisco, reported filing a motion in US Bankruptcy Court asking for permission to settle prepetition claims, including all of those under $100,000. The company said 12,800 claims have been filed, with 80% of them for less than $100,000. The utility said it believes it can resolve a arge number of disputed claims with a minimum of judicial time and estate resources. The court scheduled a Dec. 27 hearing on the motions.

FirstEnergy Corp., Akron, Ohio, said it completed the initial public offering of its Australian subsidiary GasNet, which was acquired through FirstEnergy's merger with the former GPU Inc. The sale will immediately reduce FirstEnergy's consolidated debt by $290 million of GasNet-related debt. Additionally, $125 million of net proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt, primarily at FirstEnergy's US utility operating companies, the company said.

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