Electric Power news briefs, Oct. 24

Oct. 24, 2001
Reliant Energy Inc. ... Constellation Nuclear ... AES Corp. ... Tennessee Valley Authority ... El Paso Corp. ... Badger Generating Co. ... Beacon Power Corp. ... Cox Communications ... FirstEnergy Corp. ... Mirant Corp. ... Avista Corp. ... SCANA Corp.

Reliant Energy Inc., Houston, said a special purpose company sold $748.9 million of asset-backed rate reduction bonds. The company said all-in costs were the lowest ever compared to previous similar transactions, but didn't reveal specific numbers on four tranches of debt.

The New York State Public Service Commission approved the sale of the Nine Mile nuclear generating station in New York to Constellation Nuclear, a unit of Constellation Energy Group Inc., of Baltimore for about $780 million. The purchase price for the 614 Mw Nine Mile 1 and 82% of the 1,142-Mw Nine Mile 2 were about $221 million and $559 million, respectively.

Qatar signed a joint venture agreement with AES Corp. to set up a $700 million private power and water project in the Gulf Arab state. Qatari Energy, Industry and Power Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, who signed the joint venture deal, said a syndicated loan would finance 80% of the project and equity would fund the rest. AES will hold a 55% stake, while majority privately-owned Qatar Electricity & Water Co. will hold a 25% stake, officials said.

The Tennessee Valley Authority said the board voted to reduce the value of the Watts Bar, Bellefonte, and the canceled Hartsville nuclear plants by $3.4 billion. The asset valuation adjustment will be charged against TVA's existing $3.7 billion in retained earnings. TVA also said it ended the 2001 fiscal year with revenue of nearly $7 billion, reflecting increased power sales and lower interest expense, and reduced debt by more than $600 million.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved ANR Pipeline's plan to construct a $19.5 million, 13-mile pipeline to carry natural gas for fueling a Badger Generating Co.'s proposed power plant in Kenosha, Wis. ANR is a unit of El Paso Corp., Houston, and Badger Generating is an affiliate of PG&E Corp.'s national energy group.

Beacon Power Corp., a maker of flywheel energy storage systems, reported installing a 2 kw-hr flywheel energy storage system for Cox Communications, an affiliate of Cox Enterprises Inc. The unit will supply back-up power for telecommunications needs at Quonset Davisville, a 3,000-acre intermodal, industrial, and commerce park in North Kingstown, RI.

FirstEnergy Corp., Akron, Ohio, said starting Nov. 1 it will offer military personnel deferred payment for customers of its electric utility operating companies while they are on active duty with the National Guard or Reserve. The program will allow qualified customers to defer all or part of their electric bills until they return from active duty. FirstEnergy offered a similar program in 1990 and 1991 during Operation Desert Storm.

Mirant Corp.,Atlanta, Ga., said it signed a letter of intent to acquire 50% of the 280 Mw Coyote Springs 2 power project from Avista Corp. The plant, currently under construction near Boardman, Ore., is scheduled to begin operating in mid-2002. The two companies will share equally in the costs of construction and operation of the plant and will jointly own the project. They will also will share equally in the marketing of the plant's output, the companies said. Pending regulatory approvals, the sale is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

SCANA Corp., Columbia, SC, said the South Carolina Public Service Commission approved South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.'s request for a 16% decrease in the purchased gas component of the utility's natural gas rates. For SCE&G customers, the rate reduction means natural gas prices will drop to 59¢/therm from 79¢/therm effective with November bills. The decrease follows an earlier 15% reduction in rates that went into effect in March.