Electric Power news briefs, December 21

Wisconsin Power & Light Co. ... AES Corp. ... Gener ... Equity Oil Co. ... Washington Gas ... SCANA Corp. ... Fayetteville Public Works Commission ... Avista Corp. ... International Power PLC ... UIL Holdings Corp. ... Enron North America ... New York Power Authority ... Energy USA Retail Inc. ... Cinergy Corp. ... Duquesne Light Co. ... Orion Power Holdings Inc. ... AES Ekibastuz ... RAO UES ... Aare-Tessin AG f�r Elektrizit�... Swiss Federal Railways


Wisconsin Power & Light Co. (WP&L), a unit of Alliant Energy Corp., has asked state regulators to increase electric rates to recover higher fuel and wholesale power costs, which it projects will exceed by $73 million the amount included in 2001 retail electric rates. If the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin allows the increase, the typical residential customer's bill will rise $4.48/month beginning early in 2001. WP&L's fuel and purchased power costs for 2000 were nearly $7 million dollars more than projected. The company is not seeking to recover the 2000 costs at this time.

AES Corp. said the Santiago Stock Exchange auction transaction in connection with AES's offer to purchase 3.5 billion shares of Gener SA common stock is scheduled Dec. 28. AES also said it extended until 3 p.m. Dec. 29 the expiration date of its offer to exchange all American Depositary Shares of Gener SA for AES common stock having a value of $16.50/ADS. As of the close of business Dec. 19, 11,407,276 ADSs had been tendered and not withdrawn pursuant to the exchange offer.

Equity Oil Co., Salt Lake City, reported it is receiving a record $13.95/MMbtu for its gas sales in California for the month of December. The higher gas price in California is accompanied by increased production from Equity's wells in the Sacramento Basin. California net gas production for the third quarter of 2000 averaged 2 MMcfd.

Washington Gas, a unit of WGL Holdings Inc., said it requested authority from the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia to credit $11.1 million to district customers at a time of unprecedented increases in natural gas prices. If approved, a one-time credit of $50 on average will be applied to customers' bills in February 2001. The $11.1 million available for refund to customers results from accumulated funds that have been maintained by Washington Gas in accordance with terms of its last full rate case. The company said is not proposing a similar credit for customers in Maryland and Virginia because different rules are in place in those jurisdictions.

SCANA Corp. said the Fayetteville Public Works Commission (PWC) voted to withdraw from contract negotiations with SCANA for construction and joint ownership of a $265 milllion 500 Mw natural gas-fired electric generating facility. The city withdrew unless SCANA assumed a greater portion of the potential financial risk if the project is not completed on time. On Nov.10, the PWC and SCANA reported signing of a memorandum of understanding to participate 60-40, respectively, in the facility. The agreement also included construction of a $90 million 106-mi, 16-in. natural gas transmission pipeline from SCANA's pipeline system in South Carolina to Fayetteville.

Avista Corp. reported it expects fourth quarter diluted earnings will likely exceed 50�/share, higher than consensus estimates. It attributed the improved financial performance to volatility in energy markets which has led to better than anticipated earnings by its nonregulated energy trading subsidiary, Avista Energy. Avista said this will help offset losses at Avista Utilities, which continues to be affected by cold weather and higher loads. Increased loads have led to higher purchased power costs, which are not currently being recovered from customers or included in power cost deferrals.

International Power PLC and the government of Pakistan have reached a settlement resolving a 3-year tariff dispute over electricity produced at the 1,200 Mw (net) Hub power project (HUBCO), in which International Power has a 25.7% equity interest. In a typical year, the revised agreement is expected to generate a cash flow of �10 million to International Power. In addition, there will be a receivable due to HUBCO reflecting past underpayment for electricity. One third of the receivable will be paid March 31, 2001. The balance will be paid in six semiannual installments, with interest, International Power said.

UIL Holdings Corp. cut its 2000 earnings estimate to $4.05-$4.15/share from $4.25-$4.35/share and affirmed its 2001 estimate at $4.05-$4.25/share. UIL said the cost of the Seabrook nuclear outage extension will be 65�/share, of which 70% will be booked in 2001 and 30% in 2001. Problems with a back-up diesel generator have extended the plant's return to service until the end of January 2001.

Enron North America,a unit of Enron Corp., reported it received approval from the California Energy Commission (CEC) for its 750-Mw 508 Mw Pastoria energy facility (PEF) in Kern County. With 2,000 Mw of additional new projects under development in California, the company said it is committed to the California market and to the continued development of new power plant projects in the state.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) said it selected a Staten Island site for a 44 Mw gas turbine generator, one of 10 it plans to install in New York City by June 2001 to help avert potential price spikes. The 1-acre Pouch Terminal site replaces a location that NYPA had been considering adjacent to Consolidated Edison Co.'s Fox Hills substation. New York Power Authority trustees authorized acquisition of the new site, which is owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

TNPC Inc., the parent of the New Power Co., said it signed an agreement to acquire the customers and related assets of Energy USA Retail Inc., a subsidiary of NiSource Inc. The assets include 34,000 retail gas customers of Columbia Gas of Ohio and Northern Indiana Public Service Co., related gas inventory and supply and transportation contracts.

Cinergy Corp. reported it expects 2000 earnings to be in line with consensus estimates of $2.55/share. The company also reported that its 2001 earnings are expected to increase 8%, compared with 2000, primarily as a result of growth in its energy merchant business. This 8% growth translates to $2.75/share in 2001, about 10�/share above current consensus estimates.

Duquesne Light Co. extended an agreement with Orion Power Holdings Inc. for Orion to serve as provider of last report to Duquesne in Duquesne's territory. The agreement calls for Orion Power to supply Duquesne with 100% of its requirements to meet its customers' electric power needs. Orion Power intends to meet its obligations through the use of its Pennsylvania and Ohio generating facilities acquired from Duquesne earlier this year. If necessary, Orion Power will supplement the output of those facilities though the use of a power plant that Orion Power is constructing in West Virginia and scheduled for completion next May. Orion Power will receive a fixed rate for each megawatt it delivers. The average rate it will receive is 10% above the average rate currently in place.

AES Corp. reported AES Ekibastuz concluded an agreement with RAO UES of Russia to sell 3,000 Mw of electric power from the AES Ekibastuz 4,000 MW coal-fired plant in Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation, marking the first time power will be exported from Kazakhstan to the Russian Federation. The supply of power for RAO UES is due to start Dec. 30 and the contract term is 1 year.

Aare-Tessin AG f�r Elektrizit�(Atel) has purchased Swiss Federal Railways' (SBB) 5% stake in the G�sgen and Leibstadt nuclear power stations, SBB said. SBB issued an international tender for these stakes, which represent electricity production of 800 gigawatt-hr/year. The acquisition agreement with SBB is subject to ratification by the two power station operating companies. Financial terms were not disclosed. SBB said the sale is part of its strategy of concentrating on its core competence in generating electricity for electric traction.

More in Economics & Markets