Electric Power news briefs, July 26

Florida Power Corp. ... Reliant Energy Inc. .. Semco Energy Inc. ... Banc of America Securities LLC ... WoodFuel.com ... Andersen Consulting ... Silicon Energy Corp. ... Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. ... Enron Energy Services ... Rich Products Corp. ... Columbia Electric Corp. ... LG&E Power Inc.

Florida Power Corp. (FPC), a unit of Florida Progress Corp., reported it filed a supplemental site certification application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, seeking approval to locate a second 530 Mw, high-efficiency power plant at its existing Hines energy complex in Polk County. FPC said it will also file a needs determination petition with the Florida Public Service Commission concerning the plant. If approved by the commission, construction of Hines 2 will begin in 2001 with operation scheduled to begin by yearend 2003.

Reliant Energy Inc., Houston, said it is instituting billing via the internet. Customers who enroll in eBill will receive an e-mail notification when a statement is ready for review. They may choose to view and pay bills from the Reliant Energy website or from a variety of other banks, portals, and aggregation sites, the company says, using a debit card. The eBill system was developed in cooperation with an electronic bill payment and presentment service bureau, billserv.com.

Management of Semco Energy Inc., Port Huron, Mich., a diversified energy services and infrastructure holding company, reported it is exploring strategic alternatives to improve shareholder value. These alternatives include evaluating possible transactions, such as a merger with a strategic partner. The company said it has retained the investment banking firm Banc of America Securities LLC as financial advisor to assist in the review of such alternatives. Earlier, the company reported it lost 17�/share for the second quarter, compared to earnings of 1�/share in the 1999 second quarter.

WoodFuel.com said it completed the delivery of 6,500 tons of wood fuel under a major fuel order with Abitibi-Consolidated (formerly Donohue Industries Inc.). Delivery took place between June 1-30. The wood fuel was delivered to Abitibi-Consolidated's newsprint mill in Sheldon, Tex. The facility has a newsprint production capacity of 477,800 million tonnes/year.

Andersen Consulting reported it is taking a $3 million position in energy enterprise management software company Silicon Energy Corp., Alameda, Calif., joining previous investors in the $20 million strategic investment round that Silicon Energy closed last month. The addition of Andersen Consulting's investment brings the strategic investment round total to $23 million. In addition, Anderson said it is licensing Silicon Energy's software and the companies signed a marketing alliance to serve energy service providers and industrial customers.

Beginning August 1, the Maine Public Utilities Commission has increased the price for standard offer energy service for customers of Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. by 1�/kw-hr to about 4.6�/kw-hr, the company reported. Under the Maine electric industry restructuring law, standard offer service is the source of energy service for customers who do not select a competitive energy supplier or have no competitive alternatives. The increase will remain in effect until February 28, 2001. Bangor Hydro's medium and large commercial class rates will be increased by about 4�/kw-hr, it said. This increase will remain in effect until Sept. 30, 2000. For the period Oct.1, 2000 through Feb. 28, 2001, standard offer rates will return to previously established levels. The company blamed the increases on unexpected costs of about $1 million arising from market fluctuations in wholesale energy prices during May and June.

Enron Energy Services, a subsidiary of Enron Corp., Houston, reported it has entered into a $130 million, 11-year electricity and natural gas commodity management agreement with bakery products supplier Rich Products Corp. The agreement covers Rich's 18 major facilities in Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee, California, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, Virginia, New Jersey, Georgia, and Texas. In addition to the supply of electricity and natural gas, Enron will provide ongoing billing services for the facilities.

Columbia Electric Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Columbia Energy Group, and LG&E Power Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of LG&E Corp., reported the 550 Mw gas-fired, Gregory power plant (GPP), in Gregory, Tex. near Corpus Christi has begun commercial operation. The project is located at the Reynolds Metals Co.'s Sherwin alumina production facility and will serve Reynolds's steam needs and a portion of its electric requirements. The plant will also generate additional electricity for sale in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT region) under a combination of contract and merchant sales. Gregory Power Partners has entered into an agreement with Dynegy Power Marketing Inc., a subsidiary of Dynegy Inc., Houston, to sell additional electricity from the plant.

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