Electric Power news briefs, December 11

Wisconsin Electric ... Nova Scotia Power Inc. ... Orion Power Holdings Inc. ... Alabama Power Co. ... Earth Sciences Inc ... Exelon Enterprises ... AES Corp. .... EDF International SA ... Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency ... Reliant Energy Power Generation Inc. ... Mississippi Chemical Corp.


Wisconsin Electric, a unit of Wisconsin Energy Corp., is asking the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to adjust electric prices due to increase in natural gas fuel costs. The company said fuel costs for 2000 exceeded by at least $18.2 million the fuel costs projected in its 1999 rate case. For 2001, fuel costs are expected to exceed projections by $60.3 million. For the company�s Wisconsin service territory, these shortfalls amount to at least $15.5 million in 2000 and $51.4 million in 2001. If approved, the fuel adjustment will be effective on February 1, 2001, subject to a refund if the cost of natural gas should decrease. At this time, the company is only seeking relief for 2001. A typical Wisconsin Electric residential electric customer who uses 500 kw-hr/month will experience a $1.09 or 2.5% increase in his monthly electric bill.

Nova Scotia Power Inc. said it completed a medium term note issue totaling $15 million. The $15 million Series K Notes bear interest at the rate of 7.30% payable semiannually beginning Feb. 9, 2001. The original issue of $50 million Series K was completed on Feb. 9, 1996. These additional Series K Notes will have an effective annual yield of 6.100% if held to Feb. 9, 2004.

In a deal worth about $200 million, Orion Power Holdings Inc., Baltimore, Md., reported it has completed the purchase of Columbia Electric Corp., a power generation company with assets under construction and development, from a NiSource Inc. subsidiary. The acquisition encompasses state-of- the-art, natural gas-fired facilities under construction and development which provide a strategic balance for Orion Power's existing asset base, the company said.

Alabama Power Co., a unit of Southern Co., said has been selected by the US Department of Energy to participate in the nation's first full- scale program to test advanced mercury control technologies. The company will install and test a mercury control process at its Gaston generation plant near Wilsonville, Ala., beginning in the first quarter of 2001. Carbon will be injected into an existing ash collection system already installed on the plant site. The carbon will absorb the mercury, which could result in substantial emissions reduction, the company reported. The system was developed by ADA-Environmental Solutions, a subsidiary of Earth Sciences Inc. The DOE will fund 70% of the project costs.

Exelon Enterprises, a unit of Exelon Corp., and Exelon Infrastructure Services Inc. (EIS) said EIS has acquired three key additions to its network of utility and industrial infrastructure services companies and signed a definitive agreement to purchase another. The three acquired companies are M.J. Electric Inc., Iron Mountain, Mich.; P.A.C.E. Engineering Inc., Tulsa, Okla.; and Electric Services Inc., East Haven, Conn. In addition, EIS has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blair Park Services Inc., Warrington, PA and is expected to close in early January.

AES Corp. and EDF International SA said they have entered into an agreement to acquire a 9.2% interest in Light Servicos de Eletricidade SA from a subsidiary of Companhia Siderurgica Nacional for $362 million. Under the agreement, an EDF subsidiary will purchase 70% of the shares to be sold while AES will purchase the remaining 30%. Closing of the transaction is subject to the receipt of certain consents and approvals from Brazilian regulatory authorities as well as other customary conditions. The sale is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2001.

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) confirmed an "unusual event" was declared at the Beaver Valley Power Station Unit No. 2, in Shippingport, Beaver County. An Unusual Event is a federally designated emergency classification that is the lowest or least serious of four-step emergency classifications.

PEMA Director David Smith said all reports from the plant indicated a contained leak in the Unit No. 2 primary coolant system, but no radioactive release to the environment occurred as a result of this incident.

Reliant Energy Power Generation Inc., an unregulated unit of Reliant Energy Inc. said has agreed to purchase the Sunrise power plant from Sierra Pacific Resources, the parent company of Nevada Power Co., together with a power purchase agreement relating to an adjacent generation facility for about $33 million. Under the proposed agreement, Reliant Energy will purchase a total of 372 Mw of generation capacity. The power purchase agreement involves three adjacent gas turbine generation units, known as Sun-Peak. Reliant Energy has agreed to purchase 222 Mw of power from Sun-Peak.

CMS Energy Corp. said it has written down its entire investment in the Loy Yang Power plant in Australia during the fourth quarter of this year. The write down, which will have the effect of reducing equity by approximately $267 million after taxes and currency translation effects, is a result of the inability to attract a serious purchaser for the plant and the probability of continued unfavorable electric market prices in Victoria, Australia, CMS reported.

Mississippi Chemical Corp. said it will realize pretax gain of $16 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31 on the sale of all of its natural gas futures contracts. The company said it was taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the unprecedented high prices for natural gas. The produces and markets all three primary crop nutrients. nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium-based products.

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