Electric Power news briefs, January 10

Dominion Resources Inc. ... South Carolina Electric & Gas ... AES NewEnergy Inc. ... Southern Energy Inc. ... Thermo Ecotek Corp. ... Tennessee Valley Authority ... Allegheny Technologies Inc. ... DukeSolutions ... Piedmont Natural Gas Co. ... Illinois Power Co. ... Alliance Transmission Co. LLC ... PPL Corp. ... Guardian Pipeline ... WESCO International Inc. ... Orton Utility Supply ... Gateway Energy Corp.


Dominion Resources Inc. Wednesday raised its 2001 earnings target by 30�/share, a 24% increase over current First Call analyst consensus earnings estimates of $3.31/share in 2000. The new 2001 earnings goal includes expected earnings additions of 5�/share, resulting from the pending acquisition of the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn. Dominion also raised its 2002 earnings target to $4.40-$4.50/share, up from the previous target of $4.10-$4.18/share. In addition, Dominion said it expects to meet or exceed fourth quarter 2000 First Call consensus analyst estimates of 57�/share, attributable to strong revenues.

South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&E) a unit of SCANA Corp. Tuesday said repair and testing of a faulty weld in a pipe in the reactor coolant system at the 1,000 Mw V.C. Summer nuclear station should be completed in late January with startup in February. SCE&G shut down the plant for refueling and maintenance outage in October. During the early inspection, plant employees discovered indications of a leak. The company said it cannot estimate how much the additional repair work will add to the cost of the outage. SCE&G also reported its 385 Mw coal-fired Cope generating station experienced an unplanned shutdown Jan. 3, 2001. The company said replacement energy costs of these outages is expected to be included SCE&G's April fuel cost hearing.

AES NewEnergy Inc., a unit of AES Corp., has requested certification to serve retail electric customers in Texas. The Texas electric choice program, which provides customers the power to choose their electricity supplier, opens a pilot program for customers on a limited basis starting June 1, 2001, prior to full implementation of retail competition starting Jan. 1, 2002.

Southern Energy Inc. and Thermo Ecotek Corp. have signed a tolling agreement under which Southern will put supply the natural gas, dispatch the units, and manage output at the 120 Mw Moutainview, Calif., peaking plants. Thermo Ecotek will contract with Southern California Edison Co. personnel to operate the plant. Specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said it launched a $1 billion, 10-year global power bond. The 2001 Series A power bonds are available in minimum denominations of $1,000. The noncallable bonds mature in 2011. Proceeds from the sale will be used to retire existing debt. TVA is a wholly owned US government agency and the nation's largest public power system.

Allegheny Technologies Inc. reported it has signed a long-term energy management agreement with DukeSolutions, a unit of Duke Energy Corp. The agreement covers both energy supply and demand side management at Allegheny's facilities in 12 states and is aimed at reducing the company's yearly $120 million gas and electricity bill, Allegheny said. Terms were not disclosed.

Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and Duke Power, a unit of Duke Energy Corp., said they will conduct a feasibility study on the potential for consolidating meter reading. Officials said the intent is to determine if joint meter reading could save costs by sharing a single reader for both gas and electric meters. In comparing customer addresses within overlapping service territories in the Carolinas, a potential base of more than 500,000 customers exists. Additional projects are under consideration that have potential to contain costs. These projects include sharing trenches during the installation of distribution facilities and partnering in negotiations with location services contractors for all underground pipes and wires, the companies reported.

For the first time in more than a decade, production costs at US nuclear power plants are the lowest of any major electricity source, dropping below coal-fired power plants, according to the latest available full-year figures from the Utility Data Institute (UDI). In 1999, production costs at nuclear power plants averaged 1.83�/kw-hr, lower than coal at 2.07�/kw-hr, oil-fired plants at 3.18�/kw-hr, and natural gas plants at 3.52�/kw-hr. UDI said average production costs at nuclear power plants have not been lower than those for coal-fired plants since the mid-1980s.

Illinois Power Co., a unit of Dynegy Inc., signed an agreement with the Alliance Transmission Co. LLC to become a member of the Alliance Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), completing the steps initiated when the company said it would withdraw from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO). The MISO charter provided for withdrawal by members if ownership of the transmission assets changes, Illinois Power said. The February 2000 merger between Illinois Power's former parent company Illinova Corp. and Dynegy Inc. constituted such a change in asset ownership. Illinois Power's withdrawal from MISO will be effective upon Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval.

Allegheny Energy Inc. said it completed the purchase of 83 Mw of coal-fired generating capacity in the Conemaugh generating station near Johnstown, Pa. Allegheny Energy and PPL Corp., Allentown, Pa., closed on an agreement reported in May 2000, under which the two companies jointly acquired 166 Mw, or a 9.72% share, of Conemaugh's capacity from Potomac Electric Power Co. for $152.5 million, plus related adjustments. Allegheny said its share will add to earnings in the first full year after the purchase.

Guardian Pipeline reported the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff concluded in a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) constructing and operating the pipeline is an acceptable environmental action. With the issuance of a favorable final EIS, FERC can issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity in the next month or so, Guardian said. Guardian is a partnership of CMS Energy Co., Dearborn, Mich.; WICOR, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy Co., Milwaukee, Wis.; and Viking Gas Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc., St. Paul, Minn. Currently, Guardian has firm agreements with Wisconsin Gas and others to transport 662 MMcfd of gas when the pipeline goes into service in November 2002.

WESCO International Inc. said it acquired Orton Utility Supply, Chattanooga, Tenn., a $12 million distributor serving rural electrical cooperatives and municipal utilities in eastern Tennessee, North Georgia, and northern Alabama. Terms were not disclosed.

Gateway Energy Corp., Houston, reported the Oklahoma Corporation Commission approved a tariff increase for its wholly owned subsidiary, Fort Cobb Fuel Authority LLC. The new tariff rates, which set the price of natural gas service to Fort Cobb's customers, are effective for all services billed after Dec. 28. Gateway owns and operates natural gas gathering, transportation, and distribution systems and related facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, and offshore in state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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