Electric Power news briefs, August 7

PJM Interconnection LLC ... PNM Public Service Co. of New Mexico ... Frederickson Power ... Bonneville Power Administration ... Westcoast Power Inc ... EPCOR Utilities Inc. ... Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. .... Puget Sound Energy

PJM Interconnection LLC, the grid operator for the US Mid-Atlantic states, said 35 participants representing 61.5 Mw of power have signed up for a program that will pay participants to reduce their own electric load on the grid or operate backup generation during peak demand. It targets hospitals, hotels, factories, and stores during emergency conditions. The smallest generator represents 200 kw and largest 15 Mw. The pilot program was developed in response to a May 17 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission notice to help avert summer power shortages and is in effect through September 1.

PNM Public Service Co. of New Mexico has asked the state Public Regulation Commission to adopt a stipulated settlement that would resolve two pending gas rate cases. The settlement would resolve all issues raised by the Supreme Court's remand through a global settlement. If approved by the commission, the settlement will add about $1.2 million to PNM revenues in the final quarter of 2000, $4.7 million in 2001, and $3.9 million in 2002. Hearings on the proposed settlement are scheduled to begin August 14. The commission has previously said it expects to issue a final decision on the two gas rate cases by the end of September. Certain gas transportation customers oppose the stipulation, the company said..

Frederickson Power and the Bonneville Power Administration reported an agreement under which Frederickson Power will pay $25.1 million for partially built 249 Mw natural gas-fired electricity generation project in Frederickson, Wash. Frederickson Power is a partnership between Westcoast Power Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Vancouver-based Westcoast Energy Inc., and EPCOR Power Development Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Edmonton-based EPCOR Utilities Inc. While plans to proceed with the project have not been finalized, the current plan calls for the electricity generating facility to begin operations in mid-2002 at an estimated cost of US$160 million.

Baltimore circuit court Judge Albert J. Matricciani, Jr. lifted a two-week interim stay he granted July 21 to the Mid-Atlantic Power Supply Association (MAPSA), a New Jersey-based trade association claiming to represent out-of-state retail marketers, in a dispute over deregulation in Maryland. In addition, Judge Matricciani scheduled a hearing for later this month to consider a challenge by MAPSA to the Maryland Public Service Commission's November 1999 settlement order for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., a unit of Constellation Energy Group.

The Lakewood City Council unanimously voted to rescind a September citywide vote on whether to attempt a municipal takeover of Puget Sound Energy's (PSE) Lakewood electric system. The condemnation and purchase of PSE's power-distribution system in Lakewood would have cost the city somewhere between $42-$60 million, according to a recent analysis by the Reddy Corp. International, an engineering consulting firm based in Albuquerque, N.M. Initial city estimates began at $4 million, climbed to $5 million, and then to $8 million. The agreement calls for an effort to seek a larger share of low-cost federal hydropower benefits for PSE customers. Today, customers served by investor-owned utilities like PSE�representing 60%of the Northwest's population�receive less than 25% of the benefits of low-cost federal hydropower from the Bonneville Power Administration, according to the city.

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