Electric Power news brief, August 4
Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Hongkong Electric Holdings ... ScottishPower PLC ... AES Corp. ... Kinko's Inc. ... PG&E Corp. ... Calpine Corp. ... Panda Energy International Inc. ... Nicor Gas ... Dynegy Inc. ... Southern Wholesale Energy ... Los Angeles Board of Water and Power ... Enron Power Marketing Inc. ... Enbridge Gas New Brunswick ... Manhattan Scientifics Inc. .. US Army ... Sierra Pacific Power Co. ... Bay Gas Storage Co. Ltd ... EnergySouth Inc.
Cheung Kong Infrastructure and Hongkong Electric Holdings has agreed to purchase ScottishPower PLC's Australian assets, including the Powercor Australia electricity distribution and retail business, and a 19.9% partnership interest in the Hazelwood power station to for an aggregate consideration of about A$2.4 billion (Aus.), ScottishPower reported. The disposal proceeds for Powercor of about $2.3 billion (Aus.) compares to an acquisition price to PacifiCorp, now a ScottishPower unit, in 1995 of $2.15 billion (Aus). Powercor is one of five electricity distribution and retail businesses in Victoria. The Hazelwood Partnership operates a 1600 Mw power station and adjoining mine in Victoria. The sale is expected to be completed in September 2000.
The AES Corp., Arlington, Va., reported its subsidiaries, AES Drax Holdings Ltd. and AES Drax Energy Ltd., have issued about $1 billion of nonrecourse project bonds to refinance outstanding debt at the Drax power station, North Yorkshire, UK. AES Drax Holdings Ltd. issued �200 million of 9.07% bonds due in 2025 and $302 million of 10.41% bond due in 2020. The dollar tranche will be swapped into sterling at an effective coupon of about 9.25%. Proceeds from these investment grade bonds are being used to refinance partly the original bank debt put in place at the time of the acquisition of Drax by AES in November 1999, the company said. AES Drax Energy Ltd. issued �135 million of 11.25% bonds and $200 million of 11.50% bonds due in 2010. The dollar tranche will be swapped into sterling at an effective coupon of approximately 10.45%. Proceeds from these high yield bonds are being used to refinance a �250 million bridge loan, which has been in place since the acquisition of Drax by AES, the company said.
Kinko's Inc. has signed an agreement to be the first to purchase wind certificates from PG&E Corp. National Energy Group's 11.5 Mw Madison Windpower project, currently under construction in central New York state, PG&E reported. Kinko's intended purchase corresponds to about 4.5 million kw-hr of emission-free electricity supplied by the Madison Windpower project to the New York power pool and will supply about 50% of Kinko's statewide electric demand. Total output for the Madison facility will avoid about 12,000 tonnes/year of carbon dioxide, 65 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, and 19 tonnes of nitrogen oxide, based on equivalent generation from fossil fuel plants in the state, PG&E reported. When construction is complete in September, Madison's seven Vestas V-66 turbines will have the capacity to generate about 11.5 Mw or about 24,000 Mw-hr/year of electricity and will connect to the Northeast power grid through the New York State Electric & Gas Transmission System and the New York Independent System Operator.
Calpine Corp., San Jose, said it has completed the acquisition of the 1,000 Mw natural gas-fired Oneta energy center, Coweta, Okla., from Panda Energy International Inc. In June 2000, Calpine announced a strategic alliance with Panda, under Calpine acquired 24 General Electric gas turbines and 12 steam turbines, and the rights to acquire 7 additional projects from Panda, representing over 9,600 Mw of gas-fired US generation. Construction is expected to commence in mid-2000 and be completed in 2002. During commercial operation of the Oneta facility, Panda will receive contingent payments.
Nicor Gas, Naperville, Ill., warned customers August gas costs will rise to an average 49.5�/therm, compared to 30�/therm a year ago. The average residential customer's August bill should be about $24, compared to $18 last year. The company said customers can expect much higher fall and winter bills than last year. December gas could be near 50�/therm, up from 35�/therm in December 1999.
Dynegy Inc., Houston, has signed a contract under which Southern Wholesale Energy, the marketing and trading arm of Southern Co., will supply Dynegy Inc. with 260 Mw of electricity, Southern reported. The contract is the second wholesale power agreement between Southern Wholesale Energy and Dynegy. In March, the two parties announced their first long-term agreement. Louis Dorey, president of energy marketing and origination, Dynegy Inc., said the agreement provides valuable capacity in the constrained Southeastern Electric Reliable Council region.
The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners has approved a contract between the Department of Water and Power (DWP) and Enron Power Marketing Inc., an Enron Corp. unit. for the purchase of new renewable wind energy. With 55,000 customers, the DWP Green Power program is the nation's largest effort of its kind by a local utility. Residential customers who sign up for green power receive two free compact light bulbs. These energy efficiency services can help offset the slight cost increase for green power of about $3/month for the average residential customer.
Enbridge Gas New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, said it began construction of its $300 million provincial gas distribution network Thursday. About 1,450 km of pipe will be laid in 25 communities across the province. Access to natural gas will make the province more attractive to investment and leave more money in customers' pockets to spend in the economy, said Enbridge Gas New Brunswick Pres. Arunas Pleckaitis. Enbridge Gas New Brunswick is a partnership between Enbridge Inc., Calgary, and a group of local New Brunswick investors, who hold 37% of the company.
Manhattan Scientifics Inc. (MHTX) said it delivered a fuel cell power supply to the US Army, fulfilling a contract MHTX received 3 months ago to design and build a prototype hydrogen-powered fuel cell system using its NovArs technology. The requirement included all the peripherals needed for its operation including control electronics, cooling fan, and input-output valves. The power system will be tested by the Army as part of its program to evaluate the feasibility of supplementing batteries in portable communication equipment now in use, the company said. The tests are scheduled to be completed by yearend. The company reported the fuel cell system is capable of delivering 60-70 watts of continuous power, under peak load conditions, at ambient pressure with minimum ancillary equipment.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada(PUCN) Thursday approved a $9.3 million rebate for Sierra Pacific Power Co.'s electric and natural gas customers effective on their October bills. The company previously rebated customers close to $20 million in May and August 1999. Two weeks ago, the PUCN set a schedule for opening the market to competition that will begin November 1 for the largest commercial customers. The market will open for medium commercial customers on April 1, 2001, with small commercial customers getting the go-ahead June 1, 2001. The opening of competition for residential customers will be phased in from Sept 1.-Dec. 31, 2001.
Southern Company Services Inc., an affiliate of Southern Co., and Bay Gas Storage Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of EnergySouth Inc., have signed a 15-year natural gas storage contract under which Bay Gas will provide salt dome storage capacity of up to 3.2 million MMbtu of natural gas for Alabama Power Co., Georgia Power Co., Gulf Power Co., Mississippi Power Co., and Savannah Electric & Power Co., all Southern Co. subsidiaries, Bay Gas reported. Bay Gas said it is developing a second underground storage cavern at its facility in McIntosh, Ala. Company officials said Bay Gas has retained Banc One Capital Markets Inc. to act as financial advisor to explore financing alternatives for the project. At an estimated cost of $35 million, Bay Gas plans to construct the second storage cavern in two phases.