Electric Power news briefs, Mar. 5

Transwestern Pipeline ... Enron ... Wisconsin Energy ... Texas Electric Choice ... TotalFinaElf ... Gener ... AES Corp. ... Progress Energy ... Williams ... South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. ... SCANA ... Planalytics ... Exelon Capital Partners ... Meridian Venture Partners ... TL Ventures ... Wynnefield Capital Advisors ... NUI Corp. ... BC Hydro ... Willbros Engineers Inc. ... Panda Energy International ... TECO Energy ... DCH Technology ... Skeljungur Ltd. ... UGI Corp. ... Elf Antargaz

Transwestern Pipeline Co., a unit of Enron Corp., said it will perform scheduled maintenance Tuesday in the San Juan area in New Mexico. The company said it will run pigs from Bloomfield compressor station down the San Juan lateral to the mainline to improve line efficiency. As a result, the San Juan lateral capacity will be reduced to 235 MMcfd from 850 MMcdfd for day. Gas prices were reported as high as $30/Mcf at the southern California border in anticipation of the scheduled maintenance.

Wisconsin Energy Corp., Milwaukee, and one of its business trusts filed Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to periodically sell up to $900 million in debt securities and preferred securities. The company is also carrying forward $100 million in previously registered but unsold securities, thereby valuing the total offering at $1 billion. The company plans to use the net proceeds to repay borrowings, for investments, and for general corporate purposes, it said.

Texas Electric Choice, the public education campaign created to inform Texans of their right to choose the company that provides their electricity, launched a statewide campaign Monday with a series of television, radio, and print advertisements. Under a state law passed during the 1999 legislative session, most Texans are now able to choose an electricity supplier from a list of companies certified by the Public Utility Commission. Electric choice begins with a pilot program this summer, when 5% of customers served by investor-owned utilities can choose a supplier.

France's TotalFinaElf SA said Monday it finalized a previously announced accord to buy all of Gener SA's power generation and transmission assets in Argentina for a total of $612 million. TotalFinaElf said it agreed March 2 to buy the assets from AES Corp. and will also buy a $39 million loan from Gener to Piedra de Aguila. The purchase includes a 63.9% interest in Central Puerto, 100% of the TermoAndes power plant and its associated electric power line InterAndes, 70% of Hidroneuquen which holds a 59% interest in the Piedra de Aguila power plant, and an Argentine/Brazil electric interconnection project. The assets represent about 42,000 Mw of installed capacity, TotalFinaElf said.

Progress Energy Inc. said its subsidiary NCNG has completed the 84-mile, 200-300 MMcfd Sandhills pipeline across south central North Carolina, linking the Williams transcontinental interstate pipeline in Iredell County with a gas-fueled power plant under construction in Richmond County. CP&L, Progress Energy's Carolinas electric utility, already has an agreement with Williams for long-term gas supply off the south-to-north Transco pipeline to CP&L's 620 Mw electric generating plant in Richmond County, which is nearing completion.

The 1,000 Mw V.C. Summer nuclear plant is expected to return to full capacity by week's end, said South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), a unit of SCANA Corp. The plant returned to service Mar. 3, completing the plant's 12th refueling and maintenance outage, and is currently operating at 50% capacity. The plant was shut down Oct. 7, 2000, for a routine refueling outage when indications of a small leak were discovered in a weld in a reactor coolant system pipe. A section of piping, including the entire weld, was removed and replaced with a new section of pipe, extending the outage.

Planalytics Inc., a provider of supply chain planning technologies, said it completed a $15 million round of funding led by Exelon Capital Partners, a unit of Exelon Corp. Also participating in the round as coinvestors were Meridian Venture Partners, TL Ventures, and Wynnefield Capital Advisors. Planalytics Inc. CEO Frederic Fox said the funding will accelerate product development and expand sales and marketing into additional vertical and geographic markets.

NUI Corp., Bedminster, NJ, said it adopted an exempt holding company structure that will enhance operational and financing flexibility and enable the company to accelerate its growth strategy. The holding company is exempt from registration under the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. Under the reorganized structure, NUI Corp. initially will have two direct subsidiaries: NUI Utilities Inc. and NUI Capital Corp. NUI Utilities Inc., operates as a regulated natural gas utility in the states of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida. NUI Capital Corp. is the holding company for the company's nonregulated businesses.

BC Hydro, Vancouver, issued a request for proposals for 5.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas offsets in keeping with its aggressive greenhouse gas offset target. The company said it has voluntarily committed to offsetting 50% of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions at two new natural gas-fired electricity generation plants through the year 2010.

Willbros Group Inc. said Willbros Engineers Inc., Tulsa, Okla., has, in conjunction with another Willbros subsidiary, Rogers & Phillips Inc., Houston, been awarded a contract by Panda Energy International Inc. and TECO Power Services (TPS), a unit of TECO Energy Inc., for project management, engineering, procurement and construction of a 19-mile, 30-in. natural gas pipeline in Arizona. The pipeline is intended to transport natural gas from existing pipelines to a proposed power plant to be constructed in Gila Bend, Ariz., by Panda Energy and TPS. The pipeline is scheduled to be completed in the second quarter, 2002. The Gila River project is a 50-50 joint venture between Panda Energy International and TPS.

DCH Technology Inc., Valencia, Calif., a manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells and safety devices, reported it has signed an agreement with Iceland's Skeljungur Ltd., under which the energy provider will distribute DCH fuel cells in Iceland as part of a 6-month market opportunity assessment. Skeljungur Ltd. will then act as the distributor of DCH fuel cells to markets identified. DCH also said it signed an agreement with Icelandic New Energy (INE), a commercial consortia that includes several global and Iceland businesses, to provide hydrogen fuel to users of DCH fuel cells from a hydrogen depot INE has constructed in Reykjavik.

UGI Corp., Valley Forge, Pa., said it agreed to acquire a 20% interest in Elf Antargaz, the French propane distribution business of Total FinaElf SA. As previously reported, UGI is part of a consortia consisting of Paribas Affaires Industrielles (PAI), a private equity fund manager affiliated with BNP Paribas SA, which will own approximately 70% of Antargaz, and Italy's Medit Mediterranea GPL, which will own the remaining 10%. The group anticipates a closing in late March. UGI expects its investment to be $30 million.

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