Electric Power news briefs, October 16

MidAmerican Energy Co. ... Bonneville Power Administration ... Los Angeles Department of Water & Power ... Cinergy Corp. ... Schlumberger Ltd. ... Convergent Group Corp. ... KeySpan Corp. ... Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. ... TriGas Exploration Inc. ... and Calpine Corp. ... Oneok Inc. ... Williams ... Allegheny Energy Inc. ... Genosys Technology Management Inc. ... ABB Water Meters Inc. ... Itron Inc. ... Energy Information Administration

MidAmerican Energy Co., a unit of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has filed for designation as a certified retail electric supplier with the Public Utility Commission of Ohio (PUCO) asking for authority to market electricity under Ohio's law opening the electric industry to competition. If PUCO approves, the certification will become effective in 30 days. Ohio consumers will be able to choose among competing suppliers of electricity beginning Jan. 1, 2001.

US taxpayers realized $402.6 million in interest this year on their investment in federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers., the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) said. To date, BPA has repaid the US Treasury over $4 billion, reducing BPA's total debt now owned to the Treasury to $7 billion. As a federal agency under the US Department of Energy, BPA provides about half of the electrical power and more than three-quarters of the high-voltage transmission service in the Pacific Northwest. BPA markets wholesale power to more than 130 utilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana and some aluminum companies.

Under a new program, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) is offering eligible customers an incentive of up to $400/kw to reduce demand from on-peak hours through the installation of energy storage systems. The shifting of load is accomplished through the use of storage tanks used with conventional air conditioning equipment, batteries, or compressed air systems. In addition, DWP will provide technical support with incentives up to $10,000 for consulting engineers for feasibility study costs or preliminary design of energy storage systems. The total feasibility study incentives may not exceed 10% of equipment incentives. The energy storage program will also help reduce the burning of natural gas in the Los Angeles basin preventing some nitrous oxide emissions.

Cinergy Corp. said its shareholder rights plan has been approved by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The record date for the issuance of the rights has been set as Oct. 30. Shareholders of record as of the record date will receive a dividend of one right for each outstanding common share of Cinergy stock. The right entitles the holder to acquire securities from Cinergy under certain circumstances. A description and the terms of the rights were previously disclosed and are set forth in Cinergy's registration statement on Form 8-A filed with the SEC, it said.

A unit of Schlumberger Ltd. will acquire about 71.7% of the outstanding shares of Convergent Group Corp., including all shares held by the public, for $8/share in cash, Convergent reported Monday. Convergent Group management and employees will own approximately 26%of the remaining shares, and Cinergy Ventures LLC, a unit of Cinergy Corp., the firm's largest client, will retain equity in the firm, holding the remaining ownership interest. Convergent CEO Glenn E. Montgomery said the merger should position the firm to capture greater market share for the Digital Utility, its service offering that helps enable utilities to transform their business models into digital business enterprises.

KeySpan Corp. and Gulf Canada Resources Ltd. have reached an agreement under which KeySpan, through its subsidiary KeySpan Energy Development Corp., has acquired Gulf Canada's 50% interest in Gulf Midstream Services (GMS), KeySpan said. KeySpan becomes the sole owner of the company which will be known as KeySpan Energy Canada (KEC). KEC's assets include interests in 14 processing plants and associated gathering systems with capacity to process more than 1.5 bcf/day of natural gas. KEC also owns natural gas liquids facilities in Edmonton, a major natural gas liquids hub. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. KeySpan acquired its initial 50% interest in GMS from Gulf in December 1998.

TriGas Exploration Inc. and Calpine Corp. said they have entered into an agreement under which Calpine will make a cash offer of $3.20 (Can.)/share for all of the issued and outstanding common shares of TriGas. The total value of the offer is about $156 million (Can.), including assumed debt. The offer represents a 28% premium over TriGas' closing price of $2.51on the Toronto Stock Exchange Oct. 13. It is conditional on, among other things, at least two-thirds of TriGas' common shares being tendered and regulatory approval, Calpine said. TriGas currently produces about 30 MMcfed of gas with additional gas volumes waiting to be tied in. Its production is near Calpine's planned 250 Mw Calgary energy center, a combined cycle, natural gas-fired plant expected to be operational by December 2002.

Oneok Inc. and Williams have signed a 2-year agreement under which Williams will provide incremental firm transportation service of 56,200 dekatherms/day to Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG), an Oneok unit, Williams reported. The contract begins Nov. 1 and will require Williams to construct two meter stations along its existing pipeline system. Jim Mefford, manager of transport services for ONG, said the gas load from Williams will help ONG serve a portion of its growing customer base of about 800,000 as it unbundles services. ONG will use the additional transportation capacity to serve portions of its Oklahoma City and Enid, Okla., markets.

Allegheny Energy Inc. has awarded a 4-year contract to Genosys Technology Management Inc. to provide network monitoring and fault management services for the energy company's corporate information technology network, Genosys reported. The Genosys technology management solutions will provide alert detection, fault resolution, network infrastructure audits, and configuration management. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The city of Charlottesville, Va., has awarded a $4.1 million product and installation contract to ABB Water Meters Inc., Ocala, Fla., a unit of the ABB Group, for replacement and upgrade of water and gas meters and conversion to an Itron Inc. mobile meter reading system, Itron reported. Brock Strickler, utility billing manager for the city of Charlottesville, said elimination of estimated reads and improving customer service were the key drivers in the city's decision to implement automated metering technology as part of the project. Strickler said the system will also streamline operations and improve operational efficiency by enabling the utility to reduce its meter reading staff by 75%. The Charlottesville project combines 13,000 new ABB water meters fitted with integral mounted radio transmitters supplied by Itron; 2,700 new gas meters supplied by American Meter; 13,500 gas meter retrofits; and 16,200 Itron gas meter modules; as well as drive-by reading equipment and software supplied by Itron.

Mark J. Mazur, currently serving as the acting administrator of the Energy Information Administration, will be nominated administrator, according to the Clinton Administration. Previously, he held positions at the US Department of Energy as director of the Office of Policy, chief economist, and senior policy advisor to the secretary of energy. In addition, he served as senior director at the White House's National Economic Council from 1995 to 1997 and senior staff economist in public finance at the Council of Economic Advisors from 1993 to 1995.

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