Electric Power news briefs, September 5

Massachusetts Electric Co. ... National Grid USA ... San Diego Gas & Electric Co. ... Astoria Generating Co. ... Orion Power Holdings Inc. ... Engage Energy ... Coastal Corp. ... Westcoast Energy Inc. ... El Paso Energy Partners LP ... Equitable Resources ... Crystal Gas Storage ... Calpine ... Sumitomo Corp. ... Energy East Corp. ... CMP Group ... Berkshire Energy Resources ... and CTG Resources ... GE MicroGen ... Soroof Trading Development Co. ... Rahim Afrooz. ... UGI Corp. ... Conectiv


Massachusetts Electric Co. said it has requested a rate increase of 1.2�/kw-hr on the standard offer rate portion of customers' electric bills, effective Oct.1, with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE). Through the end of this month, the company estimated it will have incurred $50 million in increased power costs due to escalating oil and gas prices. If approved, a typical residential customer using 500 kw-hr/month of electricity will experience a 12.3% increase in their bill or $5.97/month. Massachusetts Electric purchases its standard offer service power under long-term contracts that are effective through 2004. These supply contracts include provisions to protect Massachusetts Electric's customers from modest fuel price increases. But the company said recent extraordinary jump in fuel prices has resulted in higher contract costs. Massachusetts Electric serves approximately 1.2 million customers in 168 Massachusetts communities and is a retail subsidiary of National Grid USA, a unit of National Grid PLC.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co.(SDG&E) reported customers will begin receiving reduced electric bills this week as part of a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) order issued last week. Most SDG&E residential customers bills will drop to $68/month from about $130/month, while monthly bills for most small business customers will fall to $220/month from about $400/month, the company said, under a plan in force until Jan.31, 2001. The CPUC plan sets caps on the wholesale energy charges for all residential and small commercial customers, and school districts. Customers who consume more than these average amounts will be charged the capped amounts for their consumption up to the average levels�500 kw-hr and 1,500 kw-hr/month�but then pay the wholesale market rate for electricity used in excess of those amounts.

Astoria Generating Co. LP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Orion Power Holdings Inc. said it filed a preliminary scoping statement with the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting for a $750 million repowering of its Astoria Generating Station, Queens, New York City. Plans call for the replacement of four older boilers with gas turbines and an increase in generating capacity to 1,840 Mw from 1,090 Mw. The work would be accomplished in two phases, to be completed in mid-2004 and late 2005, the company said. Since its inception, Orion Power Holdings has invested more than $3 billion in 80 power plants with a total capacity of 5,221 Mw.

The University of Michigan�Ann Arbor and Engage Energy, a joint venture of Coastal Corp. and Westcoast Energy Inc., have entered into a contract under which Engage will supply the university with up to 48 Mw of electricity under Michigan's new electricity deregulation law, they reported. The University of Michigan joins two other large customers, North Star Steel, Monroe, and Carboloy Inc., Warren, which also are purchasing energy under electric choice. The purpose of the electric choice phase-in is to develop and pre-test systems before full retail access begins Jan. 1, 2002.

Grocer Giant Eagle and Equitable Energy, a subsidiary of Equitable Resources Inc., reported signing a natural gas and energy management contract under which Equitable will supply all Giant Eagle's corporate facilities in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, Equitable reported. Under the contract, Equitable Energy will supply and manage all of Giant Eagle's natural gas needs, as well as provide natural gas bill consolidation and reporting services.

El Paso Energy Partners LP, an affiliate of El Paso Energy Corp. reported it has completed acquisition of the natural gas storage subsidiaries of Crystal Gas Storage Inc. These subsidiaries own and operate two salt dome storage facilities near Hattiesburg, Miss., with a combined current working storage capacity of 6.7 bcf. Expansions are under way to increase this capacity to 13.5 bcf. El Paso Energy Partners issued $170 million in new Preference Units to El Paso Energy Corp. as consideration in the transaction.

Calpine Corp. said it has acquired the remaining 45% equity interest in the 20 Mw Aidlin geothermal facility from an affiliate of Sumitomo Corp. The facility provides electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. under a long-term agreement. Calpine owns and operates 19 of the 21 geothermal power plants at The Geysers. The Geysers, located about 90 miles northeast of San Francisco in Sonoma and Lake counties, is the world's largest producing geothermal resource, with more than 1,000 Mw in production.

Energy East Corp. reported it has completed its mergers with CMP Group Inc., Berkshire Energy Resources, and CTG Resources Inc. As previously reported, each CMP share will be exchanged for $29.50 in cash; and each Berkshire shareholder will receive a cash payment of $38.00/share. CTG shareholders have the option to receive $41.00 in cash and/or a number of shares of Energy East common stock valued at $41.00, subject to the terms of the merger agreement. CMP Group, Berkshire Energy, and CTG Resources are now wholly owned Energy East. subsidiaries. With the completion of these transactions, Energy East becomes one of the largest energy providers in the Northeast serving 2 million customers.

GE MicroGen (GEMG),a unit of General Electric Power Systems, said Soroof Trading Development Co., Saudi Arabia, and Rahim Afrooz, Bangladesh, have become partners in its global fuel cell distribution network. GEMG's network now covers 8 countries. Deals currently in progress cover 7 additional countries and over 60 million additional residential customers, said GEMG Pres. Barry Glickman. GEMG's fuel cell systems are manufactured by Plug Power Inc. and convert fuels such as natural gas or LPG to electricity through an electrochemical process rather than combustion. The initial product will commercially available beginning in 2002, the company said..

UGI Corp. reported it has purchased a portion of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) service business of Conectiv. The purchase involves the commercial and residential services units located in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware which generated revenues in excess of $40 million in 1999. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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