Electric Power news briefs, July 21

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator ... ALSTOM ESCA Corp. ... Open Access Technology International ... Perot Systems ... TenFold Corp. ... New Jersey Board of Public Utilities ... Florida Power & Light Co. ... Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. ... ABB Group ... Petrofac International Ltd. ... GPU Energy ... AmerGen Energy Co ... British Energy Inc. ... PECO Energy Co. ... Cross Bay Pipeline Co. LLC ... Williams ... Duke Energy ... KeySpan Corp. ... Elizabethtown Gas Co. ... Nooter/Eriksen

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. (MISO) has contracted with the Regional Transmission Organization Alliance (RTO) alliance to build a $50 million integrated control center system. The RTO alliance, which consists of ALSTOM ESCA Corp., Seattle; Open Access Technology International, Minneapolis; Perot Systems, Dallas; and TenFold Corp., Salt Lake City; will deliver an electricity transmission system that will allow MISO to match electricity demand with available transmission. The MISO is scheduled to begin market trials next June and to be fully operational by November 2001. When operational MISO will service more than 255,000 square miles of electrical needs from Ohio to the upper Midwest. Utilities with more than 52,000 miles of transmission lines, 78,000 Mw of electric generation, and nearly $8 billion in installed assets are participating in the Midwest ISO.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has adopted interim electric reliability standards to reduce outage frequency and duration, an outgrowth of the 1999 heat wave outages. Among the proposals are service interruptions indices, 2-hour restoration requirements, power quality requirements, and administrative penalties for violations of the proposed standards. The board said it expects adoption of the final reliability standards by yearend 2002, after board-ordered outage management data collection and monitoring systems are in place. Utilities are expected to spend about $50 million on these systems this year and next.

Florida Power & Light Co., a unit of FPL Group Inc., reported Friday it has entered into a conditional settlement agreement that will resolve all litigation involving the Palm Beach County Okeelanta and Osceola cogeneration plants. The litigation, dating to January 1997, began when a dispute arose between FPL and the owners of the plants as to whether the plants had accomplished commercial operation by the date specified in the 30-year power purchase agreements obligating FPL to purchase the plant's output. FPL filed a petition for a declaratory judgment that FPL had no further obligation under the agreements, and shortly after the owners of the plants filed for bankruptcy protection. Under the settlement, subject to bankruptcy court and the Florida Public Service Commission approval, the trustee for the holders of $288.5 million of tax exempt bonds that financed the construction of the plants would receive $222.5 million plus some security deposits to be distributed as directed by the bankruptcy court, and the power purchase agreements would be terminated. FPL estimates the savings to its customers from the settlement vs. the payments that would have been due under the power purchase agreements will exceed $350 million.

A consortium led by Broken Hill Pty. Co. Ltd. (BHP), Australia, has placed a $547 million order with the ABB Group, Zurich, and Petrofac International Ltd. of the US to design and build a natural gas processing plant for the Ohanet gas fields in Algeria. (OGJ Online, July 3, 2000). Under the contract, ABB is responsible for the design, procurement, and construction of the plant, which will process natural gas into LPG and condensates used in fuel, chemical feedstocks, and other applications. The plant will have an output of 30,400 b/d of condensate, 27,700 b/d of LPG, and 665 MMcfd of pipeline quality gas. Production from the plant is expected to begin in late 2003. The Ohanet fields lie on the northern edge of the Sahara desert, about 1,300 km southeast of Algiers and 100 km west of the Libyan border.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved the sale of GPU Energy's Oyster Creek nuclear plant to AmerGen Energy Co. LLC, a partnership 50% owned by British Energy Inc. and PECO Energy Co. The sale will allow the plant to continue operating until 2009 under its current license previously granted by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If the sale had not been approved, GPU planned to shut down the unit. GPU customers will save about $250 million in decommissioning costs as a result of the sale, the commission said.

Cross Bay Pipeline Co. LLC, a limited liability company formed by subsidiaries of Williams, Duke Energy Corp., and KeySpan Corp., has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to increase natural gas deliveries into New York City by 125,000 dekatherms/day. At a cost of $59.5 million, the project will include transfer of about 37 mi. of Williams' existing Transco lower New York bay extension to Cross Bay.; construction of a 16,000 hp compressor station in Middlesex County, NJ; pipe replacement; and system modifications. Once completed, the Cross Bay facilities will form a new interstate pipeline system extending from Middlesex County across lower New York bay to Nassau County, NY. The pipeline will have a total capacity of more than 600,000 dekatherms/day. Williams and Duke Energy each have a 37.5% ownership interest in Cross Bay, while KeySpan owns 25%. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2001 with service scheduled to begin Dec. 1, 2002.

Calpine Corp. said it will purchase 85 heat recovery steam generators (HRSG) from Nooter Corp. subsidiary Nooter/Eriksen, St. Louis. Calpine will begin taking delivery of the HRSGs in 2001, with the bulk of the contract to be filled through 2004. The latest agreement with Nooter/Eriksen is supplemental to an existing agreement between Calpine and Nooter/Eriksen for the delivery of 19 HRSGs. The Nooter/Eriksen equipment enables a power plant to be operated in a combined-cycle application. Typically, a HRSG utilizes the hot exhaust from a combustion turbine to produce steam. The steam product is then used to fuel a steam turbine driven generator, leading to greater power plant output and efficiencies.

Elizabethtown Gas Co., the New Jersey division of NUI Corp., Friday filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities for an increase in its gas adjustment clause (GAC), effective October 1, of $46.7 million, or about an 18% overall increase in customers' bills. The cost of natural gas nationally has nearly doubled in the past year to between $4-$4.50/dekatherms from about $2.25/dekatherms. For a typical residential heating customer, the average monthly bill for 100 therms of gas would increase from $81.06 to $95.35, the company said. As part of the filing Elizabethtown Gas also requested to implement a floating monthly GAC rate, tied to natural gas prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This would benefit customers, according to the company, because a monthly rate would protect them from one-time large increases while also providing customers with the benefit of reduced supply prices more quickly.

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