Electric Power news briefs, September 22

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. ... Innovatec Communications LLC ... Conectiv ... Dayton Power & Light Co. ... Nicor Gas Inc. ... NRG Energy Inc. ... Itiquira Energetica SA ... U.S. Energy Systems Inc. ... Castlebridge Partners LLC ... Utility.com ... New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority ... NewEnergy ... Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. ... TXU Australia ... Convergent Group ... Florida Power & Light Co. ... Texaco Energy Systems Inc. ... Energy Conversion Devices Inc. .... Illinois Power

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. (SCE&G), a Scana Corp. subsidiary, has selected Innovatec Communications LLC to deploy its AxisPath fixed wireless network in targeted sections of SCE&G's service territory in early 2001, Innovatec said. The system will be used to remotely read electric and gas meters using a common communications network and will utilize many advanced network functions, including remote service-disconnect, real-time outage notification, usage profiles, customer payment options, and other advanced information management capabilities.

Conectiv reported it has ordered 21 combustion turbine units from Siemens Westinghouse and General Electric Co. The 21 new combustion turbines will allow the company to achieve its goal of adding up to 4,000 Mw by the end of 2004. The mid-merit power plants can start and stop quickly in response to increases in demand for power. Conectiv already owns approximately 1,900 Mw of mid-merit and peaking generation in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington, DC, area.

DPL Inc. unit Dayton Power & Light Co. (DP&L)has received approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) for its customer choice transition plan. The DPL transition plan which begins in January provides a 3-year transition period ending Dec.31, 2003. Under the plan, DPL will functionally separate its generation, transmission, and distribution business units.. In addition, stable rates for DP&L customers are assured for the 3-year transition period and energy delivery service prices are fixed for 6 years.

The Illinois Commerce Commission suspended Nicor Gas Inc.'s filing to expand Customer Select, the company's voluntary program which offers customers a choice of natural gas suppliers. Under Nicor Gas' proposal, all customers could choose a natural gas supplier other than Nicor Gas beginning March 2001. The commission said will initiate hearings about the program that could last up to 11 months.

NRG Energy Inc. reported it has purchased about 24.4% of the common shares of Brazil's Itiquira Energetica SA for $7.9 Million (14.5 million reals). It is building a156 Mw hydroelectric project, now 30% complete. Full commercial operation is expected in March 2002. NRG and the Swedish government-owned utility, Vattenfall AB�through their jointly-owned Latin American investment vehicle�Tosli Investments N.V., own about 48.8% of the common shares of Itiquira. Inepar Energia SA, the independent power affiliate of Inepar Holdings, NRG's and Vattenfall's Brazilian partner in the project, retains an equal ownership level of common shares in Itiquira.

Independent power producer U.S. Energy Systems Inc. reported it has purchased 25% of Castlebridge Partners LLC, an affiliate of Kemper Insurance Cos.,Chicago, through the issuance of 568,750 of U.S. Energy common shares valued at $6/share.Castlebridge focuses on structuring risk management in the electric power markets and commodity derivative markets, including risk management and hedging of weather risk, fuel, emission credits, and electric power.

Internet utility company Utility.com said it has been licensed by the Maine Public Utilities Commission to sell electricity in the state's deregulated market. To offer service to the state's 700,000 electricity customers, Utility.com will seek agreements with incumbent electricity providers such as Central Maine Power Co., Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., and Maine Public Service Co. This license extends Utility.com's reach to consumers in 10 states.

The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority has signed a contract with AES Corp. subsidiary NewEnergy to provide electricity to Giants Stadium, the Continental Airlines Arena, the Meadowlands, and Monmouth Park racetracks, and the Atlantic City and Wildwood convention centers. Under the contract, NewEnergy will provide electricity and energy management services to the sports authority. Terms were not disclosed.

The Nine Mile Point Unit 2 nuclear plant, Scriba, NY, is operating at 25% power and expected to return to service by the weekend, Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. officials said. The plant automatically shut down Sept. 17 during power ascension following the conclusion of a maintenance outage. The cause of the shutdown was determined to be turbine vibration.

TXU Australia, a subsidiary of TXU Corp., Dallas, said a decision by Office of the Regulator-General with respect to how much customers will pay for delivery of electricity�the wires charge�will result in an annual reduction in network revenue of about $16 million. The decision is scheduled to become effective at the beginning of 2001. Regulators also accepted TXU's proposed plan to improve network performance 16% over the 5-year price review period, TXU said. The company said it is disappointed regulators did not address the price imbalances that will result in Victorian rural customers paying more than Victorian city customers.

Unicom Corp. unit Commonwealth Edison Co., Chicago, has retained Convergent Group to deploy a work management and supply chain system, the Convergent Group said. Under the $2.1 million contract effective through April 2000, Convergent will install the Indus International Passport work management system and integrate it with the utility's GIS technology. A work management system houses information about all of a utility's ongoing jobs, including construction orders, maintenance programs, and inspections.

Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL) said it submitted a plan to the Florida Public Service Commission that would spread $518 million in fuel expenses over a 2-year period, rather than the typical 1-year time frame. This will limit an increase in fuel costs passed to residential customers to 8.7%/year, the company said. FPL also asked the PSC to spread the cost of a $222.5 million buyout of purchased power contracts with two Palm Beach county power plants over 5 years and delay the start of recovery from customers until 2002.

Texaco Energy Systems Inc. (TESI), a unit of Texaco Inc., and Energy Conversion Devices Inc.(ECD) reported formation of Texaco Ovonic Fuel Cell Co. LLC, a $40 million 50-50 joint venture, to develop and advance the commercialization of the Ovonic Regenerative Fuel Cell. Under the agreement, ECD will provide proprietary technology and its fuel cell development expertise, while TESI will provide additional technological support and funding for development work and initial product launch.

Illinois Power, a unit of Dynegy Inc., said it will withdraw from the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO) to become a member of the Alliance Regional Transmission Operator (Alliance RTO), pending approval from necessary regulatory bodies including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. An important consideration in the company's decision is the fact that many members of the Alliance RTO operate in states that have electric choice, unlike most MISO members, the company said. If approved, Illinois Power's withdrawal from MISO would be effective no later than December 2001.

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