General Interest news briefs, May 8

Columbia Electric Corp. ... AEP Pro Serv ... Southern Energy Inc. ... Southern Co.

ScottishPower, Glasgow, and SAIC Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Science Application International Corp., San Diego, Calif., formed a joint venture to "exploit the growing demand for information technology (IT) expertise in the global utilities sector." The companies each will hold a 50% interest in Calanais, the JV company. It will provide IT services to ScottishPower but also seek to develop an external IT service business with customers in the multiservice utility sector. The JV also will market expertise in business change and internet strategies in the utility sector. ScottishPower said it expects external business to provide most of the JV's revenue within 3 years. Calanais will initially be based in Glasgow and Chester, Scotland; it will employ 600 people, mostly drawn from ScottishPower's existing staff.

Columbia Electric Corp. awarded a contract to American Electric Power subsidiary AEP Pro Serv to engineer, design, construct, and manage a 500 Mw power plant project near Ceredo, W.Va. The six-unit, simple-cycle, gas-fired facility will cost $140 million. It will be located next to a Columbia Gas Transmission gas compressor station. Construction is slated to start this summer, with plant start-up expected by summer 2001.

Southern Energy Inc., a unit of Southern Co., Atlanta, said Monday that its 300-Mw natural gas-fired power plant in Neenah, Wis., has begun commercial operations. The peaking power plant will provide power to Wisconsin Electric when demand is high, particularly during the summer months. Southern Energy signed an 8-year power supply contract with Wisconsin Electric and may seek to expand the plant. The plant uses two gas-fired combustion turbines, but heat-recovery equipment could eventually be added to drive a steam turbine, converting the facility to combined-cycle technology.

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