Coal

Electric power news briefs

Sept. 14, 2000 — UGI Corp. and a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy Inc have formed a partnership that will own and operate electric generation facilities, UGI said. Initially, the partnership will own UGI’s existing 48 MW, coal-fired electric generator and a new natural gas-fired 44 MW combustion turbine generator which will be built at UGI’s electric generation facility at Hunlock Creek, Penn. Under the agreement, UGI will contribute the coal plant, certain coal inventories, and about $6 million in cash in return for a 50% interest in the partnership. Allegheny will contribute the new combustion turbine in return for its 50% interest in the partnership. A subsidiary of UGI will operate the combined facility under contract, following a construction period of about 3 months. UGI said it expects the partnership to contribute to earnings in the first year of operation.

Panda Energy International Inc. said it will build a $350 million 1,070 MW combined cycle, natural gas-fired merchant electric power plant in Jefferson County, Ill. Construction is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2002 with completion scheduled in late 2002. Panda said it will to sell power in the wholesale electric market through an interconnection with the West Mount Vernon substation. Up to 9.5 million gpd of water will be purchased from the City of Mt. Vernon through the Rend Lake Conservancy District, Panda said.

Constellation Power Source reported it was ranked the eighth largest wholesale electric power marketer in the second quarter of 2000, according to US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filings. In the second quarter 2000, Constellation Power Source sold more than 27.4 million MWh, up 93% over the second quarter of 1999. Year-to-date, the company has sold more than 50.5 million MWh of electricity, a 69% jump from the same period last year.

Citizen Power, a regional watchdog organization, reported it will appeal the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) decision reaffirming its approval of FirstEnergy Corp.’s electric deregulation transition plan. Under the transition plan approved by PUCO, FirstEnergy is permitted to count as “competitive” switches any customers who transfer their accounts from FirstEnergy to its wholly owned subsidiary, First Energy Services, an entity that will sell electricity to these customers from the same power plants now used to serve them, allowing FirstEnergy to qualify for 100% recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in “stranded costs,” Citizens Power said.

Citing a lack of firm commitment from major potential customers, Westcoast Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC, said development of the Orca natural gas pipeline project will be placed on hold. at this time. The proposed natural gas pipeline would have brought natural gas from Canada, through Sumas Wash., south to South Whidbey Island, and then west, across Admiralty Inlet to serve east Jefferson County, including Port Townsend and surrounding communities. Westcoast said it will reopen the project when it receives the necessary market support.

Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) has selected billserv.com Inc. to provide an electronic bill presentment and payment solution that will enable the utility firm to distribute its customers’ bills via the internet within the next several months, billserv.com reported. CMP will transmit its billing data to billserv.com, which billserv.com will translate and securely distribute to the various points of contact for presentment and payment. With the addition of CMP, billserv.com now has 27 biller relationships contracted representing 43 billers.

City Public Service of San Antonio has awarded Soliance, San Diego, Calif., the first phase of a $46.8 million information systems contract, Soliance reported. Soliance will work with a team of CPS employees to upgrade the San Antonio utility’s computer systems in the areas of customer information, work management, financial information, and materials management. These programs will support distribution of gas and electric services to the city of San Antonio and surrounding areas as CPS prepares for entry into a deregulated electric utility environment. The implementation will replace CPS’s legacy systems.

Essential.com reported has filed for a license with California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) to sell electricity to small businesses and households. Approval by the CPUC will allow Essential.com to become a competitive electricity supplier and make an effort to bring lower rates to the state’s small businesses and household customers, the company said.

Altra Energy Technologies Inc. said Altrade Power set an all-time monthly volume record in August of 18.9 million MWh traded, surpassing its previous record of 14.8 million MWh set in February. The number of users on Altrade Power has increased by 25% since the beginning of the year, despite slower adoption rates for online trading among power traders as compared to traders of other commodities, the company said. Of all its energy commodities, power remains the most volatile with tight bids and offers being the biggest challenge, said Altra CEO Paul Bourke. Altrade Power is an exchange for electric utilities, power marketers, municipalities. and independent power producers. On Auh. 16, Altra’s natural gas liquids (NGL) trading platform set a daily record when more than 2.6 million bbl of NGLs were traded over the exchange, representing a record-setting 140 transactions.