You've heard talk lately about the convergence of electricity and natural gas. That idea has grown as commodity markets have matured for gas and emerged for bulk power.
Public utility stocks showed no signs of letting up during the fourth quarter of 1995. The Public Utilities Stock Index rallied a brisk 234.66 points, or 6.38 percent, to close at 3910.01. Not to be outdone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 355.86 points, or 7.47 percent, to close at 5117.12, and the S&P 500 Stock Index climbed 34.21 points, or 5.88 percent, to close at 615.93.
Certain stocks sparkled more than others:
SCANA Corp. announced that the South Carolina Public Service Commission approved a $67.5-million (7.34-percent) increase in retail electric rates for the company's subsidiary, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. The rate increase will be implemented in two phases over two years. Last month, shares for SCANA Corp. rose 18.65 percent, to close at $28.63.
Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NiMo) submitted a proposal to the New York Public Service Commission to split the company into two separate entities and freeze rates through 2000. Niagara Mohawk is also asking eight unregulated power plants to guarantee to honor over $3 billion in obligations, rather than abandoning their plants. NiMo stock dropped 27.62 percent, to close at $9.50.
AES Generating Co., a subsidiary of AES Corp., will provide up to $27.6 million in funds for a joint venture to build and operate a 45-megawatt coal-fired power plant in China's Sichuan province. Paul Hanrahan, president and CEO of AES Chigen, said the plant will cut sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions below standard coal facility emissions. Last month, shares for AES Corp. jumped 25.66 percent, closing at $23.88.
CMS Energy Corp. plans to invest up to $1 billion in Asia over the next five years. David Weaver, CMS Energy Asia managing director, said the investment will mainly be in power generation, oil and gas exploration, and oil and gas pipelines. Shares in CMS Energy climbed 13.81 percent, to close at $29.88. t
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