Power Pools & Reliability
SUMMER IN WISCONSIN. Responding to concerns about the electric shortages of the summer of 1997 and fears that they could happen again, Wisconsin PSC Commissioner Joseph P. Mettner has indicated that the state's energy supply outlook for the summer of 1998 appears much better in eastern Wisconsin than it did one year ago.
Mettner noted that Wisconsin's electric supply system is operating with expected reserve margins of 19.2 percent. But he cautioned that electric power flows do not respect borders.
"Outages of 7,000-MW of nuclear units to the south of Wisconsin can cause severe strain on the transmission system as companies use the system to import replacement power," Mettner said. Eastern Wisconsin again could experience reliability problems due to factors beyond the control of the PSC, such as the substantial nuclear outages throughout Illinois, Michigan and Ontario. Also, extended periods of hot weather or unexpected plant shutdowns could lead to power shortages. (For updates, see http://badger.state.wi.us/agencies/psc/writings/papers/energy/risklvl.htm.)
Meanwhile, one of the 10 reliability councils that make up the North American Electric Reliability Council, Mid-America Interconnected Network Inc., is discussed in a new report, 1998 NERC Summer Assessment for MAIN, showing that while Wisconsin may have more than adequate energy supplies, that neighboring states to the south may not. On a regional basis, utility members of MAIN are operating at an average capacity margin of nine to 12 percent, depending on availability of key Illinois nuclear units. (See, www.maininc.org/files.htm or www.nerc.com/~filez/special.html.)
Light Rio Servicos, a subsidiary of Electricité de France, acquired Brazil's largest electric utility, Electropaulo Metropolitana. Light was awarded the bid at a price of $1.75 billion, representing 28.5 percent of capital stock and 75 percent of voting rights.
Energy Interactive Inc. was awarded a contract with KN Energy Inc. to deliver online customer energy information services through KN Energy's web site.
Energy Pacific, the joint venture of Pacific Enterprise and Enova Corp., announced it is changing its name to Sempra Energy Solutions.
Consolidated Natural Gas Co. plans to concentrate its unregulated energy marketing activities on retail customers and discontinue wholesale marketing and trading of natural gas and electricity. The cost of exiting the unregulated wholesale energy marketing operations will result in a pretax charge against first-quarter earnings from $55 million to $75 million.
Northern States Power Co. announced it has acquired the exclusive ownership rights to the Reddy Kilowatt symbol -- the red, lightning-bolt figure -- which was widely used by utilities in the 1940s, '50s and '60s.
Central Louisiana Electric Company Inc. is changing its name to Cleco Corp. The name change makes official a name the company has used for years. The company also is changing its logo.
Fourteen solar electric business ventures have been selected to receive a total of $5 million in U.S. Department of Energy funding through the Utility PhotoVoltaic Group's TEAM-UP program. The total value of these solar initiatives is more than $29 million and will add almost 3 megawatts of solar voltaic electricity to power homes and businesses in 20 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.