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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1998

salvage value. Docket No. 980366-EQ, Order No. PSC-98-0790-FOF-EQ, June 8, 1998 (Fla.P.S.C.).

Generating Plants

NUCLEAR/HYDRO AUCTION. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. has received 37 preliminary bids in the auction of its fossil-fuel and hydroelectric generating plants. Ni-Mo was to cull the list and ask surviving bidders for binding offers later this month. The available plants include four fossil-fueled facilities with a combined capacity of 3,256 megawatt-hour. The portfolio includes 72 hydroelectric plants in six packages, with a combined capacity of 661 MW, plus an unused plant site. Transfer of ownership is expected in the first half of 1999 upon receipt of regulatory approvals.

Niagara Mohawk has withdrawn from the auction its 300-MW interest in the Roseton fossil fuel station, pursuant to an agreement with the other owners, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. and Consolidated Edison Co. The owners are pursuing a sale of Roseton in a separate auction.

TMI SALE. GPU Inc. has reached an agreement to sell the Three Mile Island Unit 1 nuclear plant to AmerGen Energy Co. for $100 million, including $23 million for the reactor and $77 million for the plant nuclear fuel. The sale price will change based on actual energy market-clearing prices through 2010. This deal marks the first sale of a nuclear plant in the U.S.

AmerGen was formed last year as a joint venture by PECO Energy and British Energy to purchase and operate nuclear plants in the U.S. GPU Energy will buy back the energy and capacity from TMI Unit 1 from Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2001, assuming the deal closes on Dec. 31, 1999.

HYDRO SALE BENEFITS. The Vermont Public Service Board approved the transfer of the Fifteen Mile Falls and Deerfield River hydroelectric projects owned by New England Power Co. to U S Gen New England Inc., an indirect subsidiary of PG&E Corp., which will sell the power at wholesale only, at FERC-approved, market-based rates. The board said the transfer should produce "substantial conservation and environmental benefits" to the public, through new easements and restrictions covering undeveloped land as well as land restoration and water management funding. Docket No. 6039, June 11, 1998 (Vt.P.S.B.); Docket No. 6039, June 29, 1998 (Vt.P.S.B.).

Courts

ELECTRIC CHOICE. Though a state law passed in 1996 now guarantees retail choice in electricity by Jan. 1, 2001, a Pennsylvania court nevertheless wants the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to reconsider a complaint filed in 1993 by residents of Findlay Township, but dismissed two years ago, that had sought authority to switch suppliers right away. The court said the complaint was not moot - that the new law should not bar customers from seeking relief ahead of the statutory deadline. Duquesne Light Co. v. Pa. PUC, Nos. 2663 C.D.1996, et al., 1998 WL 416491, July 22, 1998 (Pa.Cmwlth.).

PIPELINE RATE ZONES. Remanding a gas pipeline rate case, a federal appeals court has asked the FERC to better explain why the scheme of rate zones used by the Tennessee Gas system does not inhibit formation of market centers, as argued by NorAm, by bundling certain gas production costs