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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 2000

power requirements from its affiliate, Select Energy Inc., even though a bidding process identified NRG Power Marketing and Duke Energy Trading and Marketing as the lowest-cost suppliers. Docket No. 99-03-36, Dec. 15, 1999 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).

Further, the DPUC granted a competitive electric supplier license to Select, though it said it was "extremely concerned" about an employee sharing arrangement between Select and CL&P, whereby Select "might have been provided" with sensitive customer information, billing histories and load data prior to gaining customer releases. Docket No. 99-08-03, Dec. 16, 1999 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).

Power Quality. Acknowledging that "[p]ower quality has become a more significant issue in the provision of adequate electric service," the Wisconsin PSC in December sent to the state legislature proposed, revised rules on electric service adequacy and consumer protection. See http://www.psc.state.wi.us/cases/elecrest/psc113.htm.

Capacity Solicitations. Reply comments were due to the Michigan PSC by Feb. 8 on proposals by Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison to revise their procedures for soliciting electric capacity, including power from qualifying cogeneration and small power production facilities. Case Nos. U-12148 (Consumers Energy), U-12177 (Detroit Edison), proposals filed Dec. 16, 1999 (Mich.P.S.C.).

Power Plants

Hydroelectric Divestiture. The California PUC mapped out a simultaneous four-track process to review the proposal by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to sell off hydroelectric assets totaling 3,890 MW (110 generating units, 68 powerhouses):

* Environmental Track. PUC's energy division will compare local and regional environmental impacts against a "no project" alternative - meaning no divestiture - and project alternatives, including conservation easement, a possible bundling of assets, or decommissioning of dams.

* Divestiture Track. PUC will review public interest impacts on safety, reliability and economics.

* Stranded Costs Track. PUC will set a rate-making approach to set a value for PG&E hydro assets.

* Other Issues. PUC will review whether disposition should include purchased power contracts and some 44,000 acres in watershed land associated with the hydro units but not included in PG&E's proposal.

The PUC set a deadline of Sept. 1, 2000 for its proposed decision in the divestiture track and issuance of a draft Environmental Impact Report available for public comment. Application 99-09-053, Jan. 13, 2000 (Cal.P.U.C.).

Divestiture Rules. The Oregon PUC approved a bidding process for the sale of generation and purchased power assets by Portland General Electric Co., but barred the utility's affiliates from participating in the bidding. Order No. 99-765, Dec. 16, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).

Fossil Plant Sales. On Jan. 18 Conectiv announced an agreement to sell 1875 MW of fossil-fired generation and related assets to NRG Energy, a subsidiary of Northern States Power, for $800 million. The sale would cover six plants and small interests in two others:

* B.L. England. (447 MW; coal & oil; Cape May County, N.J.)

* Deepwater. (239 MW; coal, oil, gas; Salem County, N.J.)

* Indian River. (784 MW; coal, oil; Sussex County, Del.)

* Vienna. (170 MW; oil; Vienna, Md.)

* Keystone. (6.17 percent interest in 106-MW plant; coal; Shelocta, Pa.)

* Conemaugh. (7.55 percent interest in 129-MW plant; coal/New Florence, Pa.)

The sale was expected to close during third-quarter 2000, subject to certain