News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1998

Business Wire

William Catacosinos has resigned as chairman of MarketSpan Corp., the utility formed to replace the troubled Long Island Lighting Co. Catacosinos is under investigation by the New York attorney general due to a $42-million severance payment as part of the buyout of LILCO by the New York government-run Long Island Power Authority (see Public Utilities Fortnightly, August 1998, p.28).

SCT Utility Systems Inc., signed a software and services agreement worth about $13 million with the city of Seattle for the BANNER Customer Management System. The agreement will aid the city's efforts to consolidate services for the 450,000 customers of Seattle City Light, which provides electrical services, and Seattle Public Utilities which provides water, wastewater, drainage, sewage, flood control and recycling services.

Duke Energy recently installed an automatic teller machine that accepts bill payments at one of its customer service offices. It plans to add three more in other locations. Customers insert their utility bill and punch in a personal code. After the ATM recognizes their account, the customer will deposit their payment amount. The terminals cost $28,000 to $35,000 each. The Salt River Project already operates seven payment terminals, four of them accessible 24 hours a day. The company wants to add 11 more.

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. filed a modified pipeline expansion program to its 1999 facilities application with the National Energy Board that proposes a $404.5-million expansion for completion by November 1999. Under the modified program, the company would provide net incremental firm transportation service of 208 million cubic feet per day of natural gas by November 1999 to customers in eastern Canada and the midwestern and northeastern U.S. TransCanada proposes to construct new capacity for 108 MMcf per day through construction of 156 kilometers of pipeline loop and four additional compressor units.

Consolidated Natural Gas Co. has a definitive agreement to sell the capital stock of CNG Energy Services Corp., its wholesale energy marketing subsidiary, to Sempra Energy Trading, a subsidiary of San Diego-based Sempra Energy. The sale is expected to close in early August, following regulatory approval. Proceeds from the sale of $48 million are subject to final adjustments.

Clearwater Gas System has become the first American Public Gas Association member to offer the new Hometown Energy Loan Program to its customers. Under the program, created by the APGA in conjunction with Yankee Energy System Inc., association members can offer financing to customers for home energy improvements.

Federal Agencies

MARKET INFORMATION. The DOE's Energy Information Administration has proposed revisions to the procedures it uses to protect the confidential electric power data it collects from the power industry and to give equal treatment to utilities and private power generators. (See Federal Register, Vol. 63, July 17, p. 38,620).

Data exempt from disclosure includes: future generating capacity (additions, retirement, etc.); heat rates; contract information for wholesale and retail sales; fuel stocks; and financial data about environmental equipment. Data that would become or remain available includes: information about existing units (except full-load heat rate); net or gross generation; fuel consumption; environmental data; sales and revenues; and financial reports from IOUs.