Questar Pipeline Co. is holding a binding open season through July 15 for capacity that would be created by the installation of compression facilities on its Mainline 68 in Garfield County, CO. The proposed project would enable Questar to transport up to an additional 50,000 Dth/d from receipt points east of Greasewood on Mainline 68. Up to 47,500 Dth/d of the proposed capacity could be delivered to the White River Hub and TransColorado Gas Transmission Co. Up to 21,160 Dth/d could be delivered to various locations on Questar's northern system that include Colorado Interstate Gas at Kanda, Northwest Pipeline GP at Crossover 16, Questar Gas Co. (Wasatch Front), Questar Overthrust Pipeline Co., Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline at Skull Creek and Wyoming Interstate Co. LLC at Kanda. For information contact Mary Kay Olson at (801) 324-5873 or Theresa Harrison at (801) 324-2566, or visit www.questarpipeline.com.

Rapid City, SD-based Black Hills Corp.'s utility in Iowa has filed with state regulators for a $4.7 million (2.9%) rate increase for its natural gas operations in the state. Black Hills Energy told the Iowa Utilities Board it needs to recover the cost of more than $17 million in capital investments made since 2008. Under Iowa's rate process the natural gas utility will be permitted to place a 1.6% interim rate hike in effect on June 18, subject to refund, while the rate request is being reviewed. When the interim increase goes into effect, average residential and commercial customers will see a monthly increase of about $1.46. If final rates approved by the Iowa regulators are lower than the interim rate hike, customers will receive a refund with interest. Black Hills expects the final rate decision to be effective next April. Black Hills is proposing that a "system integrity rider" be created to allow the utility to recover a portion of the costs of capital to replace aging pipe, thereby avoiding the need for a full rate case proceeding to recover the infrastructure investments.

Ford will introduce a compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engine prep package for its F-450 and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks later this year. The engine will come with hardened exhaust valves and valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability for gaseous fuel systems, Ford said. CNG/LPG capability will also be added to Ford's F-53 motor home chassis and a new F-59 commercial strip chassis, Ford said. The company last year introduced the same option on its E-Series and other commercial fleet vehicles and said it has shipped to fleet operators approximately 3,000 E-Series vans with CNG/LPG-prepped engines.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has approved Progress Energy Carolinas' (PEC) plan to build a 620 MW gas-fueled power plant to replace the coal-fired units at its L.V. Sutton Plant near Wilmington, NC, PEC said. The $600 million project is scheduled to be completed in 2014. Raleigh, NC-based PEC intends to permanently shut down by 2017 all of its North Carolina coal-fired power plants that do not have flue-gas desulfurization controls (scrubbers), including those at the Sutton Plant, the 316 MW Cape Fear Plant and the 172 MW W.H. Weatherspoon Plant. PEC said it would also shut down three coal-fired units at its 397 MW H.F. Lee Plant in 2013 and build 950 MW of gas-fired combined-cycle generation at the site as their replacement. PEC expects to retire the three coal-fired units at the Sutton Plant in 2014 and bring the gas-fueled plant online at the same time.

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