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Reliant Energy Launches Hourly Gas Transport for Electrics

Reliant Energy Launches Hourly Gas Transport for Electrics

Reliant Energy Gas Transmission has filed the first-ever pipeline transportation proposal for an hourly service and rates to meet the increasing swing load and peaking needs of the power generation industry.

"We've worked hard to get ready to make this available by June 1," Dale C. Earwood, president and COO of Reliant Energy Interstate Pipelines, said. While the service is aimed at new merchant power plants which are installing natural gas-driven turbines for peak power, "we see increased power needed now at the margin. We are getting significant peaking load from traditional players already."

Electronic technology has finally made possible the fast on-and off-service that power customers have been requesting for years. "Three years ago, even one and a half years ago, we couldn't have done this," Earwood said. "The technology wasn't advanced enough. Now we can get good electronic information from our customers on a timely basis and good information on what's happening on the pipeline system." Reliant Energy Transmission has "largely identified a need and has the ability to handle transactions on a short term cycle." While FERC has pushed pipelines to intraday deliveries, "this transcends intraday."

According to the proposed rate filing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, customers will use electronic bulletin boards to nominate service. Responses will be delivered by e-mail. The company filed a new Rate Schedule Hourly Firm Transportation (HFT) April 12 with a proposed effective date of June 1, 1999.

"Our new hourly service is designed to allow power generators and other customers to better match the pipeline capacity they reserve with the service they need as their load requirements vary throughout the day," Earwood said, adding that he was not aware of any other pipeline offering this type of service. The rates will be derived from the existing firm rate schedule although they are likely to be market responsive to allocate peak capacity. "We're hopeful we'll have considerable support from the electric generating industry. I don't foresee any problems at this time."

Customers wanting more information about this new hourly service can contact Willie Underwood at (713)-207-5127.

Ellen Beswick

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