UtiliCorp Selling West VA Power Division

UtiliCorp United agreed to sell its West Virginia Power division to Allegheny Energy Inc. for $75 million in cash. In addition, separate transactions include a 20-year supply agreement for UtiliCorp's Aquila Energy unit to provide gas to Allegheny, and an agreement for Allegheny to purchase Appalachian Electric Heating, UtiliCorp's heating and air conditioning service operations in West Virginia. A spokesman said details of the gas supply and other agreements are confidential.

West Virginia Power is based in Fairlea, WV. Its 122 employees serve about 50,000 electric and gas customers.

"We have been examining options to enhance West Virginia Power's ability to grow and strengthen its operations, and the offer from Allegheny represents a solution that best serves the long-term interests of the communities involved, our West Virginia customers, and UtiliCorp employees and shareholders," said Richard C. Green Jr., UtiliCorp CEO.

"Allegheny is a strong player in Eastern energy markets, and we're confident that West Virginia Power will play an important role in its plans for growth in the state and the region," Green said. UtiliCorp acquired West Virginia Power's electric operations in 1987 and in 1990 added the West Virginia gas system. Subject to federal and state regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close sometime in the first quarter of 2000.

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