Columbia Energy Group has entered into an agreement with OrionPower Holdings of Baltimore, MD, to sell all of the outstandingshares of its subsidiary Columbia Electric Corp. for $200 millionin cash plus the assumption of project-related debt. Included inthe deal is 4,000 MW of capacity in construction and developmentphases.

The sale package includes two natural gas-fired power generatingfacilities currently under construction, and two natural gas-firedgenerating facilities in advanced development. The 500 MWsimple-cycle Ceredo facility located in Wayne County, WV, and the568 MW combined-cycle Liberty facility located near Philadelphia,PA, are under construction and expected to be in service in byearly 2001 and early 2002 respectively. The 1,650 MW combined-cycleKelson Ridge station located in Charles County, MD, and the 500 MWsimple-cycle Henderson station located in Henderson County, KY, areexpected to enter the first stage of construction by mid 2004. Inaddition, the deal includes gas-fired projects totaling 800 MW invarious stages of early development.

Columbia spokesman Michael J. McGarry said the subsidiary salewas not part of the company’s merger with NiSource, which isexpected to be completed later this month. The projects “were notseen as part of Columbia’s strategy going forward, but also it wasseen as a way to achieve greater shareholder value,” said McGarry .

Columbia withheld its membership interests in four qualifyingfacilities totaling almost 800 MW in Texas, New Jersey and Maine.Because its merger with NiSource makes its businesses more than 50%utility, the four membership interests will still need to be soldoff to stay in compliance with the Public Utility RegulatoryPolicy’s Act of 1978, McGarry said. Negotiations for themembership interests in the four power generation assets areongoing.

Alex Steis

©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rightsreserved. The preceding news report may not be republished orredistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.