KeySpan Corp. said yesterday it anticipates its 2000 earnings,excluding the impact of any transaction or restructuring charges,will be $2.40 per share, significantly ahead of the current FirstCall consensus estimates of $2.28 per share. Strong earnings areexpected to result from solid performances across all businesssegments, especially from the electric, exploration, and productionsegments. In addition, the energy-services business should reportits first annual profit in 2000. “We expect to be able to increaseour earnings in 2001 by 10%, ranging from $2.60 to $2.65 per share,well ahead of the current First Call consensus of $2.48 per share,”said CEO Robert B. Catell. KeySpan has had a record level of gascustomer conversions from oil to natural gas, primarily on LongIsland. In addition, more than 1 MMcf of mainline gas distributionpipe is expected to be installed this year as the system isexpanded to serve new areas. In New England, the company intends toachieve its growth targets resulting from the acquisition ofEastern Enterprises and EnergyNorth. Currently, the companyestimates that the special charges resulting from acquiring EasternEnterprises and EnergyNorth in November will amount to $75 million,which will be reported in the fourth quarter. Including thesecharges, earnings per share for fiscal year 2000 are expected torange from $2.05 to $2.10. KeySpan is the largest gas distributorin the Northeast, with 2.4 million gas customers and more than13,000 employees. KeySpan also is the largest investor-ownedelectric generator in New York State and operates Long Island’selectric system.
New Jersey Resources announced the launch NJR Home ServicesCompany, an unregulated subsidiary that offers the home-appliancerepair and contract warranty services previously provided by itsregulated subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas. In a written Ordersigned on Dec. 6, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU)approved the transfer of the competitive, appliance repair servicespreviously offered by NJNG to NJR Home Services.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced changes to its REACHemergency assistance program in order to provide more help tocustomers who have difficulty paying high winter heating bills.Relief for Energy Assistance through Community Help (REACH) issponsored by PG&E and administered by The Salvation Army. Theprogram provides once-a-year assistance to low-income customers whoexperience a sudden change in the ability to pay their energy bill.Under the expanded program, customers are now eligible if theirincomes are up to 200% of the federal poverty level, or about$34,100 for a family of four. Previously, the income limit was150%. Additionally, for December through April 2001, the maximumassistance level will be $300 (up from $200) in anticipation ofhigher gas bills. “With natural gas prices high across the nation,we’re very concerned that many of our customers will have adifficult time paying to heat their home this winter. So, we’veexpanded our low-income emergency assistance program in order tohelp more people and provide them with a greater amount of help,”said Pacific Gas and Electric CEO Gordon R. Smith. REACH, which isprivately funded by donations from customers and employees ofPacific Gas and Electric, has helped more than 400,000 familiesover the years, he said.
Sempra Energy Solutions announced a contract to supply fuel tothe Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)natural gas bus fleet. The MTA’s board approved a contract to buy28 million therms of gas over the next year, under a contract thatis renewable for two additional years. The first year of supply isvalued at well over $14 million, with the duration of the agreementtotaling up to $50 million. The Los Angeles County MTA currentlyhas a fleet of 1,025 buses that use compressed natural gas (CNG) astheir only fuel source. The MTA plans to add 25 new CNG buses tothe fleet every month for the next four years. “By working withSempra Energy Solutions, we will save nearly $400,000 per year infuel costs for our CNG fleet,” said Tom Conner, executive officerfor transit operations of the Los Angeles County MTA.Diesel-powered transit buses are 76 times more toxic than thoserunning on natural gas.
OGE Energy Corp. reported that its natural gas pipelinesubsidiary, Enogex, has entered into a long-term agreement totransport natural gas on its Transok pipeline to fuel Calpine OnetaPower L.P.’s 1,100 MW power facility which is still underconstruction near Tulsa in northeastern Oklahoma. The Transokpipeline will provide up to 185 MMcf/d to the gas-fired plant uponcompletion. Testing of the Oneta Energy Center will begin inNovember 2001, and commercial operation is expected to begin inJune 2002. Calpine Corp. is the lead developer on the project.
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