Great River Energy of Elk River, MN, and Minnesota Power Inc. ofDuluth, MN, plan to combine power supply assets and customer loadsfor power pool operations. MPEX, a division of Minnesota Power,will provide power trading, least-cost supply and risk managementservices for the combined operations. Ownership of existing assetsand customer supply arrangements will not change.
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As possibly the first step toward the formation of a multi-statewestern U.S. electricity transmission grid operator, the CaliforniaIndependent System Operator’s governing board has authorized theISO management to discuss with Nevada regulatory staff a deal underwhich the California nonprofit grid operator would expand itsoperations to handle Nevada. Public Utilities Commission staff inNevada raised the issue last month as an option for the state as itanticipates a new law that will open Nevada power markets nextspring.
Everyone seems to be “joining the slow club,” one sourceremarked Wednesday as the last day of June futures trading onlynudged June baseload and the day-trading markets slightly higherfrom the holding patterns established Tuesday. Today will be muchmore active, he said, because the Nymex closes early Friday due toMemorial Day, and time is running out to get deals done.
Columbia, SC-based SCANA Corp. nearly doubled its regulated gascustomer base in the fast-growing Carolinas last week with thepurchase of Public Service Company of North Carolina (PSNC) for$900 million, including the assumption of about $250 million inPSNC debt. The combination will serve 517,000 electric, 760,000 gascustomers in the Carolinas and Georgia and 350,000telecommunications customers throughout the Southeast. Total annualrevenues for the combined company will be about $2 billion andmarket capitalization will be about $6 billion.
While the abundance of gas now in storage has analystspredicting soft prices in the coming months, others suggest thecharacter of storage operations will be changing as more and moremarketers take title to storage capacity from LDCs. Storage held bylocal distribution companies and power generators typically hasbeen used to ensure supply. Marketers holding storage or optimizingstorage assets under contract with LDCs see storage as a financialopportunity in addition to a supply insurance policy. Thearbitrageurs will handle their storage differently when suppliesget tight, said Pete Kinsella, Columbia Gas Transmission vicepresident of marketing and volume management.