North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) Vice President David R. Nevius testified before the Energy and Power subcommittee of the House of Representatives Commerce Committee on Oct. 6, 1999. "We need reliability legislation now," Nevius told the subcommittee. "Without the ability to enforce compliance with mandatory reliability rules, fairly applied to all participants, we may not be able much longer to keep the interstate electric grids operating reliably."

The subcommittee currently is debating the merits of H.R. 2944, "Electricity Competition and Reliability Act of 1999." Title II of the act calls for the creation of an independent industry self-regulatory electric reliability organization to develop and enforce mandatory reliability rules, with NERC providing oversight in the United States. NERC believes that, as NAERO (North American Electric Reliability Organization), it can perform this role.

Garland Developing Plan For Senate Bill 7 Garland Power & Light, Garland, Texas, is developing a compliance plan for Senate Bill 7 (SB 7), which the Texas Legislature approved in its 1999 session. SB 7 addresses the total annual emissions of nitrogen oxides from electrical engineering facilities. It is the intent of the legislature that, "for the 12-month period beginning on May 1, 2003, and for each 12-month period after the end of that period, total annual emissions of nitrogen oxides from facilities subject to this section may not exceed levels equal to 50% of the total emission of that pollutant during 1997, as reported to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission."

Facilities of 25 MW or less may be excluded from these requirements if the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission is informed by the municipal corporation, electric cooperative or river authority of its intent to exclude those facilities.

Garland Power & Light has two facilities affected by SB 7-C.E. Newman Power Plant and Ray Olinger Power Plant. Only one of the five emission sources at the Newman Plant is affected by the provisions of SB 7. The Olinger Plant, approximately 25 miles north of Garland, has three emission sources, with two affected.

RJM, headquartered in Connecticut, is conducting the testing and analysis for Garland Power & Light. Once the report is released, the next step will be to start budgeting money in the next three fiscal years to begin and complete these modifications. During the modification process, Garland Power & Light customers will continue to receive uninterrupted electrical service.

CEPSI 2000 Conference The Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI), Asia's largest conference of the power industry, will be held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, Oct. 23-27, 2000. This biennial event and principal communication forum of the Association of Electricity Supply Industry of Asia and the Western Pacific (AESIEAP) unites decision makers, utility officials, professionals, manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world to share expertise and information on developments in knowledge and technology in the electric-power industry.

Held in conjunction with CEPSI 2000 will be the CEPSI 2000 Exhibition, considered to be one of the most important platforms for the electricity industry's decision makers, producers and suppliers. Conference delegates are policy makers and executives of the electric power industry from more than 40 countries, including the 17 AESIEAP member countries. Trade visitors represent electric power generation, transmission, distribution industry through organizations such as National Power Corp. (NPC), Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO), independent power producers, large corporations with generating capabilities, municipalities, government agencies and non-governmental power firms and utilities. NPC is hosting the conference.

Unicom and PECO Energy Partnership Unicom Corp. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based PECO Energy Co. have announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement providing for a merger of equals. The merger was unanimously approved by both companies' board of directors on Sept. 22, 1999. The new holding company will be the nation's largest electric utility based on its approximately 5 million customers. In addition, the company will have total revenues of US$12.4 billion.

Utilities' Web Sites Lack Online Sophistication An Anderson Consulting study of 144 Web sites of utility companies in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong found that most of the utilities' sites lack the sophistication and functionality necessary to compete effectively in the online marketplace. These shortcomings leave many traditional utility companies vulnerable to upstarts seeking to capitalize on utility deregulation by selling electricity and interacting with customers solely over the Internet.

The study found tremendous variation in the quality of utility Web sites. Utility.com, the best performing Web site studied, outperformed the worst Web sites by more than nine times on key functionality measures such as quality of content, ability to conduct transactions, range of interactivity and usefulness of content to key stakeholders.

UK Subsidiary Changes Name to TXU Europe Eastern Group, TXU's energy company based in the United Kingdom, has changed its name to TXU Europe Group plc. The new name reflects TXU Europe's increasingly Pan-European operations and a desire to align itself more closely with TXU, Dallas, Texas. Trading and generation activities will work within TXU Europe Group, while energy retail and the electricity T&D businesses will become separate companies. As a result, Eastern Generation becomes TXU Europe Power; Eastern Power and Energy Trading becomes TXU Europe Energy Trading; Eastern Electricity, the T&D business, remains the same; and Eastern Energy, the retail business, remains the same.

TXU Europe has expanded across the deregulating energy markets of continental Europe over the past two years. Its holdings include generation plants, holdings in energy supply and retail companies, energy-trading licenses, and trading and retail joint ventures/alliances.