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ERCOT 2019 Summer Quarter Outlook

LCG, May 29, 2019-- LCG released a new summer (June – September 2019) report that looks at how the ERCOT grid copes with strained network conditions. Resource adequacy analysis for the region is especially important during extreme summer loading conditions. This summer the network is under particular scrutiny as the reserves have tightened because of recent retirements.

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South Field Energy Breaks Ground for 1,182-MW Power Plant

LCG, May 16, 2019--South Field Energy LLC announced yesterday its groundbreaking for an 1,182-MW, combined-cycle electric generating facility in Columbiana County, Ohio. The natural gas-fired facility is scheduled to commence operations in mid-2021 and represents a $1.3 billion investment.

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Industry News

Regulators Asked to Block Nicor Gas Choice

LCG, Sept. 19, 2000--The Citizens Utility Board yesterday asked Illinois state regulators to investigate a natural gas deregulation program underway at Nicor Inc. and to prevent the company from expanding the program until it can prove the plan benefits consumers.

Under the program, which Nicor began in 1998 and calls "Customer Select," 260,000 natural gas customers in 16 Illinois cities and towns have been allowed to switch to new suppliers for their gas. The company now wants to expand the program to all of its 1.9 million customers.

In a petition filed yesterday with the Illinois Commerce Commission, CUB said there are too many problems with the plan as it is to warrant its expansion. The advocacy group pointed to problems consumers are said to be having with the program and asked that the regulators investigate them. The biggest problem, according to CUB, is confusion about the alternative suppliers and their prices.

CUB says one company offered gas at 29.5 cents per therm on a three-year contract but, now that gas prices have risen, is charging its customers market rates. "So sue me," seems to be the company's attitude, but individual residential customers do not have that option and, because of the small sums involved, no trial lawyers have emerged to make the contract abrogation a speculative class action case.

CUB is also concerned about Nicor Energy, the unregulated marketing affiliate of the utility. It seems that Nicor Energy offered customers who switched a "lock-in rate" of 26.5 cents per therm, but when gas prices started to rise it turned out the company had a skeleton key to the lock it was in the fine print.

CUB wants the ICC to block the expansion of the program until the agency reviews these problemsand sets clear rules for how the alternative companies can market their rates and service. CUB alsowants Nicor Energy to be prohibited from misleading customers into thinking it is the same companyas Nicor Gas.

" Competition isn't supposed to be about misleading people into making the wrong choice, but that's exactly what's happening here," said Martin Cohen, executive director of the group.

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