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Direct Energy selling 3 natural gas-fired plants in Texas to Blackstone, $685M cash deal

HOUSTON - Direct Energy has announced plans to sell its three natural gas-fired power plants in Texas to asset manager firm Blackstone in a $685 million cash deal. The agreement was announced Wednesday by Houston-based Direct Energy. The sale will be made through Direct Energy Power Holdings Inc. The units are located in Bastrop (BAS'-trup), Mission, and Paris and have a combined capacity of nearly 1,300 megawatts. The agreement with New York-based Blackstone is subject to regulatory review and should close in early 2014.

Britain unveils shake-up of levies on energy bills

Britain unveiled a shake-up of green levies on energy bills on Monday, sparking modest price cuts as it sought to defuse a row over the high cost of living. The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government confirmed in a statement that it would curb its scheme that provides free home insulation to low-income households. It will also provide a rebate for energy suppliers to cover the cost of a levy that supports people who cannot afford to heat their homes.

European stock markets gain ground

European stock markets rose on Thursday on hopes that prospective Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen will keep the US central bank's stimulus policy in place, dealers said But gains were tempered by news that economic activity slowed in Germany and contracted in France in the third quarter. US shares opened with almost no change. London's FTSE 100 benchmark index added 0.29 percent to 6,649.32 points in afternoon trading.

Britain's Centrica signs gas supply deal with Qatar

British energy firm Centrica has signed a deal to supply British homes with Qatari liquefied natural gas in a tie-up worth £4.4 billion and lasting until 2018, the group said on Wednesday. Centrica said the deal, worth the equivalent of $7.1 billion or 5.2 billion euros, builds on its existing LNG agreement with Qatargas signed in 2011 and which had been due to end in mid-2014. Britain is scrambling to come up with new energy sources, now even turning to foreign owned providers, amid widespread voter anger at high electricity and gas bills from domestic companies.

Centrica signs £4.4bn gas supply deal with Qatar

British energy firm Centrica has signed a deal to supply British homes with Qatari liquefied natural gas in a tie-up worth £4.4 billion and lasting until 2018, the group said on Wednesday. Centrica said the deal, worth the equivalent of $7.1 billion or 5.2 billion euros, builds on its existing LNG agreement with Qatargas signed in 2011 and which had been due to end in mid-2014.

Centrica's CEO plans to turn down bonus this year

LONDON (Reuters) - Centrica's <CNA.L> chief executive Sam Laidlaw said he will decline any bonus he is offered this year, in a move which could help the energy supplier avoid further controversy after it raised prices by three times the rate of inflation. Laidlaw told a panel discussion at a conference in London on Monday that he had "already decided" to forego his annual bonus this year.

Centrica set to drop 2 billion pounds offshore wind farm plans: report

(Reuters) - British energy supplier Centrica Plc <CNA.L> is likely to drop plans to build a 2 billion-pound wind farm because of insufficient government subsidies, the Telegraph reported on Sunday, citing three sources. Centrica will not go ahead with the Race Bank wind farm project off the Norfolk coast unless proposed government subsidies are significantly increased, the sources told the newspaper. For the Telegraph's story, click on http://link.reuters.com/sak44v .

Labor energy price freeze plan wipes $4.3 billion off British utilities

LONDON (Reuters) - British utilities Centrica <CNA.L> and SSE <SSE.L> have lost 2.7 billion pounds ($4.34 billion) in market value since opposition Labor leader Ed Miliband promised on Tuesday to freeze energy prices for 20 months if he wins power in May 2015. Seeking to convince voters he can improve their standard of living, Miliband said that energy companies had been overcharging British consumers for too long and that the energy market was not working.

Shares in British energy firms fall on opposition price cap plan

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in British-listed energy companies Centrica <CNA.L> and SSE <SSE.L> fell over 3 percent on Wednesday after opposition leader Ed Miliband said he would freeze energy prices if elected in 2015. Though likely to be popular with voters, who have been hit in recent years by rising energy costs, the plan has placed Labour on a collision course with the energy companies.

Britain's Labour says to freeze energy prices if it wins election

By William James and Karolin Schaps BRIGHTON/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Labour party will freeze gas and electricity bills until 2017 and force reform of the British utility market if it wins power in the May 2015 election, party leader Ed Miliband said on Tuesday.
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