BPA adds, replaces

transmission lines

The Bonneville Power Administration reported that wholesale power rates for public utilities dropped 4 percent on April 1, as it had projected.

BPA officials, however, remained concerned that the lingering effects of drought and lower market prices for surplus power will push rates higher in the fall. Both short- and long-term prices in the wholesale power market have dropped since last year.

Meanwhile, the federal power agency is preparing to put up 155 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, in some cases replacing older lines with units that can carry more juice, and in other cases building new lines.

BPA spokesman Ed Mosey said the agency is replacing transmission lines that could get overloaded when demand for power is high, causing the system to malfunction.

'In each of these cases, there was a potential blackout situation,' he said.

Construction is to start in August or September, with the first lines ready to carry electricity next winter. Most of the new lines will be in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington.

The BPA is paying $182 million to Duke Energy, based in Charlotte, N.C., to oversee the project for the first part of the 10-year endeavor.

Planar registers

boost in sales

Beaverton-based Planar Systems Inc. reported that sales for the quarter ending March 28 increased to between $48 million and $50 million, up $10 million from the previous quarter. Net income per share, however, dipped between 14 cents and 16 cents a share, down from 19 cents a share in the first quarter.

Net income was negatively affected by Planar's acquisition of DOME Imaging Systems Inc., the costs incurred in moving a manufacturing facility and development expenses for its new Invitium product. Invitium will begin shipping in the third quarter.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer Balaji Krishnamurthy projected fiscal 2002 sales of $190 million. Additional financial data for the second quarter will be released April 17.

As of the close of trading Wednesday, Planar was selling at $24.76 a share, down 2.5 percent.

ÑÊTribune staff