Southern Energy Inc., a unit of Southern Co., said it has completed the $250 million purchase of Vastar Resources Inc.’s 40% interest in Southern Company Energy Marketing, making the company wholly owned by Southern Energy. Southern Energy and Vastar will continue with a 10-year natural gas purchase and sale agreement established when the two formed Southern Company Energy Marketing in August 1997.

Echelon Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., said Italy’s Enel SPA has purchased 3 million shares of newly issued Echelon common stock for $130.9 million. Enel now holds approximately 8% of Echelon’s common stock. Additionally, Francesco Tato, Enel’s director and chief executive officer, will assume a seat on Echelon’s board of directors. As announced in June of this year, Echelon and Enel signed a research and development agreement under which the two companies will cooperate to integrate Echelon’s LonWorks system into Enel’s remote metering management project

Thomas G. Boren, CEO of PG&E Corp.’s National Energy Group said the unit remains on target to deliver 30% of the company’s total earnings by 2002. Boren said the unit is focused on extracting greater value from its energy trading operations, accelerating the growth in megawatts-controlled either through asset ownership or contractual arrangements, and enhancing its ownership and management of strategic natural gas transportation and storage assets. These facilities represent more than 15,700 Mw of capacity, in addition to the 7,000 Mw currently controlled by the national energy group.

Online energy auctioneer has selected USPowerSolutions’s PowerUp to automate communication between energy service providers, distribution companies, and meter service providers over the internet for the southern California electric market, USPowerSolutions reported. It said PowerUp enables energy service providers to enroll, monitor, and manage customers in deregulated markets.

Monongahela Power Co., a subsidiary of Allegheny Energy Inc., said it adjourned its special meeting of preferred shareholders until Oct. 12, in order to further solicit votes on an amendment to the company’s articles of incorporation, which would remove a provision that limits the company’s ability to issue or assume unsecured debt. Proxies that have already been executed will remain effective for use at the October meeting, and the company has extended the time for submitting proxies up to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Oct. 11.

NiSource Inc.and Columbia Energy Group reported they expect the effective date of the merger between the two companies will occur in late October, subject to meeting conditions to closing. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Columbia shareholders can elect to receive New NiSource stock. Otherwise, they will receive a combination of cash and New NiSource Stock Appreciation Income Linked Securities (SAILS), units consisting of a zero coupon debt security and a forward equity contract. The right to elect stock is conditioned on Columbia shareholders electing stock for at least 10%of the outstanding Columbia shares, the companies said.

Andersen Consulting has selected Alstom ESCA Corp. to help to provide an advanced market and operations system for both wholesale and retail electricity markets for Texas, Alstom reported. Andersen Consulting will lead the development and implementation of the infrastructure required to introduce a competitive electricity market in Texas. Alstom ESCA will facilitate the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) markets through e-terra market , which will be used to manage the scheduling, pricing, dispatch, market clearance, congestion management, web portal, and energy management functions.