An $8.5 million merger between two American Midwest utility giants was completed last month with the formation of Xcel Energy Inc. Minnesota utility Northern States Power (NSP), which has 300 MW of wind energy installed, has closed the deal with New Century Energies of Colorado, the parent company of Public Service Co (PSCo) of Colorado. PSCo has recently said it will triple its wind holdings within five years to at least 56 MW (story page 27). During the 18 months it took to put the merger together, the utilities and environmentalists agreed to stipulations in Minnesota that would improve transmission capacity in south-west Minnesota to accommodate wind projects on Buffalo Ridge and remove barriers to wind development (Windpower Monthly, March 2000). Xcel will serve more than three million electric customers and 1.5 million natural gas customers in 12 states. The company also owns an electric and gas utility in the UK with two million customers.