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TRANSCO, PIEDMONT, PUBLIC SERVICE FILE FOR FERC APPROVAL OF BLUE RIDGE PIPELINE PROJECT

 HOUSTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Ridge Pipeline Company, a partnership of subsidiaries of Transco Energy Company (NYSE: E), Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (NYSE: PNY) and Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: PSNC), is filing today for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to construct, own and operate natural gas pipeline facilities that would provide incremental firm transportation capacity through an expansion of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation's (TGPL) system. The additional capacity would be owned by Blue Ridge.
 In a separate but related filing to be made today, TGPL will request FERC approval for certain facility modifications, to be funded by Blue Ridge, which are also necessary to create the incremental firm transportation capacity.
 Construction of the expansion facilities and TGPL facility modifications is estimated to cost $107 million and will be project financed by Blue Ridge. TGPL's affiliate, Transco Blue Ridge Pipeline Company, will own 50 percent of the partnership; Piedmont Natural Gas, through Piedmont Interstate Pipeline Company, will own 35 percent; and PSNC, through PSNC Blue Ridge Corporation, will own 15 percent. TGPL will construct and operate the facilities for the partnership.
 The expansion facilities will create additional incremental firm transportation capacity between TGPL's Mobile Bay interconnect near Butler, Alabama, to just north of TGPL's compressor station in Reidsville, North Carolina. The expansion will provide an additional 150 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of firm transportation capacity to 15 customers in Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
 Subject to approval from the FERC, construction is scheduled to begin in early 1994, with a target in-service date of Nov. 1, 1994. Construction will include approximately 40 miles of new pipeline looping and replacement line and the modification and installation of additional compression totaling approximately 23,000 horsepower. Consistent with FERC Order 636, Blue Ridge would become an open access pipeline and is therefore seeking transportation authority under a blanket certificate governed by Part 284 of the FERC's regulations.
 "This filing represents a major step toward implementation of this important project," said John P. DesBarres, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Transco Energy Company. "We're pleased to be working with our customers in meeting the demand in the expanding Southeast market."
 John H. Maxheim, chairman and president of Piedmont, said "Piedmont is excited to be involved in this major project to bring new gas supplies to the Carolinas. The partnership with Transco is a logical step in extending our mutual desire to serve our present and future customers."
 President and chief executive officer of PSNC, Charles E. Zeigler, Jr., said "This project is an example of how the different segments of today's natural gas industry can work together to find creative solutions to best serve the growing demand for natural gas. The demand for natural gas in North Carolina has never been stronger, and PSNC is excited about participating in a project which best serves its customer's needs."
 TGPL owns and operates a 10,000-mile pipeline system that extends from the Gulf of Mexico to New York City and controls the largest gas gathering system in the Gulf of Mexico. TGPL is a subsidiary of Transco Energy Company, which transports natural gas through its interstate pipeline systems to markets in the eastern and midwestern United States, arranges for the transportation and sale of natural gas throughout the U.S., and is active in independent power generation and natural gas vehicle fueling services. Transco also maintains modest positions in other energy-related businesses.
 Piedmont is an energy and services company primarily engaged in the transportation and sale of natural gas to more than 450,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company and its non-utility subsidiaries are also engaged in acquiring, marketing and arranging for the transportation of natural gas to large volume purchasers; in retailing residential and commercial gas appliances; and in the sale of propane to more than 40,000 customers in the company's three-state area.
 Public Service Company distributes natural gas to more than 255,000 North Carolina customers in 87 cities, towns and communities in 26 counties. Public Service, through subsidiaries of its wholly owned subsidiary, PSNC Natural Resources Corporation, also participates in oil and gas exploration and production, and retails propane gas.
 -0- 1/29/93
 /CONTACT: Terri M. Kainer of Transco Energy Co., 713-439-4263, or Stephen D. Conner of Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc., 704-364-3120, or Ruth Kinzey of Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc., 704-864-6731; or (investors) R. Dean Ayers of Transco Energy Co., 713-439-2593/
 (E PNY)


CO: Transco Energy Co.; Piedmont Natural Gas Co., Inc.; Public Service
 Company of North Carolina, Inc. ST: Texas, North Carolina IN: OIL SU:


TS -- NY047 -- 0748 01/29/93 12:18 EST
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Date:Jan 29, 1993
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