Companies | Article published April 19, 2003|
FirstEnergy prepares for summer surge
Replacement power in place in case Davis-Besse’s restart
By JON CHAVEZ
FirstEnergy Corp. said yesterday it has
arranged for replacement power this summer in case its planned June
restart of its Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Port Clinton is
‘‘Certainly with respect to Davis-Besse, we
were fully hedged through the spring, but we made some arrangement
through the summer months with regard to Davis-Besse,’’ said company
spokesman Kristen Baird.
The Akron utility and parent company
of Toledo Edison told federal regulators this week that the plant,
which has been out of service since February, 2002, could be ready
for a restart in mid-June if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gives
However, a senior NRC official last month said
design flaws had been discovered in two pumps that would be used to
cool the plant’s reactor core in the event of a nuclear accident.
Fixing the flaws could further delay a restart.
The plant was
shut down for routine maintenance but soon was found to have an acid
leak that damaged the metal dome that covers the plant’s nuclear
reactor. It was replaced.
Through April, the company
estimated it will have spent $310 million on repairs, additional
maintenance, and replacement power to cover the Davis-Besse outage,
which puts out 925 megawatts, or about 7 percent of FirstEnergy’s
total generating capacity.
But the continued stoppage will
add to that bill. The utility has estimated replacement power in May
and June will cost about $15 million a month, and last year it
projected $20 million to $25 million in each of the hotter summer
months when air-conditioning use boosts electricity
The company has not said what those costs might be
this year, and Ms. Baird declined to say how many months FirstEnergy
had contracted for replacement power this summer.
expenses are factored into the company’s financial outlook and
should not affect its goal of reaching $700 million in cash flow by
the end of the year, which will be used to help reduce its $14.5
billion in debts, said FirstEnergy spokesman Ralph
‘‘Davis-Besse is really just a small part of our
generation portfolio,’’ he said.
At a utilities conference in
Chicago last month, company treasurer Tom Navin told stock analysts
that FirstEnergy has virtually completed all necessary energy
purchases for 2003 and 2004 through a variety of long-term and
short-term purchases made possible by soft prices and an increase in
available capacity elsewhere, he said.
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