El Paso Energy closes six valley power plants

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El Paso Energy closes six valley power plants Filed: 03/07/2001

By CHIP POWER, Californian staff writer e-mail: ppower@bakersfield.com

El Paso Energy, citing non-payment from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said it has shut down six cogeneration plants this week.

The smaller plants produced about 175 megawatts of electricity and are located primarily in the San Joaquin Valley, said company spokesman Mel Scott. A megawatt can supply power to 1,000 homes.

At least 10 plants have closed in the past two weeks as a result of non-payment, according to the state Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state's electrical distribution.

The El Paso Energy plants are operated with various partners and had not been compensated for December, January and February deliveries, said Scott. He said he did not know the total amount due but said the plants would be closed until PG&E's credit worthiness is improved.

A cogeneration plant, common in oil fields, simultaneously produces heat energy and electrical or mechanical power from the same fuel in the same facility. Typically, it produces electricity and steam, which can be deployed to enhance oil recovery.

Kern County is the state's leading oil-producing county.

El Paso owns or has interests in more than 40,000 miles of interstate and intrastate pipeline connecting the nation's principal natural gas supply regions to the five largest consuming regions in the United States, namely the Gulf Coast, California, the Northeast, the Midwest and the Southeast.

El Paso closed up 99 cents on Tuesday, or 1.4 percent, at $71.49. The Houston-based company's stock price has ranged between $36.31 and $75.30 in the last 52 weeks.

Copyrightę 2001, The Bakersfield Californian


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), March 07, 2001

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