Thursday, September 20, 2001

Electric utilities guarded on plans

By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — Leaders of Kentucky's electric utilities Wednesday were guarded about their long-term plans for generating and transmitting electric power.

        They told the Public Service Commission that much depends on how and whether power companies and agencies in the Midwest and South, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, are grouped together to serve broad, regional markets.

        The combines would be called regional transmission organizations, or RTOs. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has let it be known that it wants one for the Southeast.

        Meanwhile, the PSC and Gov. Paul Patton's administration want to know whether the utilities operating in Kentucky think they can generate and deliver enough power to meet long-range demands.

        The inquiry began in early summer, when California was wracked by power outages. Natural gas prices were climbing at the same time, and power companies were filing applications to build 24 more power plants in Kentucky. The PSC is to deliver a report to Mr. Patton in December, shortly before the General Assembly convenes.

        “We feel RTOs are the solution to a lot of problems,” Travis Housley, head of transmission for Big Rivers Electric Corp., said when questioned in front of the three-member commission.

        Would Big Rivers join a Southeast transmission organization if TVA did? Mr. Housley was cautious. He said Big Rivers “would have to re-evaluate what it would do” if TVA joined anything.

        Another utility group, American Electric Power, is “constantly evaluating” how to ensure adequate power supplies, said Errol Wagner, the system's director of regulatory affairs. AEP includes Kentucky Power Co.

        Most of the 24 proposed plants for which applications are pending would burn natural gas. They are called peaking generators because they would operate only when demand was high. Their power would be sold on the wholesale market, so they would not be regulated by the PSC, which oversees only retail suppliers.

        Kentucky is an attractive site for the plants because it is in the Midwest power grid, and natural gas transmission lines crisscross the state.


Two interviews, two versions examined in court
Attack notebook
Banned-songs flap downplayed
Embroidery company sending patriot shirts
Forum at Xavier reveals truths, myths about Islam
Guard ready to rumble
Ohioans help, and hope
Prayers rise as students, residents flock to 'Flagpole'
Task forces to fight threat of terrorism
Area health leader decries low payments
Council debate on Genesis money scandal gets ugly
County debates security proposal
Herwegh Society marks 125 years
Matlock created magazine on radio
Museum hires Smithsonian director
PULFER: Jerry Schmitz
Racial issues examined
Schools measured on closing gap
Traffic jams likely as UC begins classes
Tristate A.M. Report
CROWLEY: Kentucky Politics
Bears lose their stuffing; bust uncovers Viagra scheme
Mason teachers ask to resume contract sessions
Error voids election
Payments to inmates approved in '93 prison riot
Bellevue hopes to replace trophies
- Electric utilities guarded on plans
Kentucky News Briefs
Monmouth businesses get break
1,033 pounds of marijuana seized from rig, police say
Reproductions of history
Virus suspected in birds' deaths