EDITORS: Please do not use
"Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when
referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group.
The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the
California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from
the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality
regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
JOINS CALIFORNIA ISO TO USE FLOATING POWER PLANT TO HELP MEET BAY-AREA
San Francisco -- Responding
to an immediate need in the San Francisco Bay Area, PG&E Corporation
(NYSE: PCG) today announced that it is working with the California
ISO to bring a barge-mounted floating power plant to the Bay Area
to help relieve the summer power crunch. The company is now in discussions
with the ISO to quickly finalize an agreement enabling the facility
to begin delivering electricity as soon as mid-August.
While the final cost has
not yet been determined, the company expects it will be significantly
lower than the costs associated with emergency efforts to cut power
usage at times when the system is strained.
"This facility allows the
ISO to put in place a cost-effective insurance policy that helps
guard customers against power emergencies like those we've experienced
in the Bay Area several times already this summer," said Thomas
B. King, western region president of PG&E Corporation's National
Energy Group. "Like any insurance policy, it's something you hope
never to have to rely on. But it provides a welcome measure of security
to know it is there if you need it."
The unique facility houses
four turbine generators capable of generating a total of 95 megawatts
of power, about enough for 95,000 homes. The units can be started
and on line within about 10 minutes, should the ISO call on the
power. The facility is designed to operate only during extreme electrical
emergencies like those that occurred on June 14 of this year. Under
the permits being negotiated, the plant would operate no more than
200 hours per year.
According to the company,
the discussions with the ISO could result in an agreement that would
station the barge in the Bay Area for at least six months and possibly
through October 2001. The company emphasized that the barge is a
temporary solution to the area's power needs and is not expected
to operate in the Bay Area past 2001.
"The long-term solution
to the Bay Area's power needs lies in further improving our transmission
grid and bringing new power plants on line," said King. "These activities
are already well under way and are expected to be providing the
necessary relief by the fall of 2001."
The barge will travel from
Freeport, Texas, where it is currently docked, through the Panama
Canal and up to San Francisco Bay. The journey is expected to take
about one-month. Once in the Bay Area, the facility will be connected
to the power grid and readied for operation. The location for the
interconnection has not been determined, the company said.
The generators will operate
using jet fuel. During this year, the company will operate the facility
with its existing technology. However, the company is currently
examining an option to convert the generators to low-NOx burners
during the winter and spring. The potential upgrades could greatly
reduce emissions from the plant and make it one of the cleanest
fossil-fueled power plants operating for emergency purposes in the
PG&E Corporation, with 1999
operating revenues of almost $21 billion and operations in 21 states,
markets energy services and products throughout North America through
its National Energy Group. PG&E Corporation's businesses also include
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Northern and Central California
utility that deliver natural gas and electricity to one in every