UPDATE 1-TransAlta gets force majeure relief for power plant outages

Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:16am EST

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Nov 23 (Reuters) - TransAlta Corp, which operates AltaGas Ltd's Sundance power plant in Alberta, said an independent arbitration panel has allowed its claim of force majeure related to outages in the coal-fired plant in 2010 and 2011.

TransAlta put out of service a 353 megawatt unit of the plant in May 2010, citing problems with critical generator components. The company declared force majeure in June but AltaGas and partner ASTC Power Partnership contested the claim.

TransAlta said the panel's decision to grant relief validates that the mechanical failure at unit 3 was beyond its control.

AltaGas said it expected to receive about C$5 million from TransAlta and expects to record an after-tax, non-cash charge of about C$8 million in the fourth quarter.

TransAlta won force majeure relief for units 1 and 2 in July due to problems with the boiler tubes, and recorded about C$150 million penalty in the second quarter.

Sundance has a capacity to produce 2,126 megawatts.

Shares of TransAlta were slightly up at C$15.06 in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday, while those of AltaGas were up at C$34.05.

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