May 27, 2010 / 5:32 PM / 10 years ago

AEP to run 10 old coal units part-time due economy

 * AEP to reduce costs by running units part-time
 * Units to remain available for peak summer/winter months
 * Units did not run much over past few years
 NEW YORK, May 27 (Reuters) - American Electric Power Co Inc (AEP.N) planned to run 10 small coal-fired power units on a part-time basis starting in June as the weak economy reduced demand and low natural gas prices have made the use of some coal units less profitable, a company spokesman said Thursday.
 The spokesman, Pat Hemlepp, said AEP, of Columbus, Ohio, would place the coal units, which are older, smaller and less efficient, in “extended start-up” status beginning June 1 and redeploy some employees.
 With the federal government looking to impose a cost on carbon emissions to combat global warming and environmental regulations becoming increasingly stringent year over year, several power companies, including Exelon Corp EXC.N and Progress Energy Inc PGN.N, have already announced plans to retire some older, less efficient coal plants.
 Hemlepp said this was part of AEP’s effort to reduce costs after the recession reduced consumer power demand and a decline in natural gas prices made gas plants less expensive than the older coal units in the company’s Eastern footprint.
 In April, AEP said it would launch a companywide buyout program to cut its workforce by 1,000 to 2,000 jobs, or 5 percent to 10 percent, as the poor economy continued to squeeze power demand. [ID:nN15255252]
 Together the units, which Hemlepp said have not run much over the past few years, can generate close to 2,000 megawatts - only a small sliver of AEP’s 38,000 MW generating capacity. One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.
 AEP plans to make the old coal units available during the peak summer months of July and August when consumers crank up their air conditioners and January when they turn up their heating systems.
 During the other months, Hemlepp said the units would be available to run with about four days notice.
 The units include: Unit                 Size      Year    Town/County       State Picway 5             100 MW    1955    Pickaway County    OH Muskingum River 4    215 MW    1958    Beverly            OH Clinch River 3       235 MW    1961    Carbo              VA Tanners Creek 1      145 MW    1951    Lawrenceburg       IN Tanners Creek 2      145 MW    1952    Lawrenceburg       IN Glen Lyn 5            95 MW    1944    Glen Lyn           VA Glen Lyn 6           240 MW    1957    Glen Lyn           VA Philip Sporn 3       150 MW    1951    New Haven          WV Philip Sporn 4       150 MW    1952    New Haven          WV Philip Sporn 5       450 MW    1960    New Haven          WV
  Hemlepp noted that some of the plants have larger, more efficient units that will remain available for service all year.  (Reporting by Scott DiSavino)       

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