EFH cites unplanned outages at two Texas coal-fired plants

Energy Future Holdings (NYSE: EFH) is hoping to get its coal-fired Monticello unit 2 back into service soon, company executives said during a May 1 quarterly earnings call.

While nuclear power generation was up 3% in the first quarter of 2012, generation from the coal fleet was down 23%. The largest single factor in the decline in coal power output was the extended unplanned outage at Monticello 2.

Monticello 2 went offline in December 2011 due to main power transformer repairs. The unit remained offline during the first quarter of 2012. CEO John Young expects the plant to be back online before this summer.

Cheap replacement power, due in part to low natural gas prices, helped mitigate the impact of the coal plant outages, EFH officials said.

A website for EFH’s Luminant subsidiary notes that the three-unit Monticello plant near Mount Pleasant, Texas, burns local lignite supplemented by Powder River Basin coal.

Elsewhere, Oak Grove units 1 and 2 in Robertson County are expected to be offline during the second quarter to address turbine vibration  issues, company officials said. The units were taken offline in March. Due to the current outage, the Oak Grove units won’t need to undergo a regularly-scheduled outage this fall, Energy Future officials said.

The two Oak Grove units together can generate 1,600 MW. They are fueled by lignite coal.

Like other coal-fired generators, EFH is waiting to see how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rules on the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Arguments in that case were held April 13 in Washington, D.C., EFH officials noted.

For the first quarter 2012, EFH reported a consolidated net loss (in accordance with GAAP) of $304m compared to a reported consolidated net loss of $362m for the first quarter 2011, the company said in a news release.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.