R.E. Ginna asks for another month to work out reliability issues with NYSEG

R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant LLC filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 2 the Amendment No. 6 to the Reliability Support Services Agreement (RSSA) between Ginna and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E).

These amendments are basically short extensions to the RSSA needed to help keep the R.E. Ginna nuclear plant in operation while issues related to the plant are worked out between various parties.

This latest amendment provides that the deadline for Ginna to provide RG&E with 10 days written notice of termination pursuant to Section 2.1(c) of the RSSA is extended to Oct. 30, 2015. Ginna requests that the commission waive its prior notice requirement and permit the amendment to become effective as of Oct. 2, so that Ginna can continue settlement negotiations pertaining to the RSSA. RG&E has authorized Ginna to inform the commission that RG&E supports both the acceptance of the amendment and the requested waiver of prior notice.

On Feb. 13, Ginna filed with the commission the RSSA, executed by Ginna and RG&E. Pursuant to the RSSA, Ginna provides Reliability Support Service from Ginna’s R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant to RG&E to preserve reliability in the Rochester, New York area. As originally filed, the RSSA provided that Ginna would have “the right to terminate this Agreement without liability upon ten (10) days’ prior written notice if the Acceptance Date is not achieved by July 1, 2015” and that this termination notice “may not be issued later than August 1, 2015.”

“Acceptance Date” is defined as the date when the following two conditions precedent are “satisfied or waived by the parties”: the issuance by FERC of an order accepting the RSSA under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act, without modification that is adverse in a material way to either Ginna or RG&E; and the issuance by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) of an order accepting the RSSA and approving full cost recovery.

On April 14, the federal commission accepted the RSSA in part subject to compliance and refund, rejected it in part, and set for hearing and settlement whether the RSSA rate was just and reasonable. The Chief Administrative Law Judge designated Judge Jennifer Whang as presiding settlement judge, with that settlement process still ongoing.

As of July 1, the NYPSC did not issue an order accepting the RSSA and permitting cost recovery and neither party had waived the preconditions to the Acceptance Date. As such, Ginna could have terminated the RSSA at any time before Aug. 1. The subsequent amendments stretch out the termination deadline.

R.E. Ginna owns the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, located in Ontario, New York, which consists of one pressurized water reactor unit with a capacity of 581 MW. RG&E is the interconnecting transmission owner.

In January 2014, Ginna communicated to the New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) and RG&E its intent to potentially retire the plant due to insufficient revenues. The NYISO and RG&E then conducted a reliability study which determined that retirement of this unit would result in bulk transmission system and non-bulk local distribution system reliability violations.

Ginna, an Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) company, ran into problems with low open-market power prices following the expiration in June 2014 of a fixed-price power purchase agreement with RG&E for the power from this plant.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.