Vectren’s A.B. Brown Unit 2 still off-line due to fire during maintenance outage

The coal-fired Unit 2 at the A.B. Brown power plant sustained an accidental fire in late October during a routine maintenance outage and isn’t due back on-line at this point until mid January, weeks after it was supposed to be back up.

Wayne D. Games, the Vice President-Power Supply at Southern Indiana Gas and Electric d/b/a Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana, said in a Nov. 18 fuel cost filing at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission that the fire occurred on Oct. 27.

“Although the investigation is on-going, it appears the cause of the fire was a result of ‘Hot Work’ (work such as welding, cutting torch or grinding) that was being performed in the area by a contractor,” Games wrote. “The contractor has admitted that they failed to leave a ‘Fire Watch’ in the area to monitor conditions as required by company policies and the ‘Hot Work’ permit. A fire watch is required to be left in place for 30 minutes after any hot work is completed to ensure a fire doesn’t occur.

“Local Fire departments responded and worked to extinguish the fire. The plant mustered all personnel on site to ensure everyone was accounted for. There were no injuries to personnel, but the south absorber tower was damaged by the fire.

“There will be extensive rework to the internals of the south absorber tower. The mist eliminator panels located in the top of the tower will need to be replaced along with the cone shaped top of the tower. The ductwork located between the top of the tower and the stack will need to be replaced. There will also be some repair work inside the stack required.

“The planned outage was anticipated to be completed on November 22, 2015. Our best current estimate is that the additional work will extend the outage until mid-January, although we continue to work with suppliers of material and equipment, as well as, the contractor to minimize down time.

“Vectren South still has the capacity to produce 1,064 MW’s and provide reliable service to our customer base. The peak demand over the past seven years in the months of December and January has been 946 MWs. Vectren South will still offer all available units into the MISO market and rely on MISO to dispatch units in a manner that reasonably provides reliable and low cost energy to our customers.

“Vectren is already pursuing insurance claims for all damages incurred by Vectren, including replacement materials, lost wholesale sales opportunities, and increases (if any) to the cost of purchased power. At this stage, we are unable to estimate the magnitude of losses that might have been caused by this fire.”

The A.B. Brown plant is located in Posey County and its two coal units each have a nameplate capacity of about 265 MW. The Vectren companies are subsidiaries of Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC).

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.