New York PSC to look at operational issues for Indian Point nuclear plant

The New York State Public Service Commission on Dec. 29 posted to a newly-created docket a Dec. 22 letter it sent to William M. Mohl, President of Entergy Wholesale, saying that the commission will investigate the operations of the Indian Point nuclear plant in light of a recent announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Said the letter to Mohl: “As you are aware, on December 16, 2015, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Public Service (Department), in its role of overseeing electric corporations operating in the State, to investigate the Indian Point Nuclear Facility (Facility), owned by Entergy Nuclear Operations (Entergy). This investigation will have particular focus on the operations and the ability of Entergy to ensure the Facility provides safe and adequate service. Specifically, the Governor has asked the Department to evaluate the capital and maintenance budgets for the Facility to assess their impact or contribution to the recent abundance of sudden outages and how those outages impact plant performance.

“Entergy operates in New York as an electric corporation pursuant to sections two and five of the Public Service Law (PSL). The New York Public Service Commission (Commission) made this determination in its Order Providing For Lightened Regulation of Nuclear Generating Facilities, which is enclosed for your convenience. In that order, the Commission determined that the company would not be subject to all provisions of the PSL, but notably determined that the company, and its operation of the Facility, would be subject to Article one and Article four PSL provisions that ‘prevent producers of electricity from taking actions that are contrary to the public interest.’ The responsibilities of Entergy, with respect to the regulatory oversight of the Department, are specified in the Appendix to the Entergy Order, which, markedly, states that ‘Cooperation [of the company] would continue with special investigations, directed by the Governor and performed by PSC Staff, into specific problems or events at a facility.’

“Given the above, this letter serves as notice to Entergy that staff of the Department, at the direction of the Governor, is commencing a special investigation of the Facility and Entergy’s operations. During this investigation, Department staff could utilize any of the foregoing: written information requests, personnel interviews, and access to the Facility. Entergy is reminded that its cooperation is expected pursuant to its unconditional acceptance of the Entergy Order and the attendant requirements of the PSL for electric corporations, particularly PSL sections 66 (8) and (9), which affords the Department the ‘power to…enter in or upon and to inspect the property, buildings, plants, factories…and offices’ of any electric corporation and the ‘power to examine the accounts, books, contracts, records, documents and papers’ of the same.

“The Department has been asked to provide its initial findings by February 15, 2016, therefore the company’s full cooperation will be necessary to meet this deadline. I have asked Raj Addepalli, Managing Director of Utility Rates and Service to lead this investigation for the Department. Unless you express otherwise, Mr. Addepalli or staff from his team will be in contact with Mr. T. Michael Twomey.”

Indian Point Energy Center, located on the Hudson River, has a generating capacity of more than 2,000 MW within two operating units.

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.