Utilities form nuclear management group

31 March 1999

Four mid western nuclear electric utilities have formed a joint management company.

If approved by federal and state regulators, the new company will take over operation of nuclear plants owned by Northern States Power Co, Wisconsin Public Service Corp and Wisconsin Electric.

The companies own Monticello (553 MWe, BWR) and Prairie Island (2 x 530 MWe, PWR) stations in Minnesota, and Point Beach (2 x 485 MWe, PWR) and Kewaunee (535 MWe, PWR) in Wisconsin.

Interstate Energy Corp, which operates the Duane Arnold (535 MWe, BWR) nuclear station in Iowa, may also join. To do so, Interstate, which does business as Alliant Energy, would have to obtain US Securities and Exchange Commission approval.

The seven units have a generating capacity of around 3760 MWe, representing 12 - 25% of the electricity generated by the individual utilities.

The plan calls for each utility to have a 25% stake in the new management company. Each would continue to own its nuclear plants, relinquishing only management control. It would mark the first time that separate utilities plan to merge management.

According to Michael Sellman, chief nuclear officer for Wisconsin Electric, economies of scale and increased purchasing power should reduce generating costs to about $15/MWh, comparable to what large utilities like Entergy, Duke Energy, PECO Energy and Southern Company aim to achieve.

Sellman estimates it will take a year to obtain regulatory approvals. The plants generate at a little under $20/MWh.



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