Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More Power to the People

Does anyone have much knowledge about our power plant and distribution system? I personally believe that we have a much underutilized asset that some in power would love to sell for scrap - it has already been suggested a few years ago. It is a dual fuel ( natural gas and number 2 fuel oil) so it is flexible. I have recently often wondered how efficient it would be if we could have gotten our hands on some of that cheap #2 that Hugo Chavez was trying to give away back in the winter?


dlc said...

i agree with alot you say, but chavez. come on. i'd rather freeze.

Spanky said...

I firmly believe that Hugo Chavez at some point will fund and foment rebels in Mexico to harass us physically and I am not on his fan list.
Let's us think this through.
We have a city power plant that can produce enough to light the city except in peak summer hours. The assertion is that it is innefficient - truth is that it is not cost effective to produce electricity using natural gas at the price that the braniacs on the council can procure it. ( When futures and spot markets have to be explained, there is a failure to compute.)
Given that fuel cost would be the largest component in electricity production in a paid for plant, then free #2 fuel oil plus freight from Lake Charles sounds like an opportunity to me.
Also, if Mr. Chavez donates his fuel oil, then that will be fewer dollars he generates for mayhem.
I am often told I am crazy - but it makes sense to me.

bird said...

You honestly cannot be so ignorant as to not understand that if the the price of natural gas is high, the price of gas you are putting in your car is high then fuel oil is also high!

DG Hunter is an efficient plant, that is undergoing upgrades to make it more efficient, however, since MOST power generation facilities in Louisiana are creating electricity by using natural gas, it doesn't matter who we buy our electricity from, it will be high. The ONLY way to reduce is to figure out how to get transmission from one of the few nuke plants in the state.

I recently saw an Entergy bill for electric with just over 1300 kwh used. This home is being served by Entergy where the electricity is being generated from both a nuclear plant and a coal fired plant which uses natural gas. Their fuel charge was just over 4 cents. A whole lot less than ours. In fact their usage fee, and fuel charge were almost equal, unlike ours, where the fuel charge is almost twice the amount of the usage fee.

Spanky said...

I challenge you to go back through cenlaantics.blogspot.com and read my posts from the beginning (around December of 05). What you will find is that I share your sentiments on the efficiency of DG Hunter and can have a deeper technical discussion, of you wish, on the subject. You have an AAMEN from me.
I just don't want the citizens to be conned into selling DG Hunter for scrap - which almost happened under Uncle Ned's administration. I want to know more of your thoughts on DG Hunter as it is an interest of mine for several reasons.

bird said...

Actually, the former Utility Director was working on an agreement with Cleco to upgrade the facility to have it perform more efficiently and produce more power. This contract was about to be signed when the lawsuit we are currently trying to settle through mediation was filed, which caused those discussions to be broken off. I know of no discussions to sell the power plant. The former chief of staff and utility director both understood the value of having DG Hunter - especially after Hurricanes Andrew and Lily.

Spanky said...

If memory serve me correctly, it was Myron Lawson that advocated selling DG Hunter. It got no further than discussion, but my recollection says that the salvage price was $20 million and he wanted the funds to go to the general fund to be used as discretionary spending and you are correct. Harold objected strenously and prevailed, thank God.
I have walked the whole plant and am familiar with the operation and shortcomings that need to be addressed such as combustion controls and greater condenser cooling capacity. Also the current policy of 30-minute start up notice is very improper as the boilers need to go through a heat-soak cycle and the turbines need to roll non-loaded to center the shafts prior to full load. Failure to do these things will shorten the life span of the equipment and it is my suspicion that is the goal.