PRESS RELEASES 2000 RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2000
Contact: Sandra McDonough (503) 833-4601
EDITORS: Please do not use "Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group. The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

PG&E CORPORATION JOINS CALIFORNIA ISO TO USE FLOATING POWER PLANT TO HELP MEET BAY-AREA POWER DEMAND

San Francisco -- Responding to an immediate need in the San Francisco Bay Area, PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) today announced that it is working with the California ISO to bring a barge-mounted floating power plant to the Bay Area to help relieve the summer power crunch. The company is now in discussions with the ISO to quickly finalize an agreement enabling the facility to begin delivering electricity as soon as mid-August.

While the final cost has not yet been determined, the company expects it will be significantly lower than the costs associated with emergency efforts to cut power usage at times when the system is strained.

"This facility allows the ISO to put in place a cost-effective insurance policy that helps guard customers against power emergencies like those we've experienced in the Bay Area several times already this summer," said Thomas B. King, western region president of PG&E Corporation's National Energy Group. "Like any insurance policy, it's something you hope never to have to rely on. But it provides a welcome measure of security to know it is there if you need it."

The unique facility houses four turbine generators capable of generating a total of 95 megawatts of power, about enough for 95,000 homes. The units can be started and on line within about 10 minutes, should the ISO call on the power. The facility is designed to operate only during extreme electrical emergencies like those that occurred on June 14 of this year. Under the permits being negotiated, the plant would operate no more than 200 hours per year.

According to the company, the discussions with the ISO could result in an agreement that would station the barge in the Bay Area for at least six months and possibly through October 2001. The company emphasized that the barge is a temporary solution to the area's power needs and is not expected to operate in the Bay Area past 2001.

"The long-term solution to the Bay Area's power needs lies in further improving our transmission grid and bringing new power plants on line," said King. "These activities are already well under way and are expected to be providing the necessary relief by the fall of 2001."

The barge will travel from Freeport, Texas, where it is currently docked, through the Panama Canal and up to San Francisco Bay. The journey is expected to take about one-month. Once in the Bay Area, the facility will be connected to the power grid and readied for operation. The location for the interconnection has not been determined, the company said.

The generators will operate using jet fuel. During this year, the company will operate the facility with its existing technology. However, the company is currently examining an option to convert the generators to low-NOx burners during the winter and spring. The potential upgrades could greatly reduce emissions from the plant and make it one of the cleanest fossil-fueled power plants operating for emergency purposes in the state.

PG&E Corporation, with 1999 operating revenues of almost $21 billion and operations in 21 states, markets energy services and products throughout North America through its National Energy Group. PG&E Corporation's businesses also include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the Northern and Central California utility that deliver natural gas and electricity to one in every 20 Americans.


 

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