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CONSERVATION, SLOW GROWTH DELAY VIRGINIA POWER'S NEED FOR NEW UNITS

 RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Intensified efforts to conserve electricity and slow economic growth have again delayed Virginia Power's need for more generating stations.
 No additional coal-fired units will be needed until 2002, at the earliest, according to the company's latest long-range plan. The new plan foresees no need for additional units of any type beyond those already scheduled to be built until almost the end of the century.
 The report projects a two-year delay in the need for more combustion turbines, oil and gas-powered units that can be started quickly to meet heavy customer demand. Additional units of this type will not be needed until 1999, according to the report.
 The projections are contained in Virginia Power's new Long-Range Forecast of Load and Resources, a planning document updated annually by the company and submitted to the State Corporation Commission. The new forecast predicts that Virginia Power customers' electricity usage is expected to grow an average of just 2.2 percent annually over the next 20 years. Last year the company projected a 2.5 percent average annual growth.
 "We are committed to avoiding unneeded new plants and power supply contracts, and this plan clearly shows why we're fighting a General Assembly bill which would force us to buy unneeded and uneconomical generating capacity," said James T. Rhodes, president and chief executive officer. "Imposing unnecessary costs on our customers would violate our duty to provide reliable power to them at fair prices."
 A bill approved Feb. 8 by the House of Delegates would require Virginia Power to sign a contract with the developers of the proposed Tom's Creek power plant in southwestern Virginia. A study by the State Corporation Commission staff has shown that the project would cost Virginia Power and its customers from $75 million to $150 million more than power from a new plant built by the company itself.
 The new long-range plan will not affect existing company contracts with non-utility generators or the 782-megawatt Clover Power Station being built in Halifax County. Several other planned company projects, however, will be delayed. The need for an additional 400-megawatt, coal-fired station has been delayed at least until 2002. The company initially planned to begin operating a new coal-powered unit in 1997, but the facility has been delayed twice in recent years due to increasing conservation efforts and lower customer demand.
 While last year's long-range plan said new combustion turbines would be needed by 1997, the revised forecast indicates additional units of this type will not be needed at least until 1999. The combustion turbines would provide 612 megawatts of power for peak demand periods. Two years ago, company planners foresaw the need for additional combustion turbines by 1995.
 "Virginia Power will meet these capacity needs in the most cost-effective manner available to us," said Larry W. Ellis, senior vice president-Power Operations and Planning. "Our efforts to conserve electricity and manage the demand for it may result in even more delays in the need for new units. We'll build units when that option is cheaper, and we'll buy power when that choice benefits our customers."
 The company's conservation and demand management efforts should reduce the summer peak demand for electricity in the year 2000 by 814 megawatts, an amount of power equal to the capacity of two large generating units. The new long-range plan predicts a summer peak demand for electricity of 15,863 megawatts in 2000, a level 3.8 percent less than projected two years ago. The new forecast also predicts that a sluggish economic recovery will also hold down the demand for electricity in Virginia and foresees only modest economic expansion in the near future.
 -0- 2/15/93
 /CONTACT: William H. Byrd of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115/
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CO: Virginia Power ST: Virginia IN: UTI SU:

CM -- CH001 -- 6501 02/15/93 09:34 EST
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Date:Feb 15, 1993
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