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NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL LOOKS INTO COSTS OF NUCLEAR POWER AND CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

 BELLEVUE, Wash., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Northwest Power Planning Council:
 The only working nuclear power plant in the Northwest can be cost competitive with any natural gas-fired generating plant within the next three years, according to the new managing director of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS).
 Bill Counsil, who has headed WPPSS for only two months, Thursday morning outlined for the Northwest Power Planning Council how he plans to achieve his goal of making WNP-2 at Hanford a "reliable, economical and low-cost provider of electricity within the next three years." The council is tracking costs of all electricity resources in the region.
 "It's important to get the costs of that nuclear plant down so it's competitive with other resources in the region," said Council Vice-Chair Ted Bottiger of Tacoma.
 Counsil said WNP-2 has had serious management problems, and is ranked in the bottom 25 percent of nuclear plants in this country for generating capacity and security. He said line management at the nuclear plant has not been accountable for correcting problems, work is slowed down by a cumbersome paper process, there is not an adequate spare parts inventory, and the staff needs to improve its teamwork and its relationships with other successful nuclear plants in the country. Counsil said staff reductions would occur through attrition and not immediately.
 Counsil told the council that in 1992 WPPSS electricity cost approximately 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. The plant has a lifetime history of operating at about 55 percent of its capacity. Counsil's goal is to have the plant operating at 80 percent of capacity. At that level, he said WPPSS electricity would cost less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, less than any natural gas-fired generation.
 Council members also heard Jerry Lehenbauer, conservation director at Puget Sound Power & Light, say his utility is increasing its emphasis on conservation programs for commercial and industrial customers, decreasing attention on single-family residences, but increasing its work with multifamily residences. "The most cost-effective conservation is in the industrial sector," Lehenbauer said.
 Puget Power has been a leader among private utilities in achieving energy conservation in the region. Council members have been working to help the Bonneville Power Administration learn more about Puget Power's experience in administering conservation programs.
 Saying he could not comment on Bonneville's costs, Lehenbauer said residential programs are by far the most expensive to run. Puget estimates that in 1992 its residential retrofit programs cost about $5 million to save one average megawatt of electricity. That is enough electricity for about 600 homes. Most of the commercial and industrial conservation programs cost between $1.5 million and $2 million per megawatt saved, Lehenbauer said.
 The Northwest Power Planning Council was created by Congress in 1980 to do long-term electric power planning for the Pacific Northwest, and produce a plan to protect and enhance the fish and wildlife damaged by the federal hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The governors of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana each appoint two council members.
 -0- 6/10/93
 /CONTACT: Linda Gist of the Northwest Power Planning Council, 800-222-3355/


CO: Northwest Power Planning Council ST: Washington IN: UTI SU: ENV

SW-AL -- SE025 -- 0892 06/10/93 19:35 EST
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Date:Jun 10, 1993
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