R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant LLC on July 31 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission supporting materials and a revised Reliability Support Services Agreement (RSSA) with Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) that is designed to keep the 581-MW R.E. Ginna nuclear plant from being shut down.
A long-term contract for the nuclear plant to supply power to RG&E expired in June 2014, leaving the plant trying to stay afloat financially in a depressed market for power. The RSSA keeps the plant going to offer grid support in the region around this New York facility.
The RSSA amendment filed with FERC on July 31 provides that the Aug. 1 deadline for Ginna to provide RG&E with 10 days written notice of termination pursuant to Section 2.1(c) of the RSSA is extended to Aug. 17. Ginna requests that the commission waive its prior notice requirement and permit the amendment to become effective as of Aug. 1, the day after this filing, so that Ginna can continue ongoing settlement negotiations pertaining to the RSSA. RG&E has authorized Ginna to inform the commission that RG&E supports both the acceptance of the amendment and the requested waiver of prior notice.
On Feb. 13, 2015, Ginna filed with the Commission pursuant to Section 205 of the Federal Power Act the RSSA, executed by Ginna and RG&E. Pursuant to the RSSA, Ginna provides Reliability Support Service from Ginna’s R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant to RG&E to preserve reliability in the Rochester, New York area. The RSSA provided that Ginna would have “the right to terminate this Agreement without liability upon ten (10) days’ prior written notice if the Acceptance Date is not achieved by July 1, 2015” and that this termination notice “may not be issued later than August 1, 2015.”
The “Acceptance Date” is defined as the date when the following two conditions precedent are “satisfied or waived by the parties”:
- the issuance by FERC of an order accepting the RSSA under Section 205 of the FPA, without modification that is adverse in a material way to either Ginna or RG&E; and
- the issuance by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) of an order accepting the RSSA and approving full cost recovery.
On April 14, 2015, FERC accepted the RSSA in part subject to compliance and refund, rejected it in part, and set for hearing and settlement whether the RSSA rate was just and reasonable. As of July 1, 2015, the NYPSC did not issue an order accepting the RSSA and permitting cost recovery and neither party had waived the preconditions to the Acceptance Date. As such, Ginna may terminate the RSSA at any time before Aug. 1.
"To permit the parties to continue settlement negotiations while preserving Ginna’s termination rights under RSSA Section 2.1(c), Ginna hereby submits this filing to extend Ginna’s option to terminate the RSSA," said the July 31 filing at FERC. Ginna and RG&E agreed to modify the RSSA by adding the amendment. The amendment reflects that, the Section 2.1(c) of the RSSA will be modified such that Ginna may terminate the RSSA upon 10 days’ written notice by providing such written notice of termination to RG&E on or before August 17, 2015."
Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) reported some progress at both FERC and the York PSC in its July 29 quarterly Form 10-Q report with its efforts to preserve its Ginna plant. "In light of the expiration of the agreement, Ginna advised the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) and ISO-NY that in absence of a reliability need, Ginna management would make a recommendation, subject to approval by the [Constellation Energy Nuclear Group LLC] board, that Ginna be retired as soon as practicable," said the Form 10-Q. "A formal study conducted by the ISO-NY and RG&E concluded that the Ginna nuclear plant needs to remain in operation to maintain the reliability of the transmission grid in the Rochester region through 2018 when planned transmission system upgrades are expected to be completed."
Ginna is a 581-MW, single-unit pressurized water reactor located along the south shores of Lake Ontario, in Ontario, New York, approximately 20 miles northeast of Rochester. From 2004 until the expiration of the power deal in June 2014, RG&E purchased 90% of the generation output of Ginna. Since the expiration of that contract, the Ginna Facility has been operating as a fully merchant generator in the wholesale power market administered by the New York ISO.