New Year’s Eve 2000 will not be remembered as the “Night theLights Went Out in Cheyenne, WY.”
Just days before its contract was set to expire, Cheyenne Light,Fuel and Power received an “acknowledgement” from its solegeneration provider, PacifiCorp, that it would continue to provideservice past the Dec. 31 cut-off date. PacifiCorp had threatened toterminate service on that day after both sides failed to negotiatea replacement contract.
“The energy will be delivered,” said Cheyenne Light CEO RichardL. Kaysen last Friday. “Through communications with PacifiCorp,they indicated they will deliver energy after the 31st ofDecember.”
But he was careful not to call it an agreement. “There is noagreement. It’s just an acknowledgement that they will deliverpower again on Jan. 2.” But Kaysen couldn’t say how long PacifiCorpwould continue to provide the generation under no contract. “Thereis no definitive period.”
Portland, OR-based PacifiCorp said it would provide the fullrequirements of Cheyenne Light, which range from 135 MW to 145 MW,at a price that is “still to be discussed,” according to Kaysen.
In a Sections 205 and 306 complaint filed in December, theCheyenne utility asked FERC to order PacifiCorp to keep the powerflowing to its customers under the “rates, terms and conditions” ofits current power sales agreement (PSA) for at least 60 days afterthe proposed Dec. 31 cut-off date [EL01-21].
Commission regulations require PacifiCorp to notify FERC atleast 60 days in advance of its plans to terminate service so FERCcan review whether the cancellation is just and reasonable. ButCheyenne Light said the power supplier had failed to submit anotice of termination in its case.
In response to the complaint, PacifiCorp immediately filed anotice of termination, and asked FERC to accept it effective Dec.31. This was before it had a change of heart, possibly due to theholidays.
Cheyenne Light, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc.,owns transmission and distribution facilities, but depends onPacifiCorp to supply its power requirements. It has been afull-requirements customer of PacifiCorp since 1963.
The utility said it has been trying to negotiate a replacementcontract with PacifiCorp since late May or early June. But, itnoted, “PacifiCorp’s last offer to Cheyenne of a one-year contractprice at an hourly market index potentially would raise rates byover 650% compared with the [existing] PSA’s rates.”
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