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Dynegy delays mothballing Unit 1 at Baldwin

 
By Pete Spitler
Editor@heraldtrib.com
Posted on 10/12/2016, 5:36 PM

The ongoing situation with the mothballing of two units at Dynegy Midwest Generation"s Baldwin power plant have gotten a slightly better outlook .

During a recent employee meeting at the power plant, staff were notified that Unit 1, which was scheduled to go offline on March 31, 2017, will remain in operation through September 2018.

That will save an anticipated 60 jobs from being cut, at least for now, but Unit 3 is still scheduled to be shut down on Monday.

"Dynegy will not be mothballing Unit 1 as previously expected," said Dynegy spokesman David Onufer. "Unit 3 will be mothballed on October 17."

Onufer said the change in plans was due to the results of the Illinois Power Authority Capacity auction held in late September.

"Dynegy was one of the winning bidders and we"re planning on using Baldwin 1 to serve that unilateral contract," Onufer said. "That means 60 of the highly-skilled Baldwin employees will remain with Baldwin Unit 1 through September of 2018 to serve the capacity needs of the state."

In February, Dynegy - along with fellow generating company Exelon Corp. - submitted separate proposals to change the way the downstate capacity market is handled.

"In terms of protecting resource adequacy, we have proposed moving Illinois to one capacity market or to have the Illinois Commerce Commission have a greater role in long-term contracts," Onufer said.

Capacity revenue is one of two primary ways power plant owners make money, as they are compensated for ensuring their plants are available during times of peak demand.

In deregulated states like Illinois, electricity retailers secure capacity through contracts or auctions.

"Because of the result of the auction, that allows (Unit 1) to remain open," Onufer said.

Onufer was asked about the employee meeting.

"We certainly want to let employees know before reading it in the newspaper," Onufer said. "Originally, 120 employees were asked to retire or leave their jobs."

Randolph County Board of Commissioners Chairman Marc Kiehna was asked for his input on the announcement.

"We always knew it was a possibility, they would mothball two units," he said. "We"re not happy that 60 people are losing their jobs.

"We can never saying anything good about that, but it"s better than 120 people losing their jobs."

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