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Industry News

PG&E to Pay 131 QFs $740 Million

LCG, July 20, 2001Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said yesterday it has signed five-year agreements with 131 of its qualifying facilities, ensuring the utility and its customers receive a reliable supply of electricity at an average energy price of 5.37 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Qualifying facilities, often referred to as "environmentally friendly" plants, are in fact ordinary power plants developed in response to the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 which was enacted in the wake of the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s, with the objective of diversifying energy resources in the U.S. QFs are typically smaller than utility baseload generating stations and are often cogenerators, supplying thermal as well as electric energy.

PG&E, forced into bankruptcy court by California's failed electric deregulation scheme, said it will pay the pre-petition debt on these 131 QF contracts, a total of $740 million, on the effective date of the plan of reorganization. The total amount the company owed to all QFs when it filed for Chapter 11 was about $1 billion.

"We are pleased to have reached agreements with more than 130 of our small power producers,"said Joe Henri, director of electric portfolio management. "This will help bring stability to the market and allow our customers to receive reliable power at reasonable costs."

The 131 QF contracts represent nameplate capacity of 2,950 megawatts compared to PG&E's total QF contract nameplate capacity of 4,400 megawatts. On an average annual basis, the companyreceives approximately 2,400 megawatts from all of its QFs, and the 131 QFs represent around 1,600 megawatts of the total amount.

Each of the agreements requires formal approval from the U.S Bankruptcy Court. Some QF contracts have already been approved by the bankruptcy court, including one with Calpine Corp. Calpine was owed $267 million for power from qualifying facilities it owns that have a capacity of around 630 megawatts.

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