Green Bay, WI – Officials of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a subsidiary of WPS Resources Corporation (NYSE: WPS) announced today that the company reached a settlement with the Sierra Club on a lawsuit filed earlier this year. According to the settlement, Public Service agreed to decide whether to perform environmental upgrades at its 373-megawatt J. P. Pulliam Plant units in Green Bay, or shut the units down. Public Service has opted to shut down units 3 and 4 (both are 30-megawatt units) at Pulliam on December 31, 2007. The company will implement environmental control upgrades on Pulliam units 5, 6, 7, and 8 and continue to operate those units. In addition, Public Service will contribute $500,000 for environmental projects, according to the settlement.
Pulliam units 1 and 2 were retired in the early 1980s.
“We continually study our options regarding electric generation,” said Public Service President and COO – Generation, Charlie Schrock, “and, in fact, have been reviewing our options at Pulliam for a few years.” Schrock said the company’s decisions are based on finding the appropriate balance between customers’ needs for energy, economic factors, and environmental impacts.
“According to the settlement, we have some time to decide on Pulliam 3 and 4, but our studies indicate that we are in a window where it makes sense to retire these older units,” he added.
Schrock explained that the age of existing environmental control equipment and new environmental regulations may require the company to install expensive equipment on the units to reduce emissions levels for the units to operate as full-time, base-load units past 2007. With those upgrades, the units would be only marginally economical.
About 25 employees out of 127 union employees at Pulliam will be affected by the retirements. Public Service will work within the union contract in seeking to reduce staffing levels through normal attrition and job movement to other areas within the company, though there are no guarantees.
Since Public Service expects the 500-megawatt Weston 4 plant to come on line in 2008, there are no electric supply issues. “There will be power available to replace these small units,” said Schrock.
Public Service will work with Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation to design and implement the environmental projects it will fund as part of the settlement. These are likely to include new programs for Public Service customers that will focus on improving energy efficiency.
“There are several good opportunities for us to make a significant contribution to improving the environment,” said Schrock. “We’re excited about the opportunity.” The Pulliam plant has recently completed projects on units 7 and 8 to improve opacity performance, and there are plans to improve opacity performance on units 5 and 6 in the near future.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. You can identify these statements by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and often include words such as “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “could,” “project,” “believe” and other similar words. Forward-looking statements are beyond the ability of WPS Resources to control and, in many cases, WPS Resources cannot predict what factors would cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements. Please see WPS Resources’ periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (including its 10-Ks and 10-Qs) for listings of certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based upon information presently available, and WPS Resources does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
About WPS Resources Corporation
WPS Resources (NYSE: WPS), based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a holding company with five major subsidiaries providing electric and natural gas energy and related services in both regulated and non-regulated energy markets. Its largest subsidiary is Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a regulated electric and natural gas utility serving northeastern Wisconsin and a portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Wisconsin Public Service serves more than 425,000 electric customers and 308,000 natural gas customers. Another subsidiary, Upper Peninsula Power Company, is a regulated electric utility that serves approximately 52,000 electric customers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Michigan Gas Utilities Corporation is a regulated natural gas utility serving 161,000 customers in lower Michigan. Minnesota Energy Services Corporation is a regulated natural gas utility serving more than 200,000 customers throughout Minnesota.
WPS Resources’ major non-regulated subsidiary consists of WPS Energy Services, Inc., a diversified non-regulated energy supply and services company serving commercial, industrial and wholesale customers and aggregated groups of residential customers. Its principal market is the northeast quadrant of the United States and adjacent portions of Canada. Its principal operations are in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin in the United States and Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec in Canada. WPS Energy Services also owns and/or operates non-regulated electric generation facilities in Wisconsin, Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Brunswick, Canada; steam production facilities in Arkansas and Oregon; and a partial interest in a synthetic fuel processing facility in Kentucky.