The Journal reported on Friday November 30th that Swepco’s Dolet Hills Oxbow mine would reduce operations and lay off almost half of its workers next year. This is coupled with the Cleco Dolet Hills Power Station transitioning from full time power generation to seasonal operations. In a joint statement from Swepco and Cleco issued to The Journal, the companies claim this move is a good thing for consumers.
Here is the text of that statement:
“Per our conversation, below is the joint Cleco-SWEPCO message:
Changing operations at the Dolet Hills Power Station and the Oxbow lignite mine that supplies its fuel will save Cleco and SWEPCO customers an estimated $85 million by the end of 2020.
The low market price of power, coupled with the cost of lignite mined at Oxbow is contributing to the plant being less competitive.
As a result, Dolet Hills Power Station will begin to generate electricity only during the warmest summer months, generally from June through September, or when requested by regional transmission organizations.
Employees of Dolet Hills Lignite Company, a subsidiary of SWEPCO, who are working at the Oxbow mine will continue to mine lignite year-round but with just one drag line, beginning in 2019, down from three last year. As such, these changes will reduce the SWEPCO workforce at the Oxbow mine to approximately 140 from 274 by the end of 2019. Approximately 55 contractor positions also will be eliminated in 2019.
Dolet Hills Power Station employs approximately 100 Cleco workers, and will see no reduction in the current workforce as a result of these changes.
Cleco operates the Dolet Hills Power Station, which is co-owned by SWEPCO and Cleco.
The Dolet Hills Lignite Co., operates the Oxbow mine and is a subsidiary of SWEPCO.
SWEPCO and Cleco jointly own the Oxbow mine.
Manager, Corporate Communications”
The Journal asked Cahill what work the employees of the Dolet Hills Power Station would be doing when the plant is not generating electricity? We asked would the plant be doing
anything else, or taking on a new role? And we asked about converting the power station to natural gas to make it able to generate power at a competitive price? Cahill said she would research these questions.
The Journal earlier asked Swepco spokesperson Peter Main if the Oxbow Mine was looking for other customers for the lignite it mines. We asked about selling lignite to the ADA plant located in the area. And The Journal asked what factors caused the price of lignite to increase. Main said he had no information on these issues.