Exelon to close 4 Penn. generating units by 2011

AP News
Posted: Dec 02, 2009 11:33 AM

Exelon will shut four 50-year-old power generating stations near Philadelphia in 2011 that the power generator says are no longer economic to operate and are unnecessary to meet shrinking demand for electricity in the region.

About 280 jobs will be eliminated, but the company said Wednesday that it is looking for ways to reduce that number through such efforts as putting workers in other open jobs and buyouts.

Exelon, based in Chicago and one of the nation's largest power companies, said it will record pretax charges totaling $258 million related to the shutdowns through 2011.

The company will close two units at the Cromby Generating Station in Phoenixville and two units at Eddystone Generating Station in Eddystone effective May 31, 2011.

"Decreased power demand, over supply of natural gas and increasing operating costs, has led Exelon Power to retire these units," Doyle Beneby, senior vice president of Exelon Power, said in a statement.

The announcement comes a day after Progress Energy said it will close 11 coal-burning power plants in North Carolina that do not have scrubbers by 2017. The units represent about 30 percent of the company's power generation from coal.

The company will continue to operate three coal-fired plants in North Carolina after 2017 that are equipped with emission controls at a cost of more than $2 billion.

The plan was prompted by state regulators ordering the company to provide retirement plans for the coal-burning plants that lack scrubbers to reduce emissions. Some of the plants are more than 50 years old.

For Exelon, one unit at Cromby operates on coal and the other on either natural gas or fuel oil. They were put into operation in 1954 and 1955. The station will close when the units are retired.

The Eddystone units were put into operation in 1960 and both operate on coal. Two other units that run on either natural gas or coal and four oil-burning units will continue to operate at the station.