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May 04

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Personal Performance

The past six weeks have brought a tremendous amount of change to Mesquite Power. What seemed to be an effortless first quarter emerged into an outage that quickly took the wind out of our sails. Given the increased workload of the outage and the management changes imposed upon this group, I can easily understand the sense of animosity and the facetious attitude some of you have taken. For those few individuals I refer to, I would like to express my personal empathy, having been in those shoes numerous times in my professional career; but that's all I offer. It's unfortunate that things have worked out the way they have, for certainly it was no one's intention to have an extended outage and with it, an untimely start to a 4-person crew rotation. You should all know that fallout from what some consider an ill-conceived incentive program, complaints from support shift coverage, and blatant lack of attention to facility conditions are meaningful concerns of mine.

Every problem you encounter here at Mesquite is an opportunity. Opportunity to resolve something that's not right, create a better way of performing your job, making the plant run better, making the place more efficient. It shouldn't be about getting around your duties or finding a way to make the "other guy" look bad. We have a responsibility to operate and maintain this facility to the best of our abilities and in return, we're provided a good salary. Act professionally and do your work professionally, I wouldn't ask for anything else. On the other hand, you can do whatever you'd like. The choice to do something or not do something in a certain way is totally yours to decide. What isn't your decision are the consequences, good or bad, that will result from the choices you make.

Operations/Performance

In terms of operating numbers May was a horrible month for us. Production was cut in half, we missed outage targets, and we took a big bite out of our year-to-date availability numbers. When we did run however, Technical Availability and Heat Rate gave impressive results.

May 2004

  • Production= 306,128 MWhr
  • Combined Average Equivalent Availability= 46.9%
  • Average Net Heat Rate= 7067 Btu/kWhr
  • Technical Availability= 99.9%

The complete May 2004 report can be found on the Mesquite webpage at http://www.mesquitepower.com/business/ppt/May-04.ppt.

Permit Conditions

On Wednesday, June 9th, we received approval for a modification to our Air Permit. This has been a hard-fought revision to an unattainable start-up emission limit on our Gas Turbine units. For nearly each of our start-ups, we have submitted an exceedance report to Maricopa County, nine of which resulted in NOV's last year.

The days of exceeding the start-up limits on our Air Permit are over, period. You MUST pay particular attention to where the units are parked for any given amount of time and progress through the start-up process on schedule. You cannot stay in Mode 3 for greater than the scheduled time and when you are in Mode 3, you must optimize the unit for the best possible emissions. Lowest NOx and CO are typically found around 33 MW, however each unit has a unique operating point (the "sweet spot"). Essentially, you cannot operate at FSNL or below Mode 6 for any duration that would cause you to exceed our operating permit.

The modification terminology is much different than what you're used to. We are now using "lbs/event" rather than "lbs/hr" start-up limits on both NOx and CO. The CEMS DAS will be modified early next month to accommodate the changes and provide real-time feedback on these parameters. Read and understand the table below. You should be able to pull this information from memory when asked.

Table 3

Emission Limits During Periods of Startup or Shutdown

Device

NOx
(lb/event)

CO
(lb/event)

PM10
(lb/hr)

SO2
(lb/hr)

VOC
(lb/event)

GE – Combined Cycle System #1 and #2 Combined during Extended Startup

920.0

260.0

36.0

2.0

200.0

GE – Combined Cycle System #3 and #4 Combined during Extended Startup

920.0

260.0

36.0

2.0

200.0

GE – Combined Cycle System #1 and #2 Combined during Regular Startup

362.0

108.0

36.0

2.0

84.0

GE – Combined Cycle System #3 and #4 Combined during Regular Startup

362.0

108.0

36.0

2.0

84.0

GE – Combined Cycle System #1 and #2 Combined during Shutdown

138.0

45.0

36.0

2.0

34.0

GE – Combined Cycle System #1 and #2 Combined during Shutdown

138.0

45.0

36.0

2.0

34.0

Notes: 

  1. NOx, CO, and VOC emission limits are pounds per event.  PM10 and SO2 emission limits are in terms of pounds per hour. 
  2. There is also a maximum pounds per hour emission limit for CO of 260 lbs/hr for Combined Cycle System #1 and #2 combined, and 260 lb/hr for Combined Cycle System #3 and #4 combined. 
  3. An Extended start is one in which the combined cycle system has not reached Mode 6 operation in the 72 hours prior to initiating the startup sequence.  A Regular start is one in which the combined cycle system has reached Model 6 operation during the 72 hours prior to initiating the startup sequence. 

 [County Rule 240 §308.1a, d, e]

We still have an outstanding issue regarding the ADWR, 3rd AMA conditions for our cooling towers. A 2004 reprieve to maintain 15-cycles of concentration will need to be proved-out this year, which means the changes we're attempting to make on the pretreatment system will have to progress along. Since most people tend to criticize something before understanding the full impact and scope what's being attempted, try to spend some time with Debbie or Steve Perrizo and get up to speed on this project. The direction is to change from dry chemical to liquid chemical feed, using the flocculator assembly as a mixing unit.

Expect an MCESD (Maricopa County) Inspection sometime in the near future. This inspector can ask you anything regarding our air permit, housekeeping, or handling of chemicals and waste.

Shift Operations

I understand that the 4-person crews have been off to quite a rocky start, due mostly to vacation coverage but also in part to outage work that hasn't yet ended. It will take roughly a month for the support shift to be fully staffed and I hope by then the workload has settled down, providing a more sustaining condition. Unless there's some instance I haven't heard of, we're honoring all previously scheduled vacations for the remainder of this year for anyone who rotates to the support shift. We all want to take our vacations, and no matter how inconvenient it is to arrange coverage, what goes around typically comes around. Just ask Joe, he does my work all the time.

We'll have two new (GT Tech) employees starting soon, following background checks and other admin preliminaries.

Following a bit of discussion on direction and intended use, the "Mesquite Incentive Program" will now be titled the "Mesquite Recognition Program". Again, this should be considered a feedback to the Shift Teams (including those who are on support shift) to show how performance is stacked up against all shifts. The "prize" should be self-recognition, not a bank-buster, but we'll be increasing the value of these as we move forward and get more constructive responses from you. I would be interested in hearing your comments from you directly.

2004 Bonus

The 2004 Bonus Program has been finalized by SER and the three Personal Development Plan (PDP) items for Mesquite are listed below:

  • PQS System (Phase 1) completion
  • Provide System training to Team Members (outline TBD)
  • Complete all 2004 Mesquite-required Safety Training.

These will have to be completed by no later than mid-December for me to determine the individual Bonus amounts for the year. The PDP target of the bonus is weighted at 10%. It works like this: if you complete only one of these PDP's, you will receive a .5% factor for this target, two PDP's 1.0%, all three PDP's 1.5%. I suggest you don't wait until December to start on these.

Next Month

We have the annual audiogram/pulmonary testing next month, scheduled on two different days. The RV will stay onsite for a minimum of three hours each time so we can get everyone tested. These annual tests are mandatory for your employment at Mesquite.

Safety drills, self-audits, and inventory spot-checks will be added to the July schedule. Simple tasks that teach a lot but are also a necessary hoop to leap through. The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) audit will be conducted in August for which we have a bit of remaining preparation ahead of us. In addition, SEGE will be visiting the site for further disaster recovery auditing.

I can't yet disclose knowledge of our Power Magazine award standing but I've been assured we'll hear something official soon. You'll all be the first to know, right behind me.

I hope everyone continues to think of their future at Mesquite as a positive experience and one filled with enthusiasm and increased knowledge. The summer ahead holds no promises, but looking back at last month, we have no where to go but up. Be safe, work safe, and pay attention to the details.

Best Regards,

Merritt

 

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