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February 05

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Facility Performance

Noting that several changes have taken place in the past couple months, this seems like a good time to issue a set of perfect numbers. Super job everyone!

February 2005

  • Production= 649,764 MWhr
  • February Equivalent Availability:
    • Block 1: 100.0%
  • Q1 Combined Average Equivalent Availability= 63.6% (2005 Max Target Q1-2-4 is 69.2%)
  • Average Net Heat Rate: 6919 Btu/kWhr
  • Technical Availability: 99.99% (awesome!)


Operations Excellence

Congratulations to Shift 2 for their winning the Operational Excellence award in February.  I expect all bets are now off for March.

500kV Transformers:

Perhaps by now you've seen the A-phase transformer stationed at Warehouse 3. We've contracted with GE Installation & Repair Services to perform the damaged lead repairs and tank refurbishment on site rather than shipping this unit to a repair facility. The primary reason is “schedule”…as we wouldn't have received the repaired unit back until well after the beginning of Q3 if we had shipped it. A decision that evaluated risk during on site repair vs. schedule determined that GE performing the work here was the best option. During these repairs, Warehouse 3 must remain a “clean room”…meaning no other work will be performed in this building except the repairs to A-phase. Please keep traffic down to a minimum and ensure the building is locked up whenever work crews are absent. The unit will be “detanked” on Tuesday (3/8) and you'll all have the chance to see what the inside of a single-phase 500kV transformer looks like. As much as I'd like to say “a once in a lifetime opportunity”…..I won't.

With the repair work comes a lot of attention. Our forensic investigators (Joe Reynolds) and also the insurance company people will be here all week, possibly into the next. Please offer any assistance but keep your thoughts on failure mode to yourselves.

Siemens Power T&D was selected to manufacture three new single-phase units to expand our 500 kV switchyard from 4 to 7 units. This doesn't improve output, but it will offer additional reliability should we encounter future issues with the Fuji units. We're scheduled to receive the new units in early November, which means an EPC contractor must be approved, civil work performed, and all highyard interface components built before the units arrive. Our November outage will most likely last several weeks to make this inter-tie, but we'll also take advantage of the time and perform our Combustion Inspection on Block 1 during that outage. Our first step was awarding Burns & MacDonnell (KC) the contract for Owners Engineer on this upgrade project.

It's no surprise that internal gassing of the existing Fuji units continues. One of the best things we can do now is closely monitor the gas levels on a regular basis, using prudence to determine the rate and level of gassing that's occurring. Cheer up though….only 250 more days before we shutdown and install some really good transformers….

Shift Changes:

There were three goals to achieve in changing the shift structures at the beginning of this month: 1.) we would remove the title of “Shift Lead” from our vocabulary. The qualified CRO would then become the responsible lead during his/her shift,. 2.) qualified CRO's would be utilized to train additional CRO's while at the same time becoming more available themselves to take on larger areas of responsibility within facility operations and maintenance,. and 3.) thought processes that were created over the past two years within the shifts would be disrupted, generating a renewed sense of learning that paralleled commissioning.

Sometimes, but not always, change in an organization creates a new direction of growth. What might seem like total chaos at the beginning, can actually lead to stability, a well-marked path to success, and a new sense of ownership. I believed that Mesquite needed that change and for all the right reasons. People who had gained the knowledge they required to effectively do their jobs had reached a level of easiness that prevented them from learning more, or at least more at the pace we require in our industry. Others felt deprived of opportunity that we've always spoken of, yet failed to see emerge within our group.  It became disappointing to see the same people “at the helm” when the philosophy of Mesquite is one of constant learning, continued growth of our Team and their abilities. What's the point when you leave work after 12 hours and haven't learned anything new that day? How has your value increased?

So my challenge to all of you…is to make yourselves more valuable, more knowledgeable, and more marketable for your own reasons. Mesquite doesn't offer anything more than opportunity to learn and along with it a value-based salary for your time here. These are your choices to make, but I certainly hope each of you can muster up the desire to learn something new each day. For those who have stepped forward to request CRO training, I commend you on your initiative and ambitious goal-setting.

John Lopez is now leading all training at Mesquite to include CBT's, Power Plant and Combined Cycle fundamentals, off site training, and PQS for all positions. PQS training will include OJT sign-offs, casualty control drills, and oral boards before final qualification is granted. In the coming weeks, he will be working with existing CRO's to complete these qualifications and with very clear goals to expedite training of new CRO's that are coming in behind them. The personal motivation is very real for some, but for everyone we will offer a value-based incentive to complete your PQS qualifications within this year. I don't feel it unreasonable to expect everyone who desires to have the knowledge base of a CRO, can accomplish this objective in 2005.

All This and a Paycheck too:

Believe it or not we managed to secure a bonus for 2004 and despite the issues we had toward the end of the year, we didn't do too bad. I'll be handing these checks out to you on the 17 th during an All-Hands breakfast meeting at the site. Please plan to attend.

In Order of Appearance:

Richard Carter is on the site this week and may be accompanied by Joe Rowley later in the week. Please take a few moments to say Hello and let him know how you feel things are going with Mesquite , Sempra, and the world. Don't be shy…he likes to hear good honest feedback.

We expect to have several people from AZ Game & Fish here on Tuesday (3/8) for a tour of the well property and to spec out the Wildlife Habitat project. This project is nearing concept stage and will be presented to the Maricopa Board of Supervisors sometime next month for approval. Ground breaking planned for mid-year.

The Management Team of Palomar is planning a site visit later in the month. This group includes Dan Baerman , former Plant Manager for Gila River Power who is now SDG&E Director of Operations over the Palomar project. I'll let you all know the date once it's firmed up.


ADOSH made their second and final consultation survey last week for the SHARP (Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program) certification process. A very rewarding audit and we were informed at its conclusion that Mesquite will be recommended for the certification. Official news from ADOSH should follow soon. For anyone who wishes to read a bit more about what this means, see the story about Tucson Electric who received this award last year: http://www.tucsonelectric.com .

Needless to say, I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. This is an outstanding achievement for something we do everyday, putting us well on the path to our Volunteer Protection Program certification. SHARP is a first step in publicly recognizing Mesquite 's safety record and this most important aspect of our work. To each of you…”Thanks, and great job”.

With Kevin's departure, we find ourselves picking up a huge administrative program in mid-stride, and doing so without missing a beat. Although I intend to keep the position of Compliance Engineer open and available without pursuing backfill until a TBD date, some of Kevin's immediate duties will pass to Heather and some will pass back to Steve Perrizo . The Compliance Engineer role is a daunting task and one this Plant Manager takes very seriously (mostly because I can go to jail for some of these things). Once I feel the tide has ebbed and we have a good foothold on other aspects of our operations, we'll post for the position. I realize some of you have expressed your interest and it would seem likely we could fill this internally again.

Next Month

We're proceeding with additional testing of LCH/mag hydroxide slurry over the next several weeks including a simple re-injection test at the original location (reaction zone inlet). The numbers I've seen look good, if nothing else the equipment is running stable without constant failure. Plugging of the system valves is of most concern, however our plans call for relocating the slurry injection to the individual clarifiers rather than the floc tube. Stability of operations has higher priority than chemistry results right now and if we're able to keep this up, we might actually find ourselves in pretty good shape before peak season. GE Betz will also be starting an NPI (New Product Introduction) test on April 14 th that will continue for four weeks. This “new” inhibitor is expected to allow tower silica to remain soluble in the range of 280 ppm. With our present conductivity cycles, silica near this level would easily put us above 15 cycles.

The elusive Plant Labeling Project, aka. “ Mark Joy 's Dream” will be starting up next month. This will be a full plant, turnkey operation done completely by another company on your behalf. My suggestion is to spend some of your idle time now removing those old commissioning tags that are still on your systems….yeah…you know what I'm talking about.

We also have a few safety items to address from the ADOSH audit and these will need to be taken care of as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that all of us are responsible for safety at Mesquite …if you see something that just isn't right, don't ignore it. Use your Safety Team representative as a conduit for bringing concerns to the group attention.

Steve Perrizo is leading the 500 kV Switchyard upgrade project. Although Burns & Mac will be our Engineer, Mesquite will have a big part to play not only in the new transformer design, but also in the site work required to complete this project before mid-November. Parts spec and ordering will likely be the work for March and April but expect to see ground excavation starting up sometime in May.

In closing, I'd like to say ‘Thanks' one more time. We've recovered from a tough period;  a time when we weren't operating the facility, and many changes internally that affected all of us. I appreciate your continued dedication to be ‘the best' and hope that you always look to the future as being better than the past. The year ahead is full of all sorts of possibility.

Best Regards,



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