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October 03

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A few statistics regarding October are listed below. While it wasn't our best production month, we did have some operational successes and identified many issues that were resolved during the Block 1 outage. As of today, we have produced nearly 1.5 Million MWhr and are quickly “recovering” above the 80% (annual) Availability Factor.

October 2003: Mesquite Block 1

  • Production: 127,377 MW
  • Average Heat Rate: 7252
  • Technical Availability: 87.27%
  • Commercial Availability: 60.74%
  • Equivalent Availability: 43.23%
  • Availability Factor (October): 47.37%
  • Scheduled Outage Factor: 52.21%
  • Average Overtime Hours: 72 (a 77% increase over September)

On October 23rd, we had an incident at Mesquite Power that has shadowed the completion of this project not only from a construction side, but also for all of us going forward. We can review the incident repeatedly, but it remains that a process of LOTO was unobserved and resulted in a man's death. To this point, I want to stress the significance of our LOTO program at Mesquite. The program has been reviewed again by the LOTO Team and recommendations have been implemented. Questions about the process have been incorporated into the new procedure and the LOTO form. A “Task Lock” program is being reviewed for simple, routine PM's that won't require a full LOTO but for safety reasons, would require a more positive means of de-energization. It is expected, that everyone will have the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of the LOTO program at Mesquite Power through your shift LOTO Team members (Mike, Mark, Dave, Ches, and Jay). If you have additional questions, please make them known.

On November 11th at 1500 hours, we accepted care, custody, and control of Block 2. Congratulations on this accomplishment and well-deserved recognition for being the largest and most powerful facility in the World Sempra Energy fleet. It's now our responsibility to see that Mesquite Power lives up to its preceded reputation and ensure we exceed the targets Corporate has set for us. The following contribute in part to our 2003 bonus plan and are directly linked to the operation of both Blocks following COD:

  • Zero LTA's
  • No NOV's that result in a fine
  • Zero Operator Intervention (ZOI)
  • Availability of 89%
  • Budget +/- 10% of actual.

The ZOI validation will occur during a 24-hr period (of our choosing) in December. The Availability target should easily be met if we continue to operate without extended outages through the remainder of the year. Bonus levels are announced around February and will be paid out on the first pay period of the second quarter.

Another task we have to complete in December is the Personal Development Plans for 2004. I'll be asking each of you to meet with me for a short time so we can together plot your course through the next year. Along with this, Joe will be completing his annual Evaluations and will review them with you before mid-December. So quite literally, by the end of 2003 you'll all have a pretty good idea of how you've done, what is left to do, and what you expect to accomplish in the next year. Really no need to write New Year's resolutions….

We're working through several regulatory issues that impact the operation of Mesquite Power. Most of you know that Maricopa County Air Quality has an Enforcement Officer on Elliot Road each morning this month. This is partly related to the number of Air Permit exceedance reports they've received from the West Valley power plants, and no doubt a result of increasing pressure from the EPA, their parent agency. As an FYI, our permit modification (to amend the start-up limits) has made it through public review with no comments and is now under a 45-day review with the EPA Region 9. We are also preparing a response to the 9 NOV's we were issued in June, with hopes that all of them will fall under the affirmative defense clause and result in no fines.

We have a Maricopa County Active Management Area (AMA) requirement for our cooling tower water that must be achieved…and maintained at or greater than 15 cycles. This is an immediate condition for operating the Facility and you'll all notice the improved attention Nalco is giving us this week and next. Please accommodate their needs that fall within our capabilities and understand what they're attempting to do for us. Nalco will be replacing the current 73203 cooling tower inhibitor with a silica-targeted chemical….and they have two weeks to prove 15 cycles at high (clarifier) flow rates, i.e. 3500 gpm. Wish them well.

When we have this sort of attention from MCESD and ADEQ, we don't need added issues that draw undesirable focus on our facility. Spills of chemicals, fugitive dust clouds, cooling tower overflow, and extended start-ups below Mode 6 operation are all things we have some control over. At this stage of the game, we should all understand the impact these events have on our operability: You get too many NOV's….they shut you down. (Of course, if we also get fined, there goes our bonus). All of us are responsible for the conditions of our Permits so if you don't understand what those conditions are, I believe we keep a copy in the Control Room available for your review.

We're restarting Block 2 today and will begin a 7-day Reliability Run as a provision of our EPC contract. A testing schedule that includes a couple days of duct firing on Block 1 has been drafted for the remainder of November and if all goes according to plan, we'll announce Commercial Operation of Block 2 on December 1st. It looks like full Baseload operation from January 1st on through the winter months, peaking starting in May. Our 2004 outage will be scheduled for late April-early May for end-of-warranty inspections on Block 1 and any significant repair work for Block 2 requiring a full Block outage. The public Commercial Operations ribbon cutting is being planned for March.

A few “don't forgets”: RSVP to the Holiday Party by this next Monday (20th), sign-up for the Potluck lunch we're having on Monday (20th), and the Holiday food drive for November.

Thanks all. Have a great month !




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