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June 04

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I would like to begin this letter by saying thanks to everyone who helped make Bob Schwieger’s visit on July 9th a very complimentary and memorable experience for him. As I quote, “Many thanks to you and your fantastic staff …for what was certainly in my Top Three powerplant visits of all time. I certainly appreciate the dedication to information transfer during my visit and all the extra time invested by the Mesquite team (on a Friday, no less)”, you can only begin to understand what this means to a reporter who has seen hundreds of power facilities, all types and sizes, and provided commentary to their best attributes. Combined Cycle Journal is a spin-off from POWER Magazine, equally as recognized though not as widely distributed among the industry. Like POWER Magazine, a favorable article is certain to bring justified recognition to your hard work here at Mesquite.

I am also thrilled to announce Mesquite Power’s award as one of 2004 “Top Plants” from POWER Magazine. We have been chosen to be among several finalists for this respected distinction and will be featured in the July issue of POWER. As you might guess, the Power Plant of the Year is chosen from these Top Plant finalists, a selection that has already been made by the Platt’s staff. Unfortunately, the winner of “2004 Power Plant of the Year” won’t be announced until next month. I’ll have a few extra copies of the July issue for those of you who don’t yet subscribe…


Comparing ourselves to our sister plants is really quite unnecessary, yet I find it difficult to resist stating that one in particular, located in California, has never known what’s it’s like to have a month of 100% Equivalent Availability. In contrast, Mesquite Power has known four such months, one of them for Block 1 June 2004. Production numbers have put us over the 3000 GWhr threshold for 2004 and we continue to produce better than design heat rate results. Again, outstanding job by all. Nice to start out the summer with such superb performance.

June 2004

  • Production= 557,204 MWhr
  • Combined Average Equivalent Availability= 94.8%
  • Average Net Heat Rate= 7233 Btu/kWhr
  • Technical Availability= 100.3% Combined Q1-Q2
  • Equivalent Availability= 88.8%

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

Shift Operations

Please welcome Jim Griesenauer (pronounced “Gry-sen-auer”) as the newest member of the Mesquite Team. It’ll take awhile for me to get used to seeing him in one of our hats, but it’s great to have him aboard nonetheless. We all know him to be an exceptional electrical guy and I believe he brings invaluable experience and knowledge to our Team.

I understand the June Recognition Plan went through several iterations before landing on Shift 4 as the official winners. We have a few items to address for the July report that should help resolve many of your concerns regarding fairness of reporting. In July, we’ll invalidate any external trip not directly caused by the operating Shift, use a curve fit Heat Rate, and look at using the Accum_MW tag for the target production/deviation rather than a Pi calculation (Accum_MW is a DCS calculation off the revenue meter). These changes are meant to “fine tune” the process and “Hey, I’m sure we’ll still find more issues with the program”. Let’s not miss the point of this effort and the intention to provide feedback to you on a collected set of operating data. We’ve considered it important enough to put a prize out there as a token reward and not use it as an evaluation tool. We all win in the end with a better-operated facility, regardless of who gets the monthly prize.

Fall Outage

Seems we just finished one outage and now we’re planning the next. November 1-8 are the scheduled dates for Block 1 outage and will be the start of Block 2 extended outage to remove and rewind STG4 generator rotor. The Block 1 work scope will include repairs to the 230Kv breakers, borescope of combustion hardware, and installation of continuous dynamics monitoring (CDM) equipment. Block 2 outage will take a bit longer, beginning around November 3 and running possibly as long as mid-December. We’ll be performing all end-of-warranty inspections including Magic, thermography, cooling tower, and HRSG drums. GE will also conduct the borescope and install CDM equipment on Block 2 units. STG4 generator rotor will be pulled and shipped to the GE LA shop for rewind, expected to take 23 days to complete.

I’d like to say that the time we can’t operate Block 2 won’t affect our availability numbers. Unfortunately, I feel I have a long way to go to convince SER management of this. Perhaps that El Dorado PM and I can do something together.


Taking a suggestion from a few individuals, I had a Suggestion Box installed in the break room near the bulletin board. Please feel free to use this not only for Safety concerns, but for anything that comes to mind. The keys are held by me only.

Please do everyone a big favor and keep the hydrogen skid gates closed and locked whenever we’re not receiving. Seeing the gates swinging open as we drive into the plant is not a comfortable sight (consider yourselves fair warned). Additionally, I notice a recent trend of carelessness when washing out the filter press bays and not using rubber dams to prevent spillage into the roadway. Regardless of your thoughts, this is still pollution and a very visible one at that. We are not permitted to dump this material into our retention pond, nor onto our roadway. Keep it in the building drains.

Computer based Safety training has been set-up for each of us. If I don’t see sufficient progress towards completion in a timely manner, the alternative will be mandatory classroom. Your completion of these is a requirement for employment at Mesquite.

SRP/Congestion Management Issues

On July 7th, Joe put out direction regarding the precarious nature of the local electric grid and our cooperation with SRP in mitigating any potential issues. I would simply like to reinforce this message and state that we will continue to do whatever is needed and if called upon by SRP, will immediately respond to their requests to shed load. We should expect these curtailment problems to be with us for the remainder of the summer so just sit back and relax, the coming weeks will be no different than the past few.

Commercially, we are exempt from curtailment related expenses that hit our budget this year. During the summer peak, it’s also better for us to use our imbalance (within the -25 MW deadband) whenever we’re unable to eek-out schedule and as long as SRP doesn’t speak up. Though they frequently and understandably complain about over-production these days, under production on imbalance rates will be cheaper for Sempra than buying replacement power off the grid in July/August.

Next Month

Michael Paul expects to have the 360-degree surveys sent out before the end of July so keep an eye on your inbox. These will be conducted completely through the internet, short and sweet, and fully anonymous. If I haven’t stated before, the 360-degree surveys will not be an evaluation tool and are not mandatory to complete. However, their use as a development process is quite valuable and you should take just a few minutes to reciprocate for someone who may be completing one on you. Never know, they might have something good to say about you….

The second in a series of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) audits will be conducted here during the week of August 16th. This is primarily a financial reporting audit but as we’ve come to learn, Sempra Audit Services never misses an opportunity to transcend into other areas. Also in August, our 2005 budget will be due to SER management. Everyone will be receiving an Excel sheet to input budget data for your systems. A bit different than last year but we’ll also have current 2004 expenses to derive next year’s numbers.

The commissioning of the new water plant is scheduled to begin this coming week and will take approximately two weeks to complete. Once in service and the bugs worked out, we don’t expect to see the deficiency issues we’re now starting to have during peak operation. Also, the pretreatment testing is planned to begin the week of July 26th with liquid chemical feed at the floc tube assembly. As we expect this to greatly improve the effect of pretreatment, the “temporary” system will stay operational until permanent systems are installed, immediately following the validation phase.

If you recall this past spring, it was thought by many that we’d never make it to the May outage without the whole place falling apart around us. In comparison, I think we’re in much better shape now as we end our first month of summer peak with some of the largest maintenance issues behind us. There’ll probably be an occasional tube leak or blown gasket (or water main break), but for the most part we can expect to run continuously to November. The market conditions are favorable enough for us to see some off-peak duct firing as well, perhaps we’ll get one of those 750,000 MW months after all.

Be safe, work safe, and pay attention to the details.

Best Regards,


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