Chehalis Power Plant Back in Service at Full Capacity

March 09, 2011

CHEHALIS, Wash. – PacifiCorp’s Chehalis generating plant is back in full operation serving customers after a January 20 fire damaged a transformer on plant grounds. The restoration timeline was shortened by leveraging the strengths of PacifiCorp’s utility and generation businesses. These units collaborated to complete work necessary to restore partial generation at the plant Sunday, January 23, and normal operations February 15.

“A coordinated effort between plant employees and Pacific Power line and substation crews brought the plant back into operation in a shorter timeframe than would have otherwise been possible,” said Rick Bradshaw, production manager, Chehalis plant. “This assistance allowed our employees to focus on the plant side of operations, and to ensure the plant could be up and running for our customers as quickly and safely as possible.”

The 520 megawatt natural gas-fueled facility supports the electricity needs of 1.7 million customers of PacifiCorp in six western states, including Washington. The plant was offline at the time of the fire.

Damage was isolated to a generator step-up transformer on the perimeter of the property. Before the fire was even fully extinguished, plant management was in contact with its sister utility, Pacific Power. Pacific Power serves the electricity needs of customers in Washington, Oregon and northern California.

“We were able to respond immediately and with a real sense of urgency to begin making the repairs,” said Bill Eaquinto, vice president, Pacific Power operations. “Our crews are very familiar with the work involved, and we were able to bring in a wide range of expertise – from substation operations and support personnel to line crews – to support the plant wherever help was needed.”

Pacific Power crews from Portland and Yakima worked around the clock with plant employees until repairs were made and plant operations could resume. Within days, the two step-up transformers adjacent to the damaged one had been fully inspected and restored to service. The damaged transformer was then disconnected and removed, and a replacement transformer already on site was installed after making adjustments to accommodate the larger size of the replacement unit.

About Chehalis Plant
PacifiCorp has owned and operated the Chehalis generating facility since 2008. The plant was built in 2003 and originally operated by a unit of what is now GDF Suez. It has an exceptional employee and plant safety record. The facility burns natural gas in combustion turbines and then heat is recovered and augmented to make steam that turns a steam turbine. Called combined cycle combustion, this technology creates an additional 20 percent efficiency compared to simple cycle combustion. The three units at Chehalis are capable of producing enough electricity to power more than 390,000 average homes.

About PacifiCorp
PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in Oregon, Washington and California, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. PacifiCorp Energy primarily operates the generation side of the business. PacifiCorp is one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, serving the energy needs of more than 1.7 million customers. The company works to meet growing energy demand while protecting and enhancing the environment. PacifiCorp has a net generation capacity of 10,607 megawatts from coal, hydro, gas-fired combustion turbines and renewable wind and geothermal power, and owns and operates 16,200 miles of transmission lines across the West.