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Just ignore what we've been saying about a new power plant

By LOUIS HAU, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 14, 2003

It's not as if some top-secret source keeps whispering that Progress Energy Florida plans to build a new "peaking" plant in or near St. Petersburg for periods of heavy electricity demand.

Robert McGehee, president of parent Progress Energy Inc., told Wall Street analysts in February that the company was planning to do exactly that. And the company's annual 10-year site plan, which it filed recently with the Florida Public Service Commission, projected construction of a new peaker to start in December.

But Progress spokesman Aaron Perlut says to disregard all that because the utility may decide to simply purchase the power on the wholesale market. Why? "The principal factor is economic," he says, adding that the St. Petersburg utility will buy the power it needs if it proves to be the least expensive, most reliable option. A final decision is expected by the end of June.

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