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New engine plant to become fully operational

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By Scott Harvey

Greenville – Electric costs for Greenville residents are expected to decline this summer, as the city's electric utility system (GEUS) plans to bring their new plant online.

Beginning Friday June 4, GEUS' new natural gas-fired engine plant will become fully operational. The 25MW plant is located adjacent to the existing generation plant and will be as much as 30% more efficient than the existing plant. It will also run quieter.

"This plant will lower our cost of local production plus the ten minute start time will allow us to sell into market spikes", GEUS General Manager David McCalla. "The revenue from these spikes will roll back in to lower each GEUS customer's fuel adjustment charge," McCalla added.

65% of GEUS' energy is received from Greenville's share of the Gibbons Creek coal-fired generation plant located near Bryan, TX. The remaining 35% must be either be purchased on the open Texas electric market or produced locally by GEUS through natural gas-fired generation.

GEUS' current local natural gas-fired generation consists of older units with start times taking 2-3 hours meaning GEUS cannot bring them online in time to avoid the increased cost or to sell into the spiked market. Because of market volatility and other factors, GEUS late last year awarded a bid for the installation of the new engine plant.

GEUS residential customers are reminded that June also begins the summer billing period. GEUS, like many other utilities in Texas, charge more during the summer to offset added costs.

Consumers are encouraged to set their thermostats at 78 degrees or higher and to contact GEUS about the $avvy Consumer Program. This program is designed to assist all customers in adding energy efficiency measures to their home or business.