White Paper

It's quite amazing, really. When you become a 'blogger,' pretty soon things just start to fall in your lap. People give you things if they think you might find them interesting.

Take, for instance, this "White Paper." Someone just gave this to me. It is interesting for a variety of reasons.

First of all, this is a document that was apparently prepared for the City of Great Falls' utility, Electric City Power, by its consultant, R.W. Beck. Why, then, is it marked "Confidential?" Perhaps someone should send R.W. Beck a copy of Title 2, Chapter 6 of the Montana Code.

Also of interest are the handwritten notations on the document. The first page says "Martha." Martha Cappis from Coleen Balzarini's office? Could, perchance, the handwritten notations be Ms. Balzarini's?

And, note that on the first page, R.W. Beck anticipates that ECP will have 62.5 MW of capacity from the Highwood Generating Station. Someone, though, wrote in "35-62.5." Ooops. I guess Beck spoke too soon. Maybe if ECP had a contract with SME, this number wouldn't be a "moving target."

The document goes on, on p.2, to discuss the need for "shaping services." It notes that there are other additional services that will also have a cost to ECP (add 10-15% to the cost of the power). Have these costs been included in the per MWh prices? Did anyone on the ECP board or the City Commission ask the question?

Page 3 discusses the "new customers" that ECP hopes to secure by October 1, the deadline under the "re-regulation bill." This "confidential" document is silent as to the identity of these "new customers," but the handwriting helpfully describes who they will be. First, we expect, apparently, that the "New Ethanol Plant" will buy 20MW of power from ECP. What new ethanol plant? Not the one that's been 'in the works' for 20 years, I hope. That does not seem to be a very reliable customer.

Then we have "Barrett Minerals," "Aspen Air," and "City's." Barrett Minerals is a company outside of Dillon that mines talc. Actually, Barrett Minerals has already signed up for 4MW of power. See, they told us the coal plant would help economic development by providing steady power to businesses. They just didn't tell us those businesses would be located in Dillon. (And I am pretty sure Aspen Air is in Billings.)

New Slogan: Great Falls: Economic Development Capital for the Rest of the State.

I like this language from p.4: "To what extent can the 'uncommitted' portion of the ECPI's resource commitment be balanced against the marketability of the excesses into the wholesale market? Will a wholesale marketability analysis be useful?"

Um, let me guess. R.W. Beck does "wholesale marketability analyses." A mere $60,000.00? $100,000.00?

Well, that's all I have time for tonight. As you can see, it's all so terrifically complex. Maybe someone else can read this stuff and add to the discussion.

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