The Tennessee Valley Authority is burning more coal and less natural gas to generate power, officials said Monday in a conference call to discuss the federal utility's results for the fiscal third quarter that ended June 30.
TVA said that in the first three quarters of its fiscal year, it generated 17% more power from coal and 14% less from gas than it had in the year-ago period.
CFO John Thomas said TVA turned more to coal as US natural gas prices came off their 2012 lows.
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TVA also generated 30% more hydropower during the nine-month period compared with the same period the year before.
Refueling and maintenance outages drove nuclear generation down 9% for the nine-month period. An 83-day outage at the 1,181-MW Sequoyah-2 for refueling and maintenance and to replace the steam generators was a primary driver in the reduction in output, Thomas said.
Sales to its distributors were down 5% in the third quarter and were flat in the first nine months compared with the same period a year ago, Bill Johnson, president and CEO, said.
Sales fell 2.2 billion kWh in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago, TVA said.
TVA expects load to grow at only a 0.4% rate during the next several years, Johnson said. Demand response, energy efficiencies and time of use rates are suppressing load growth, he said. The economy in the region is growing, but more slowly than in past economic rebounds, Johnson said.
Operating and maintenance expenses dropped by $16 million in the third quarter as TVA continued to retire or idle less-efficient coal-fired units, Johnson said. Two previously idled units at Widow's Creek were retired on July 31.
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