Big Rivers: Plans to shut down power plant delayed

Big Rivers Electric Corp. says plans to shut down a western Kentucky power plant have been delayed.

The Henderson-based company told The Gleaner that it has found a buyer for half of the power produced at the D.B. Wilson power plant in Ohio County for the next two months. The plant had been slated to close on Saturday.

Big Rivers spokesman Marty Littrel said Thursday that the hope is another deal will be struck that extends the life of the power plant even more.

“As a result of the contract, we will not have to idle Wilson until at least April 1, and we might be able to strike another deal (then) for two months, four months, hopefully 12 months,” Littrel said.

“I know it’s not easy for our employees” who thought they were being laid off, Littrel said. “But it brings value to employees and the communities where we buy (1.2 million tons of Kentucky) coal (each year) and the owners of Big Rivers.”

The action was planned in the wake of Big Rivers’ two largest customers leaving after the entities couldn’t come to terms on electric rates.

“This development substantiates what our management team has been saying; that our generation units are cost-effective and bring value to our members even during depress market conditions,” Big Rivers CEO Mark Bailey said in a memo to employees.

The company still plans to idle another power plant in Hawesville on June 1.