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Water agency seeks corporate partner to sell energy

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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The Placer County Water Agency is looking for a corporate partner to help bring its electricity to market. With a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric up in 2013, the water agency will gain control of marketing the hydroelectricity generated from its five powerhouses on the Middle Fork of the American River. The five plants have a combined capacity of 244 megawatts and the ability to supply about 100,000 homes. Einar Maisch said the district has contacted several potential power-marketing partners in preparation for a call for proposals later this year or in early 2010. The current contract with PG&E, which went into effect in 1963, expires four years from now – two months after the agency is planning to have its federal energy license renewed. PG&E was among 11 businesses that responded. “We have laid out what we assumed the market is like and asked them to comment on our assumptions,” Maisch said. The agency is looking at two possibilities once it has control over power sales in 2013. One would be for a contract with a single buyer to purchase all the Middle Fork Project’s generated power and pay an agreed-upon price in a long-term contract. The other would be for the company to serve as an agent for Placer County power and sell it on the open market, Maisch said. Maisch said that the Middle Fork finance authority – a partnership between the agency and Placer County – has no preferred model yet.