Built in 1975, BELD's Potter II Station is a combined-cycle plant with a maximum output of 96 megawatts (MW). It is dual-fired with oil and natural gas, which gives us the ability to run on either fuel or a combination of both. The unit is dispatched by the New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) and is available to them at all times.
BELD sells some of Potter's output to other utilities and municipal light plants, and we retain approximately 88 MW for ourselves. Even when the plant is not running, we are still benefiting from the unit. If we did not own the plant, we would have to purchase that 88 MW from other sources. The current rate for capacity today is about $.75 per kilowatt-month. That translates to an additional $800,000 each year BELD would have to pay to replace the capacity supplied by the Potter Station.
By owning the plant and selling some of the excess, we ensure the customers of Braintree the best return on their investment and the lowest possible rates. Another reason to sell off some of the plant output is for reliability. We do not want too large a stake in any one unit, including our own. In case there are problems, we would have to find other sources of power for short periods of time, which is usually very expensive.