Massachusetts muni utilities move on from oil-fueled Maine power plant

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The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., the joint action agency for municipal utilities in the commonwealth, has sold its ownership interests in W.F. Wyman Station Unit 4, in Yarmouth, Maine.

The company sold the output of the Wyman Project's ownership interests to 12 municipal light plants in Massachusetts. Participants include municipal utilities in Boylston, Holyoke, Hudson, Hull, Littleton, Marblehead, Middleborough, Middleton, North Attleborough, Shrewsbury, Wakefield and Westfield.

The company launched Wyman in 1976, when it developed a power supply system consisting of fossil fired generation, including Wyman, and nuclear generation.

"Today, changes in wholesale electric markets and evolving power supply strategies and policies create a need for a different power supply mix," the company said in a statement, "The sale of the Wyman asset is more consistent with current sound utility power supply planning for the Wyman Project participants."

The Wyman plant, on Cousins Island, was built on a 122-acre site in 1978, as a base-load generation unit. When it came online, it marked a milestone for MMWEC and its project participants. For the first time, participating municipal light plants purchased power at cost from a unit financed with lower cost MMWEC revenue bonds and owned by MMWEC, their own power supply agency.

Revenue bonds MMWEC issued to finance the Wyman Project totaled $9.42 million. It paid off all Wyman-related revenue bonds in 2008.

MMWEC is a nonprofit, public corporation and political subdivision of the commonwealth, which the General Assembly created in 1975. It is authorized to issue debt to finance a wide range of energy facilities. It provides power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state’s consumer-owned municipal utilities. It has 20 municipal utility members and 28 project participants.

The company four weeks ago retired all the bonds related to its ownership interests in several New England generating facilities. MMWEC made the final payment of $5.26 million in fixed-rate debt on July 1.

The final payment was associated with MMWEC’s Project No. 6, which represented a portion of its ownership in Seabrook Station, a nuclear plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

Earlier this year, MMWEC redeemed the remaining $1.85 million in auction rate securities associated with Project No. 6.

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Utilities Municipal utility districts Revenue bonds Massachusetts Maine