Monday, March 12, 2007

Tribune coverage, and contracts that are written with invisible ink.

"and conservatives who think government should keep its nose out of the power plant business."
Now I'm a conservative. No one asked if I wanted to be a conservative, I'm not even sure what the criteria are. But I have been labeled, the Tribune said so, it must be true.

"At the same time, a federal agency may decide whether to fork over a loan for 75 percent of the plant's costs."
After stating yesterday, "The RUS is ready to fund this project," it now appears that perhaps we should wait for the RUS to actually state that as fact.

The coal plant needs water, and a lot of it. The city of Great Falls has a contract with SME to use some of its water rights from the Missouri River to provide raw water to operate Highwood Generating Station.
"That's a business deal that is done," Gregori said. "The contract stands whether or not the city of Great Falls is a member of SME."

In my inquisitive, anal, conservative way, I have tried to investigate this fact. First, I attempted to locate anywhere the City had actually admitted to having "Contracts with SME"

1. 3/5/07 ECPI board meeting.
Mr. Liebert asks "is there an actual written contract with SME?"
Ms. Balzarini replies "Yes, there is a Power Purchase Contract" No other information. (sidenote. How does the City think a contract to purchase power means anything? We know ECP is buying power from SME. When people are asking for documents relating to the Joint Venture, Management of ECP, Capital Investments etc. why do we keep being told Power Purchase Agreement? It means nothing except that we are purchasing power!)

2.We all know about Geeguy. Poor guy asks and asks, and get's nuthin.
3. I went to the City website. A search for "Water service contract with SME" I get this and this.
Of note in this/these documents-Page 37, Investment in Joint Venture. Financial statements for the joint venture may be obtained at 3521 Gabel Road, Suite 5, Billings Montana 59102. Or you might get a nice letter from SME's lawyer, saying "we don't wanna give 'em to ya".

Page 53. Long term Debt. City commission adopted res. 9534 authorizing 1,500,000 (count the zero's) for ECP. term of the note is 20 years. It is intended the debt will either be repaid at the time constructuon financing is acquired, or from operating funds of the electric utility, with a pledge from the General fund as backup security for the debt obligation.

Page 65. On March 15, 2005 the City Commission approved a Water Service Agreement....
(go to commission minutes, march 15 2005)

Of note in the Agreement:

"this agreement shall commence upon the date the MDNC issues its Order approving the transfer of water rights or sale of water by the City to Southern..."
Has the City applied to the MDNC for transfer of water rights or sale of water? If the City does not apply to the MDNC is this still a binding contract?

"Southern shall be entitled to credit against said monthly billing for Southerns difference in cost of power than paid therefore by the City as set forth in that certain Agreement dated the 22nd day of October 2004"
Which "certain agreement" is of course, the infamous Power Purchase Contract. Oh, wait, no it isn't. You see, there is the PPC, then there is a document dated Oct. 22nd, which I cannot find, that evidently clarifies this statement in the PPC. "Part of the deal will be to exchange low price energy for future consideration for water for HGS. We will work out the details later."

Well, my time to blog (lunch) is coming to an end. I do not believe I learned anything in my quest for contracts. Perhaps I will continue later on.

"Do you believe a majority of county residents support the plant?"
"Yes, if their questions are reasonably answered," Lawton said.

My god, I may agree with Lawton on something.

0 Old Comments: