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Dallas Electric Company Closing 2 Power Plant Units & Cutting 500 Jobs

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas-based electricity generator Luminant is closing two coal-fired power plant units and eliminating about 500 jobs in Texas because of a new federal air pollution rule.

In a news release Monday, Luminant said in addition to idling the power plants in East Texas, it will stop mining coal at three of its Texas mines.

The moves are in response to the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was enacted in July.  The government says the rule, which takes effect on January 1, will “protect the health of millions of Americans.”  It requires power plants to reduce polluting emissions.

Luminant also says it is suing the EPA to invalidate the rule in Texas.  The company says the rule “will inflict immediate and irreparable harm” on its employees, customers, and the company itself.

The EPA estimates the rule will prevent 13,000 premature deaths nationwide each year, in addition to 1.8 million missed work or school days, and other health benefits.

Overall, the government says the rule will produce at least $120 billion in annual health and environmental benefits.  The EPA projects that the rule will cost $800 million to implement each year.

Luminant says to meet the January 1 deadline, it will idle its Monticello Units 1 and 2.

Those two units can generate 1,200 megawatts of power.  That’s about 1.7% of Texas’ record peak demand of 68,294 megawatts, which was set on August 3 of this year.

The company will also stop using Texas lignite coal at three of its power plants, switching instead to a higher grade of coal from Wyoming.

Scientists say lignite is the lowest grade of coal.  Texas is one of only two states that burn lignite coal for power, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Luminant is the biggest electricity generator in Texas.  It is owned by Energy Future Holdings, the same company that owns Oncor, which distributes power statewide, and TXU Energy, the state’s biggest retail electric provider.

  • darrell

    keep those regulations coming obama. lots more jobs out there for you to kill while your trying to create 450 billion in debt with a jobs bill that will create zero real jobs.

    • Former Dunce-ocrat

      Yep. Cap and Tax, or whatever clever name they have this week is synonymous with lost jobs. When the government over-regulates anything, jobs are the casualty. Hope and change! WOOHOO!

  • http://dallasforme.com/2011/09/dallas-electric-company-closing-2-power-plants-cutting-500-jobs/ Dallas Electric Company Closing 2 Power Plants & Cutting 500 Jobs — Me and the Chicks

    […] in Texas because of a new federal air pollution rule. In a news release Monday, Luminant said […] More from: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/0… […]

  • Hoo

    Thank you Obama and the tree-huggers. The USA is fading fast, and people like this could care less. They want us living in caves in the dark, because candles emit fumes.

  • Bryan Howell

    That’s right Darrell, let’s continue to allow these HIGHLY profitable energy companies to destroy our environment while they pocket massive salaries/bonuses for the upper management. The figures cited in this article indicate that the cost to implement the necessary safeguards cost less than 10% of their benefit, yet you see this as a travesty imposed by President Obama? Pull your head out and quit drinking the Kool-Aid. These energy companies are RAPING us and have been for years.

    • darrell

      so bryan, i guess your happy to see 500 people lose their jobs. see a decrease in available power which could result in rolling blackouts during peak times of need. dont tell me, let me guess. you also think obama’s jobs bill is the greatest thing since the creation of socialism and tax and spend is the only salvation for america.
      speaking of rape, have you seriously looked at what obama and the democrats have and are doing to this country. rape does not describe it well enough. brutal sodomy would best describe it.

  • Bryan Howell

    The job cuts aren’t necessary. This firm is choosing to maintain a profit margin that is based solely on protecting it’s stock value and to continue to line the pockets of it’s management. They are making a political stand, which seems to be the only way that conservatives can make their point….stomp off stage in a huff.

    Look at Europe where they have implemented standards FAR higher than what is on the books here in the US today. They have a thriving energy infrastructure that is both profitable and environmentally responsible. This CHOICE to “stomp off mad” is a childish play and no, I’m not pleased about the loss of jobs. But I’m tired of being held hostage by conservatives who have developed a “My way or the highway” mentality.

    What happened to working out a compromise? What happened to looking for a “win-win”? You seem to think that none of these things were along this path prior to the current administration. You’re nothing more than a tool of the conservative rhetoric if that’s what you believe.

    It’s taken decades for this situation to develop, and to lay responsibility for the years of neglect and previous administrations who were complicit with the “status quo” shows what a lack of understanding you have of this issue.

    There are answers out there that will provide plenty of power, plenty of jobs, and plenty of profit. Engaging in (and subscribing to) 3rd grade antics won’t get us there.

    • Former Dunce-o-crat

      Yes, protecting ITS stock value pays investors’ their dividends and pays ITS management. That’s what business is all about – MAKING MONEY. New regulations and rules cost money in the area of new equipment purchases, etc., and that translates into a hit on assets, and in turn lower profits, and sadly, lost jobs. If you’re running a lawn company, and your “investors” are your wife and children, their “dividends” from your business puts food on the table, shoes on the kids’ feet, pays bills, etc. How long will your “investors” stick around if nothing is coming in or things have taken a major downturn? If a “no emissions” regulation comes down the pike, and you’re required to run electric mowers and electric leaf blowers instead of your gas models, guess what? You either go out of business or trim your staff. Capisce?

      • Former Dunce-o-crat

        Maybe you need to read it again, Forrest, I mean Kevin. It was an ILLUSTRATION about how a business can cease to exist when spending available cash or borrowing money (incurring debt) for new equipment or equipment modification due to additional regulations. Oh, forget it. It’s a business thing – you wouldn’t understand.

      • kevin

        why would electric mowers and leaf blowers put him out of business?

      • Former Dunce-o-crat

        I don’t have to get the point, Bryan. I already got the point, and that was conspicuously obvious when I fully retired at age 41 by using common sense in my business dealings. You may be smart in your business practices as well – or maybe just lucky at dodging the inevitable bullet. Best of luck to you, regardless.

      • Bryan Howell

        I am a small business owner. I get the whole “making money” thing quite well. I also get that businesses have a responsibility to the community that they make that money in/from. To abuse that community at the expense of the almighty dollar, impact be damned, makes for bad business long term. Yes rules and regulations CAN cost money, and yes, they CAN be hurdles to jump, but in the end, we all have to strike a balance.

        Lower profits do NOT result in reduction of jobs as a rule. My firm has watched our margins drop over the past few years. We have laid off NO-ONE! We have found better ways to do what we do, reduce our overall consumption of non-value-added expenses, and are still a healthy and viable company. There’s plenty of food on the table at each of my employees homes. And yes, we comply with ALL the rules and regs (new and old) that pertain to our industry.

        Your over-simplifed analogy might makes sense to someone who has a loose understanding how micro-economics, but your really not getting the point.

        Investors have a right to expect dividends on their investments, but to think that you can maintain to same margins in a competitive market, and a market that needs to upgrade its infrastructure to meet modern rules/regs is exactly the same mentality that drove us into the housing crisis. There’s no such thing as “free money” nor is it reasonable to expect the market to not evolve.

        Evolve or die….smart companies, successful companies evolve and thrive. Like mine.

      • Former Dunce-o-crat

        No apostrophe needed in the first sentence. I was editing it and forgot to change it.

    • Realist

      Wow the stupid is really strong with you. Neither Luminant nor its parent company is publicly owned. There are NO stocks.

      The cuts may occur if the rule goes into effect because the plants and the mines will be shut down. Maybe you don’t know how private industry works. If a business closes the jobs go away. Do you think Borders is paying employees after they close the stores??

      The EPA announced this horrible rule in July and Luminant has to comply by Jan 1 2012. It is impossible to make these huge engineering changes in 5 months. Could you convert your vehicle from gas to diesel in 5 minutes?

      The EPA’s rule is based on some hypothetical health benefits. The EPA’s own data shows air quality has been improving and pollution has been decreasing for decades. People are dying from obesity and heart disease not from air pollution. The tree-hugging Obama appointees push these nonsense regulations because they hate any industries that use fossil fuels.

  • Ellen Childress

    Mr. Howell, thank you !!! there are plenty of answers to cleaner fuel, safer production, and more jobs, not less. TXU ( Luminant) has led the pack in overcharging for electricity. My electric bill ( I’m with Reliant right now ) is out the roof for the past two months, and I have done everything, and more, than was asked to keep the load down. Electricity is a necessity not a luxury; therefore, I believe it should be regulated with the lowest-income users in mind.

    • Use Some Common Sense, You Moron

      Could that high bill have anything to do with the 65+ days that reached 105-110 degrees, genius? Most attics get to 140 on days like that, and AC runs through the ducts that go through the attic. Duh.

    • KissThis

      I completely agree with you Ellen. Luckily a couple of years ago my AC went out and I got a newer more effecient one, yet keeping it at 82* has kept my bills in line with previous years with all the 100+ days. The old AC unit set at 82* probably would have had the bill climb more. Things that are essential to substain life should be regulated. Old days with less concrete jungles, people didn’t need AC to get by nor to electricity to cook with.
      Snippers snip all you want at me, I’m a vet so you won’t shell shock me. Pray you never see a world war where they try to ration your type, because unless people unite they do get defeated even by weaker foes.

    • realist

      If you don’t like the TXU rates go to powertochoose.com and select a different provider if you don’t like the rates.

    • ellen = idiot

      lets take a straw poll on what ellen’s IQ is, my guess is sub 20 (70 is considered slightly retarted)

  • Bryan Howell

    Dunce….Thanks, sounds like we’re both a bit lucky.

    • Former Dunce-o-crat

      LOL. I think so. I like that you referred to me as dunce, as I’ve made a select few mistakes in my short but rewarding life as an entrepreneur.

      • Queso Grande

        I just read everyone’s posts. Just curious. What did you do, “Dunce”?

      • Former Dunce-o-crat

        I started out in home building/apartment building and real estate development (aka “raping the land”), following in the footsteps of previous family generations. When that industry started to tank, and a lot of the rest of the industries here started to flounder due to the recession(s), I saw tremendous opportunities in “portable wealth” investment – gold, diamonds, etc. I have a childhood friend who is in that, and I soon became active in the business, meeting a lot of nice folks in Zürich, South Africa, Antwerp, and Tel Aviv. I’m holding on to my gold, but plan to sell it off in the near future. Other than that, I’m pretty much 100% retired now. It’s been a fun ride for sure. If you’re planning on being an entrepreneur, I have one piece of advice: wear a helmet – it’s rough out there! ;-)

  • KissThis

    Hey Luminant 500 jobs aren’t many unless your one of the ones being out of a job which you won’t be. Stop being a baby and spend the money it takes to cap some of your pollution, sure you may be an old goat who’s life it won’t help protect (too little too late), but it will help future generations have cleaner air and maybe even be able to enjoy some of the nature we have been able to see in our lifetime. People horn toads is living proof of the damage done already by those who only think of themselves and their profits or comfort. If you didn’t care about their demise then your not a true Texan anyway.
    As for suing the EPA-new Texas rules loosers pay now. Texas just tried to pass second hand tobacco smoke as being banned due to it’s immense danger, thus coal emmissions vs the few smokers left which is more harmful? Can’t say one is and the other isn’t, nor win a case with the state trying to say second hand smoke is that harmful and coal fired smoke isn’t.
    I get to smoke (paying a high price doing it) or forced to quit to protect both mine and the lives of others from smoke while your smoke kills us anyway-I think not. If I can pay the higher prices for tobacco, you can cut your profits to pay for capping emmissions. Believe me our profits where cut meeting federal/state regulations in the propane business for the sake of others, thus grow up and stop acting like a bunch of spoiled rotten babies.

    • Realist

      Its not a matter of money, its a matter of time. The EPA came out with this ridiculous rule in July with no advance notice. Luminant can’t install these additional (unneeded) pollution control devices with only 5 months notice.

      Next July when you are sitting at home in the dark without air conditioning because of this ridiculous regulation you can thank the EPA.

  • KissThis

    Really I don’t know where you have been, but I heard of this being a possibliity months ago since some states where putting up such a kick about cleaning up their acts. And it has been a few years since all those in the industry knew their high pollution days where numbered.
    But just as a cop out, I’m sure the EPA would give them a reasonable amount of time to get the devices in place if it took over 5 months.
    It won’t be the EPA’s fault if next year we don’t have AC, it will be the states and the providers fault. Now go eat a jar of peanut butter after you do away with regulations and reopen that Tx plant that tainted a few and tell me how bad regulations are. I’m sure you will run to regulations when a biker group or gang moves in the house next door and trashes up the place which is exactly why the EPA made the rule for states that only think of themselves.
    People in the state have been hit for polluting rivers which polluted others drinking water downstream, and they cleaned up their acts without having all the money this company has to clean up their own.

    • Realist

      I’ve been working in a job where I deal every day with OSHA, MSHA and EPA regulations and are very familiar with them unlike you, as shown by your posts. The proposed EPA cross state air pollution regulation DID not mention Texas. The EPA put Texas into the final regulation which was published in July of this year and goes into effect in January of 2012. That’s 5 months in case you can’t count that high.

      There is currently enough generation capacity in Texas to provide a sufficient amount of electricity. If the EPA forces 10 or 12% of it to go off line it WILL be the EPA’s fault- not the state’s or the providers’ fault.

      Also, the EPA doesn’t regulate food, thats the FDA so your stupid comment about peanut butter makes even less sense.

      Air pollution has dropped significantly over the past decade. The EPA is only making this rule because they are managed by Obama appointees who dislike big companies and hate companies that use fossil fuels.

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  • KissThis

    It was no shock to Texas to be thrown in at the last minute since they have been opposing regulating their pollution. It came as no shock to me or anyone else who has stayed abreast of what is happening. I may not work where this information is eaten daily, but I definitely do breath it daily and try to keep up with what is going on.
    Years ago there was a haze out my window even late morning, thus knowing it wasn’t fog I asked a policemen if they knew what it was-pollution from DFW area. On the weather satellite it showed a ring of clouds around this location when no clouds where in the area, thus that is how extensive the problem was. Most of the time air pollution is not something you can visibly see, it only becomes visible in extreme cases. That is what started my concern with Texas not taking care if its problem.
    I am well aware of what the EPA and FDA regulate, thus peanut butter was very relevant since regulations are what protect our lives. As you may be well aware of Texas is suppose to regulate and inspect food companies, thus this is yet another example of where they dropped the ball and harmed people. Food or air it makes no difference to Texas, their only concern is making a buck no matter who it harms.
    Again for the past 10+ years Texas knew air pollution was becoming a big concern and something the Feds would start regulating if they didn’t. Sure air pollution has dropped a lot because the Feds regulated vehicle emissions (not Texas) and as no surprise that left industries pollution still going and growing. I no more hate big companies or fossil fuels, but I do hate the fact people think they can make a buck at the expense of harming my health when it comes to food, water or air when if they spent a few more bucks it could reduce the health hazards. You will never make enough money to cover your health problems such companies make no matter if you work for them or not, and who in their right mind care about putting food on the table making a buck if that same buck is also killing/harming those they are feeding? So blame good caring people for the problem which in this regard is Obama and even people who don’t fully back him or anyone.

  • RussP

    What bothers me most about this article is that one company (Energy Fututre Holdings) is allowed to own and control the largest power generator (Luminant), the largest power distributor (oncor) and the largest power retailer (TXU). Pretty much allows them to do what they want yet the feds are worried about keeping AT&T from buying Sprint because they’re worried it will cost a little more for people to surf the web while driving their cars.

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