Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. has signed a letter of intent to buy electricity from a company that is planning to build a power plant in Baltimore County or Harford County within the next 10 years.
The agreement with AES Corp. of Arlington, Va. is part of a continuing trend of utility companies to buy power from private, unregulated firms rather than build new plants of their own. "It's the best price for the customers. That is why we are doing it," said BG&E spokesman Arthur J. Slusark.
AES plans to build a 300-megawatt, coal-fired plant sometime around 1997 or later, Slusark said. The facility would be owned by AES and the cost of the power would be passed on to BG&E customers, he said.
The Baltimore utility decided to buy the power rather than build another plant because AES could build the plant at a lower price, Slusark said. However, this does not preclude BG&E from building more plants, he said. "It's on a case by case basis."
In fact, BG&E is currently opposing a proposal by Cogen Technologies of Houston to build a power plant in Curtis Bay on the basis that the electricity would cost customers more, Slusark said.
BG&E has plans to build four 150-megawatt combustion turbines at its Perryman site in Harford County to provide power during peak demands.
Those generators would be able to run on either natural gas or oil. The letter of intent with AES was signed last Oct. 31 and a definitive contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year. The term of the contract has not been determined, Slusark said.
While BG&E generates most of its own electricity, it already buys some power from the BRESCO plant, the city's trash-burning operation, and from Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, according to Slusark.