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MMWEC retires bonds for portion of its interests in nuclear plants


From the July 31, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published July 31, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
The Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) recently retired the bonds—essentially, burned the mortgage—associated with a portion of its ownership interests in the Seabrook Station and Millstone Unit 3 nuclear power plants. 

"This is an important milestone for the MMWEC financing program and for the MMWEC project participant municipal utilities," said MMWEC Chief Executive Officer Ronald C. DeCurzio. "Retirement of these bonds gets us closer to debt-free ownership of Seabrook and Millstone 3, which are important parts of the MMWEC power supply." 

On July 1, MMWEC made the final payments required to retire the bonds issued for its Nuclear Mix No. 1 Power Supply Project, which represents a 19.6-megawatt ownership interest in Millstone Unit 3 and a 2-megawatt ownership interest in Seabrook Station. Via Nuclear Mix No. 1 and four other power supply projects, MMWEC owns 4.8 percent of Millstone Unit 3 and 11.59 percent of Seabrook Station. A total of $167.1 million in MMWEC debt associated with these other power supply projects remains outstanding but is scheduled for retirement by 2019, at which point all of MMWEC’s power supply projects will be debt-free, the joint action agency said. 

"We’re seeing the successful culmination of a power supply and financing program that was conceived 40 years ago to benefit the non-profit, consumer-owned municipal utilities of Massachusetts," DeCurzio said. "Beyond the immediate credit and financial benefits of debt retirement, this occasion demonstrates that the system established by Massachusetts legislators to finance energy facilities is working extremely well," he said. 

MMWEC has issued more than $4.7 billion in bonds since 1976 to finance and refinance its 735-megawatt ownership interests in several New England electric generating facilities, including Seabrook Station, Millstone 3, the Stony Brook power plant in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and Wyman Unit 4 in Yarmouth, Maine. All of the debt associated with the Stony Brook and Wyman Unit 4 plants was retired in 2008, the joint action agency said.

Seabrook Station and Millstone 3 are expected to operate until at least 2045, long after the debt for these plants is retired, MMWEC said. In addition, MMWEC recently completed a program that extended the life of key Stony Brook components until at least 2030 without issuing additional debt. 
 

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Vice President, Integrated Media and Communications
Meena Dayak
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Editorial Director
Robert Varela
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