Sierra Pacific to auction off its power plants

Sierra Pacific Resources is auctioning off $1 billion worth of Nevada electric generation plants, but you won't be able to pick them up on eBay.

Prospective purchasers will be investigated for ability to pay for and operate the eight plants, Sierra Pacific spokesmen said Friday.

Consultants will look at the financial operations of bidders to be certain there are sufficient resources to pay for and operate the plants.

And a successful purchaser would have to have strong experience in the electric production industry, said spokesman Charles Fletcher.

Karl Walquist, another Sierra Pacific spokesman, said the book value of all the generating plants is just under $1 billion.

"Of course, we believe that the market is such that we hope to get more than that," Walquist said.

The plants belong to Sierra Pacific Resource's two wholly owned subsidiaries, Sierra Pacific Power Co. , which operates in Northern Nevada and California, and Southern Nevada-based Nevada Power Co.

Generating plants to be sold in Northern Nevada are the Valmy, Fort Churchill, Tracy and Pinon Pines facilities. In Southern Nevada, the Clark, Sunrise, Reid Gardner and Harry Allen facilities are on the auction list. The facilities are being offered in seven groups that Sierra Pacific calls asset bundles.

Sierra Pacific Resources is divesting itself of generation facilities as part of the ongoing transformation of the electrical power industry in Nevada from state-regulated monopolies to a deregulated competitive system. Sierra Pacific will retain its transmission lines and function as an electrical transmission and distribution company, Walquist said.

Preliminary information about the facilities and the auction process was sent this week to about 600 potential bidders. Sierra Pacific Resources intend to complete the sale and transfer of the generation facilities by early 2001.


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