Centrica adds to electricity generation capacity

Centrica plc today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the 240MW Barry power station in South Wales from AES Barry Limited and AES Barry Operations Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of AES Corporation. Pending completion in late July, the acquisition will boost Centrica’s total generation capacity to 2,174 MW, approximately 25 per cent of its peak day domestic and commercial electricity customer demand.

The gas fired power station will be acquired on a debt free basis for a payment of £39.7 million funded from existing group resources.

Centrica will take over responsibility for the operation and management of the combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, which employs thirty-one staff.

Barry entered commercial operation in 1998 and has operated in both baseload and flexible modes. The plant will provide electricity to match the typical demand shape of Centrica’s growing electricity customer base.

Today’s announcement follows Centrica’s acquisition from the administrative receivers of the Roosecote gas fired plant in May. Together with existing generation capacity at Brigg, Humber, King’s Lynn and Peterborough, Centrica has a portfolio of power plants that fits its strategy of increased long term stability and protection against electricity price fluctuations and spikes.

The output from these power stations, at current running profiles, together with the previously announced Spalding tolling agreement and the fixed price element of the British Energy contract, will secure about 60 per cent of Centrica’s projected annual supply commitments by 2005. Further fixed priced power procurement contracts, and the option to increase significantly output from the generation plants, ensure that Centrica’s potential exposure to rising wholesale prices is low.

Sir Roy Gardner, Chief Executive of Centrica, said: "Today’s acquisition of Barry adds to our modern gas fired power stations acquired at advantaged prices. With more than six million electricity customers, we are the number one supplier to the UK domestic market and we now have a leading generation portfolio to cement our position."