by Edith Cody-Rice
On Monday, June 25, the Mississippi River Power Corporation (MRPC) held its annual General Meeting.The MRPC has been busy this year. In highlighting its activities on its powerpoint presentation ( Download Mississippi River Power Corporation AGM 2012), General Manager Scott Newton stated that the Brian G. Gallagher Generating Station is a successful venture that will meet the expectations of the board of directors. In its first year of operation, the generating station made $50,000 over its projected revenue of 2.7 million dollars.
The Mississippi Power Corporation is 100% owned by the town of Mississippi Mills. Its board of directors consists of Chairman Des Houston, Paul Virgin, John Fraser, Mississippi Mills Mayor John Levi and Bill Chapman
In its first year of operation, the power plant
- installed a heating/cooling exchange system, finalized a deficiency list within the one year warranty period that ended May 2011, started preliminary work on a bywash and Mill Fall Dam repairs. This dam, made of concrete has been in position since 1945 and is in urgent neect of repairs. The frst order of business was to get ownership fo the dam as there is no clear title and no one seems to want it;
- has held discussions with the Ministry of Natural Resources concerning trhe American eel, once present in teh Mississippi River is significant numbers. It has been disappearing and one of the possible causes is the hydroelectric dams on the river;
- agreed on a cost sharing arrangement with Ottawa River Power;
- signed a lease with the Town of Mississippi Mills to take over responsiblity for the Geoheritage park near the power station.;
- Completed an operation and maintenance manual;
- is moving towards more signage around the power plant, which is obtrusive but which is now recommended and will soon be required by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR);
- negotiated a change in the loan agreement with Infrastructure Ontario to make monthly rather than semi-annual payments, a change that will save approximately $20,000 in interest costs yearly.
The question of the signage is unfortunate for the aesthetics of the falls at Almonte . The MNR is recommending signed 8 feet wide by four feet wide. the minimu sign will be 28 inches high by 44 inches wide. One will be placed at both the upper and lower ends of the falls.
The Geoheritage Park
The MRPC has a five year plan to improve the Geoheritage Park. At the moment, the park is occupied by the Town of Mississippi Mills which is dealing with a sewer system issue, however, the MRPC plans to renovate the public washrooms this year.Eventually, it will improve landscaping and amenities in the park as budget permits.
The Penstock Issue
Newton stated that on April 13, the unity of unit #2 was limited to 50% of normal power generation. On June 11, water was removed from the penstock and examination revealed that 60% of the penstock was damaged (see theMillstone story ). A possible rupture in a seam of the steel liner to the penstock had allowed water to flow underneath it and the steel was folded up like a piece of cardboard. The units were still able to generate 50% of normal power but on June 15, the decision was taken to close down both units to avoid any further damage. The concrete base of the penstock is intact and one possible solution is to simply remove the steel and rely on a concrete penstock. Repairs may be able to be made without ripping up the river bottom, a major expense.
Mississippi Mills taxpayers will be happy to know that the generating station is insured for damaged AND loss of revenue.