The owner of six coal-fired electric generating plants in Illinois, including the shuttered Crawford and Fisk stations in Chicago, is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy.
Ted Craver, chairman and chief executive officer at Edison International, the holding company for Edison Mission Energy, whose subsidiary is Midwest Generation, said EME does not expect to repay a $500 million debt due in June 2013 and will likely file for bankruptcy protection by year's end. The company also said there is no guarantee it will be able to pay $97 million of interest due on its bonds on November 15, or within a 30-day grace period.
Like other coal plant owners, the company has been hit hard by low natural gas prices that have cut into margins and lowered power prices overall.
"Despite great efforts and many successes by EME, the adverse power market trends have only deepened and EME's operating losses this year have increased significantly, and are expected to continue," Craver said.
In addition to Fisk and Crawford, which were shuttered in August, Midwest Generation owns and operates the Powerton (Pekin), Joliet, Waukegan and Will County (Romeoville) power generation plants.
Douglas McFarlan, spokesman for Midwest Generation, said the goal of any financial restructuring would be to "position our company for near-term stability and sustainable, long-term growth and success."
He added that the company would expect to operate normally while it restructures its finances.
"We are operationally healthy and believe that a financial restructuring, coupled with the existing strength of our employees and assets, will preserve our focus on safe, reliable operations, and position us to take advantage of future opportunities," he said.
At Sept. 30, the book value of Edison International's investment in EME was $1.24 billion.
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