Duke at Hanging Rock sold

Published 1:58 pm Tuesday, August 26, 2014

HANGING ROCK — The Duke Energy plant at Hanging Rock is among the assets to be bought by a Houston-based natural gas clearinghouse whose subsidiaries produce and sell electric energy.

Most economic leaders in the area, however, do not expect much, if any, change locally from the sale.

On Friday Dynegy Inc. began the process of acquiring ownership of assets of Duke Energy and EquiPower Resources Corp and Brayton Point Holdings. Sale price for Duke is $2.8 billion. Duke assets are with the following plants: Killen at Wrightsville, Stuart at Aberdeen, Conesville, Miami Fort at North Bend, Zimmer at Moscow, Hanging Rock, Washington at Beverly, Fayette at Masontown, Pa., Lee at Wayne County, N.C., and Dicks Creek at Middletown.

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“Duke has sometimes expressed an interest to sell that plant,” Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, said. “I do not see anything negative (about the sale).”

The Duke plant at Hanging Rock opened in June 2003 and has 24 employees. None of them work under a union contract. It is a 1,240 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant.

“Duke has been an excellent neighbor and hopefully Dynegy will continue,” Bill Dickens, a member of the now defunct Ironton Port Authority, said. “Duke has done a lot for the area and hopefully Dynegy will be cut from the same cloth.”

Dynegy has made no immediate announcements about any possible layoffs from the sale.

“One of the reasons these assets were attractive to us, they are run well today,” Katy Sullivan, senior director of public relations at Dynegy, said. “They have the right expertise and we will honor the labor agreements. Management will continue to be needed.”

Ironton and Greenup, Ky.-based businessman Rob Slagel considers both Dynegy and Duke as customers. Overall the sale will have little major effect on the area in general but could mean some transfers for individual employees, he said.

“Dynegy is a well-known, solid, well-thought-out utility,” Slagel said. “I know there is a little bit of unrest anytime there is a merger. People worry about layoffs. I know Duke has operations all over the U.S. and especially in the Carolinas. It may lead to some opportunities for new employment in different parts of the country or at this plant.”

Dynegy anticipates the sale to be final by the end of this year or at the beginning of 2015, Sullivan said.