That there are 300 contractors performing what’s termed as routine maintenance at Luminant’s Sandow Power Plant Units 4 and 5 this spring is good news on a couple of levels, one obvious and one a bit more subtle.
On the obvious side, the temporary workers are providing a temporary, much welcome, boost in Rockdale’s economy.
They’ve got to stay somewhere, eat somewhere and shop somewhere. Local businesses are certainly beneficiaries of those activities.
The more subtle effect is simply that it’s good to see Luminant proceeding with “business as usual” at Sandow even though a bankruptcy filing of its parent company, Energy Future Holdings (EFH) is widely expected, perhaps as soon as April.
It’s a complex situation involving the multi-billion dollar creation of EFH, an endeavor, according to business analysts, that miscalculated the intervening prices of natural gas and left the company billions of dollars in debt.
In our area, of course, the concern is over continued operation of the Sandow Units. It doesn’t appear to us “non-big business types” the company would perform such maintenance on something they might shut down in a bankruptcy scenario.
And what kind of business would it make to close any kind of power generating facility in Texas, with its ballooning energy needs. Right?
Sounds logical. Probably is. But, as Rockdale has learned, painfully, within the past several years you can never tell with big business.
We’re going to be keeping a close eye on things when some kind of inevitable restructuring takes place.—M.B.