Three Mile Island Alert Newsletter, (March, 2015)

March 2015

PUC Approves PPL Spinoff, Epstein Seeks Shareholder Vote

On March 11, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the transfer of PPL Electric Utility Corporation’s indirect ownership interests in PPL Interstate Energy Company (PPL IEC) to a new entity called Talen Energy Corporation (Talen Energy). The approval also authorized the acquisition of Riverstone Holdings LLC of an indirect 35 percent ownership interest in Talen Energy.

What all that means is that PPL shareholders will own 65% of a new company, Talen Energy, which on its first day of operation will be one of the nation’s largest independent power producers and one of America’s biggest companies. The other 35% will be held by Riverstone, a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in the energy and power sectors.

PPL, which for years was our locally owned and operated neighborhood utility, is now operating internationally and keeping company with venture capitalists like Riverstone, an enterprise with historic roots in companies like Enron and Goldman Sachs.

Interestingly, this is all taking place without the action being put to a vote of PPL shareholders. One of them, TMI Alert Chair Eric Epstein, says the transaction should be reviewed by shareholders. He requested that the company provide information to shareholders relating to a vote in materials circulated prior to PPL’s May 20 annual meeting. The company and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) opposed the request, but Epstein will appeal.

Related to this, at the NRC, PPL requested a license transfer for the Susquehanna nuclear plant in Berwick, which TMI Alert and PPL retiree Douglas Ritter, who lives 3.25miles from the plant, have opposed. TMIA and
Ritter raised concerns regarding Talen’s ability to properly operate and maintain the plant and provide funds to ensure its proper decommissioning. Epstein noted that the NRC downgraded PPL’s license status because of recent unexpected shutdowns at Susquehanna and noted, “It shouldn’t be about capitalization, but operating a plant efficiently, safely, and reliably.”

 

Your TMIA 2015 Dues Are Due

 

Vigil Set for 36th Anniversary

Like every March 28th, safe energy activists will gather this year at the north gate of Three Mile Island at 3:15 a.m. to commemorate the 36th anniversary of the beginning of the nuclear accident. According to vigil organizer Gene Stilp, the group will be there for approximately one hour. Traditionally, the group meets for breakfast afterward.

 

Stilp Retires, sort of...

Though he’ll be at the annual vigil at TMI’s north gate, political activist Gene Stilp announced in February his retirement from pro- bono activism. His eye on the powers that be will be missed, as will his creative, thorn-in-the- side tactics. For example, when the Marcellus Shale Coalition staged a march last May to rally on the Capitol steps, Gene jumped in front of the march with a banner of his own reading:
“TAX THE FRACKERS BEHIND ME.”

Download Newsletter