News Release
July 26, 1999

DUKE POWER’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM A NATIONAL LEADER

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Power’s nuclear fuel costs per kilowatt-hour are the best in the country, according to data collected from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) records.

Of the 36 systems allowing their 1998 fuel cost data to be disclosed, Duke Power’s fuel costs were lowest, averaging .436 cents per kilowatt-hour across all three of the nuclear stations the company operates. The information appears in the July 12th issue of Nuclear Fuel, a McGraw-Hill publication.

According to Kenneth S. Canady, manager of nuclear engineering, Duke’s fuel costs were $45.7 million lower than a comparably sized U.S. nuclear system performing at the median in 1998. The median fuel cost for last year was .521 cents per kilowatt-hour. Canady attributed the stations’ performance to a combination of factors, including good plant operations, efficient cycle designs and effective fuel contracting.

Individually, Catawba Nuclear Station ranked first nationally at .426 cents per kilowatt-hour, Oconee Nuclear Station second at .434 cents per kilowatt-hour, and McGuire Nuclear Station fifth at .446 cents per kilowatt-hour, of the 56 plants generating power in 1998 and disclosing cost data.

Michael S. Tuckman, executive vice president of nuclear generation for Duke Power, said the company’s stellar performance is part of an overall effort to keep costs at a minimum. "It is our responsibility to our shareholders and customers to operate our plants in the safest, most efficient manner possible, providing the best value for their dollar," he said.

Duke Power also performed well in total production costs per kilowatt-hour in 1998, placing two of its units in the top 10 nationally.

McGuire was third and Catawba was tenth, according to reports filed with FERC and the Department of Energy and compiled by industry publication Nucleonics Week. The report is based on operating cost data filed by 86 percent of the country’s nuclear plants, the newsletter stated.

McGuire was one of only five nuclear stations nationwide to produce electricity for less than 1.3 cents per kilowatt-hour last year, coming in at 1.231 cents per kilowatt-hour. It was the station’s best year ever. Catawba produced electricity at a rate of 1.406 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Oconee’s rate was 1.823 cents per kilowatt-hour, but the station had two refueling outages last year while the other two stations had one each.

"Our stations have enjoyed solid performances, bolstered by well-planned refueling outages and the conscientious efforts of our workforce," Tuckman said.

McGuire Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Norman, in Huntersville, N.C. Each of its units can generate electricity at a rate of 1,100 megawatts. McGuire unit 1 began commercial operation in 1981, unit 2 in 1984.

Oconee Nuclear Station is a three-unit power plant located on Lake Keowee, near Seneca, S.C. Each of its units can generate electricity at the rate of 847 megawatts. Oconee unit 1 began commercial operation in 1973, units 2 and 3 in 1974.

Catawba Nuclear Station is a two-unit power plant located on Lake Wylie in York County, S.C. Each of its units can generate electricity at a rate of 1,129 megawatts. Catawba unit 1 began commercial operation in 1985, unit 2 in 1986. The station is jointly owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, Saluda River Electric Cooperative Inc, and Duke Power.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to nearly two million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system capability is 19,252 megawatts.

Duke Energy (NYSE-DUK) is a global energy company with more than $26 billion in assets. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., the company reaches into more than 50 countries, producing energy, transporting energy, marketing energy and providing energy services. In the United States, Duke Energy companies provide electric service in North Carolina and South Carolina; operate interstate pipelines that deliver natural gas to various regions of the country; and are leading marketers of electricity, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com

Contact: Tom Shiel
Phone: (704) 373-6396
24 Hour Phone: (704) 382-8333
Email: tpshiel@duke-energy.com