RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 26, 2004) -- Progress Energy will conduct three periods of environmental studies along Lake Tillery, Blewett Falls Lake and the Pee Dee River (downstream of the dams) from Nov. 2-18 and Dec. 1-9, 2004, and Jan. 4-15, 2005.
The company cancelled similar studies planned for September due to larger than normal rainfalls associated with Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.
These studies are part of ongoing work related to relicensing Progress Energy's Blewett and Tillery hydroelectric facilities. As part of the license renewal process with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Progress Energy has conducted extensive environmental studies and water flow modeling throughout 2004. The studies involve releasing water from the lakes to evaluate river flow patterns downstream of the power plants and potential effects on the plants, fish, wildlife and the general ecology of the lake and river system.
During each study period, water levels in the lakes will fluctuate, and may drop 5 to 8 feet below normal operating levels for a few days. Water flows downriver of each plant may also be noticeably impacted. These changes may be affected by rainfall or other inflows to the river and lakes. Water levels should return to normal within a few days after the study period.
Environmental researchers will be on the river and lakes before and after the water is released.
Progress Energy encourages people who have boats docked in the lakes to make appropriate arrangements to handle the expected lake level fluctuations.
All dates are subject to change depending upon the prevailing weather patterns, the amount of precipitation and lake inflow.
Progress Energy has been working closely over the past year with state and federal natural resource agencies, as well as environmental organizations and other interested parties, to develop a series of studies that will investigate the interaction of power plant operations and the environment.
For more information about water levels at Blewett Falls Lake and Lake Tillery please call 1-800-899-4435 or visit the Progress Energy Web site at www.progress-energy.com/hydro.
"We greatly appreciate the patience of local residents and the people who use the lakes and the Pee Dee River as we complete these studies," said Phil Lucas, project manager for Progress Energy's hydro relicensing efforts. "We continue to work hard to ensure that everyone affected has good information about the status of the river and the lakes."
The original license for the Tillery and Blewett plants, issued in 1958, will expire in 2008. The planned environmental studies are necessary to evaluate the effects of power plant operations on aquatic life in the lake and river. Results of these studies will be filed with the FERC when Progress Energy submits its application for license renewal in April 2006.
Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., is a Fortune 250 diversified energy company with more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity and $9 billion in annual revenues. The company's holdings include two electric utilities serving approximately 2.9 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Progress Energy also includes nonregulated operations covering competitive generation, energy marketing, natural gas production, fuel extraction, rail services and broadband capacity. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company's Web site at http://www.progress-energy.com.
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