Federal Power:

Outages Reduce the Reliability of Hydroelectric Power Plants in the Southeast

T-RCED-96-180: Published: Jul 25, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 1996.

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GAO discussed the maintenance and repair of hydroelectric powerplants operated by the Army Corps of Engineers in the Southeast, focusing on the extent to which: (1) the power plants are experiencing outages; and (2) planning and budgeting processes allow the Corps to perform timely and effective repairs and rehabilitation of its hydroelectric assets. GAO noted that: (1) due to lengthy outages, the plants' availability to generate power dropped from 95.4 percent to 87.2 percent and have lost about $13 million since fiscal year (FY) 1986; (2) some of the plants' units are aging, need repair or replacement, were poorly designed, were not properly installed, and have been adversely affected by the way they have been operated; (3) the need to spend more to maintain and repair the aging hydroelectric power plants will compete with the need to maintain and repair other Corps facilities; (4) the Corps' emphasis on routine, ongoing maintenance and repair work and the lengthy justification process for extensive work delays long-term repairs; and (5) the Corps is addressing the plants' planning and budgeting needs.

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