AES property may be sold

Gwen Chamberlain
The AES power plant near Dresden, which has been shuttered for more than a year.

Yates County, Torrey, Dresden and Penn Yan Central School officials are closely watching developments at the shuttered AES coal-fired power plant near Dresden, which has been on the market for about a year after AES filed for re-organization under bankruptcy laws.

A real estate transaction has been recorded in the Yates County Clerk's office that indicates AES has transferred ownership of about 2 acres of the property to NYSEG, the former owner of the power plant, which was built in the 1930s.

That 2-acre parcel contains a substation owned by NYSEG and used in its transmission of electrical power.

While no other transactions have been finalized, Yates County legislators have agreed to seek advice from an attorney who specializes in laws related to utilities and taxes.

One of many questions for the local officials is will the PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreements be honored by AES? If not, the county stands to lose $119,490 in anticipated revenue for the 2013 budget while the town of Torrey could be shorted $67,690 and the Penn Yan School District could see over $200,000 in anticipated revenue evaporate.

County Treasurer Bonnie Percy said the Town of Torrey has yet to be paid the $25,000 for the property's 2012 fire district tax payment, and now the 2013 fire district payment is due. The Town of Torrey contracts with the Dresden Fire Department for fire protection.

Yates County will pay the overdue amount to Torrey, and will be responsible for recovering it and any penalties from the property owner.

The Chronicle-Express has contacted an out of state construction firm that has been identified through other sources as a potential buyer of the power plant. The president of that firm has said he can't discuss any possible purchase of the Greenidge plant property for "a couple of weeks," indicating a sale may be pending.

According to that company's website, the firm specializes in demolition and clean up of hazardous waste sites.

AES Corp. is an Arlington, Va.-based company that announced a corporate restructuring in November 2012.

Also in November, the corporation announced Third Quarter Adjusted Earnings Per Share increased $0.08 to $0.36 and Year-To-Date 2012 adjusted earnings per share up 12 percent over 2011.

"We continue to take important steps to better align the organization with our strategic goals. We recently announced a reorganization of the Company that will streamline how we work and decrease our company-wide overhead. As a result, we have increased our overhead cost savings target by $45 million to $145 million annually by 2014 from our starting point in 2011," said Andrés Gluski, AES President and Chief Executive Officer in a November press release.

"Regarding capital allocation, we have executed on what we laid out as our first year plan last November by repurchasing $390 million of our stock and paying down or authorizing prepayment of a total of $717 million in debt, largely with the proceeds from our focused asset sales. Next week, we will be paying our first quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share, the Company's first cash dividend since 1993."

AES Corp. owns businesses in 27 countries, including coal-fired plants in Hawaii, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Its 2011 global revenues were about $17 billion, according to the company's website.

Neither AES nor NYSEG responded to email and phone requests for comment.