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Big Sky owner files for bankruptcy protection

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 2:41 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 3:21 p.m. CDT

OHIO — Edison Mission Energy, the owner of the Big Sky wind farm north of Ohio, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago.

However, that bankruptcy action does not include Edison Mission Energy’s wind farm projects, according to EME spokesperson Susan Olavarria.

“Our filing does not include our wind projects, and we continue to operate all our 42 generating facilities across the country, including our Illinois coal plants,” Olavarria said late Wednesday afternoon.

Edison Mission Energy has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Edison International. According to the Edison International website, Edison Mission Energy (EME) was de-consolidated from Edison International (EIX) as of Monday. EIX has reached an agreement with EME and a majority of its noteholders, with that agreement transitioning EIX’s ownership to EME’s creditors upon approval of a reorganization plan by the federal bankruptcy court.

According to court papers filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, Edison Mission Energy faced heavy debts, weak power prices, and high fuel costs have threatened its ability to stay competitive.

In a statement issued by EME President Pedro Pizarro, Monday’s action is a step in the right direction for the company’s future.

“This is an important first step in the process to reduce our debt, enhance our liquidity profile and position EME for continued operation and future success while preserving our ability to generate power safely and reliably at our electric facilities across the country,” Pizarro said.

Before the news of the bankruptcy was confirmed Monday, Bureau County Board Chairman Dale Anderson said he had heard about the bankruptcy possibility but did not see the bankruptcy as directly affecting Bureau County. He thinks the Big Sky wind farm will continue to operate. Bankruptcy actions are often about reorganizing, refinancing or getting new owners, the board chairman said.

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