SPSA gets competing offer to buy

Published 10:17 pm Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New York-based ReEnergy Holdings, LLC now has some competition for its offer to purchase the Southeastern Public Service Authority.

Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waste Management, submitted a proposal to buy the troubled waste disposal system as part of a process that was started when ReEnergy submitted an unsolicited bid last year.

Though Wheelabrator is not releasing the details of its proposal until it is posted on the SPSA Web site, the company did say it will uphold all current member community agreements and provide a flexible time schedule for communities who wish to leave the authority.

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Wheelabrator was tentatively selected to purchase the authority’s waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth last month, being declared the winner among four companies that submitted bids for the facility.

“We’re very committed to this project,” said Mark Schwartz, senior manager for business development for Wheelabrator. “We hope to bring decades and decades of service to the region.”

Schwartz said the company submitted the proposal to protect the enormous investment of time and money it has put into the bid for the waste-to-energy plant.

“What would happen to Wheelabrator if we didn’t put a proposal in?” Schwartz said. “What would happen to Wheelabrator after all that time, thousands of man hours, if they chose (another company)?”

Schwartz said Wheelabrator, if it succeeds in purchasing the authority, will undertake a $23 million improvement program to enhance critical elements of the system, and save its members $52 million by taking trash to out-of-area landfills owned by Waste Management, therefore avoiding the development of an additional cell at the Suffolk landfill.

“The effort to sell the waste-to-energy facilities has been a long, thorough process and there is no benefit to SPSA in delaying this decision any further,” says a press release issued Tuesday. The release also noted an all-asset sale would take many months, delaying the sale of the waste-to-energy plant and therefore failing to address SPSA’s immediate financial needs.