IdleAire to restart 23 locations

Jill Dunn | May 18, 2010

Two months after new investors indicated they intended to restart IdleAire, the truck shore power provider has announced it soon will reopen 23 locations.

The locations scheduled to restart include independent truck stops, Pilot Travel Centers, All American Travel Plazas and franchise-operated locations at TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers. Five of the planned locations would be in Texas and five more in Pennsylvania.

A manager for one store where IdleAire it is scheduled to restart, Sapp Bros. of Salt Lake City, said she was told May 17 her location would have electrification available in four weeks.

Thomas O’Brien, who heads TravelCenters of America, said in a May 10 conference call with stock analysts that he expected IdleAire equipment to eventually be removed from TA locations.
“So while we may find an adaptive re-use for their product, unfortunately, in our view, that product not only may have a limited life, but is very expensive to run as currently configured,” O’Brien said. “So while it’s not 100 percent for sure that equipment will be removed and not adapted, that is where we’re headed.”

Tennessee-based IdleAire, the major provider of shore power at truck stops, closed Jan. 29 after its owners the previous 18 months did not find a buyer. They had acquired the company after it declared in May 2008 Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which converted to Chapter 7 a year later.

When it closed, IdleAire was owned by six investment management companies working together as IdleAire Acquisition Co. LLC with the intent to sell it. They released a statement that said decreased demand for services from the recession and a mild winter were among the challenges they had faced in operating the business.

The operation had served 150,000 truckers and more than 1,000 fleets using its 131 locations in 34 states.

When IdleAire closed, few truck stop electrification options were left. Shorepower, formerly Shurepower, offers services in seven locations in Washington, Oregon and North Carolina, with an eighth location expected soon.

Recent federal grant money is funding more shore power locations at truck stops and elsewhere.

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