Archive for Wednesday, June 28, 2000

More electrical upgrades on the horizon

June 28, 2000

The city is considering options for providing additional power to Baldwin City because of anticipated, growth-related demands.

City utility director Terry McKinney said the KCPL line from Gardner that brings electricity to Baldwin City will not be able to meet energy demands for the city by 2003.

The solution? A new 161,000-volt line to replace the current 34,500 volt line, according to KCPL and city officials.

"KCPL agrees something will have to be done in the next two years," McKinney said. "They also agree the best way to supply adequate amounts of energy to the city is to build a new line from Gardner to Baldwin City."

The new line, expected to cost between $2.4 and $2.8 million, would require two new substations in Baldwin City one to step down the voltage from 161,000 volts to 34,500 volts and one to step the voltage down from 34,500 to 12,470 volts. McKinney said KCPL would pay for the 161,000 to 34,500 volt substation, about $1.7 million. Baldwin would be responsible for the other substation, anticipated to cost about $1 million.

KCPL also wants the city to participate in the cost of the new line coming from Gardner to Baldwin City.

"We told them that other areas would benefit from this new line," McKinney said.

A July 6 meeting between the city and KCPL is planned to discuss more details.

Up and running

In the meantime, an upgrade to the city's electrical distribution system has been completed.

MidPlains Power completed an electrical upgrade from 2,400 volts to 12,470 volts to the northeast part of town on June 16. Northwest Baldwin received the same upgrade last year.

McKinney said the completed upgrade alleviates low voltage problems and will reduce community-wide power outages. Also helping to aleviate the problems is the Newton Street substation which receives the power coming into the city and distributes it to different areas of the city through energy feeders.

And with the purchase of 2-3 megawatts of power from the Grand River Dam Authority in Oklahoma for the next 10 years, the city shouldn't have any problems meeting the needs of its customer.

So far this summer, the peak load of the city has been 6,254 kilowatts. With power from the Grand River Dam Authority, the Board of Public Utilities and the city's generating plant, the city can handle a load of up to 10 megawatts.

"We should be in pretty good shape for this summer," said McKinney. "But if transmission lines coming into the city go down or something unexpected happens we have purchased some energy at economical prices so that what happened last year won't happen this summer."

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