Archive for Wednesday, February 21, 2001

More on electricity

February 21, 2001

I want to thank the mayor for taking the time to write a lengthy summary of the current conditions of our electric operations. The knowledge and understanding of this complex issue is vital to us as citizens, taxpayers and ratepayers of Baldwin City.

As a nation, we are experiencing, on a daily basis, the impact of the "transition to higher energy costs." Gasoline and diesel prices vary radically, natural gas is off the chart, and electricity cost, traditionally the best buy on the market, will be a major factor in every household, business, school and government budget. The "energy crisis" evolving now and into our immediate future will make Y2K pale in comparison. Our city must prepare for this eventuality. At present, we are in an extremely vulnerable position.

Our mayor has reported that our "old plant" saved the city a "million dollars" during the Nearman plant failure. The flip side of that story is that the council has factored the "old plant" into the equation to supply energy to our city. In the event that the "old plant" were to fail in a period of high demand, we would be right back out there buying power off the grid for that same "million dollars." Our mayor has also disclosed that we are exploring the possibilities of KP&L or KCP&L being an exclusive supplier of energy to our city. KCP&L would be interested in talking to us when our distribution upgrades are complete and the "old plant" is dismantled (what do they know that we don't?) What a shame our $2 million distribution upgrade is a little over half complete and the "old plant" upgrade is currently $1.2 million with more to come. KP&L, on the other hand, would need to install four miles of transmission line at a cost of $120,000 per mile plus easement acquisition.

That $500,000 investment:

1) Would supply the city with reliable energy at a lower "fixed" cost and be backed up by 100 times the generation capacity of the 4.6 megawatts of our "old plant."

2) Would insure enough line size into our growing community to absorb additional demands of the future.

3) Most Importantly "would insure our city against the exposure of being forced to buy off the grid for potentially millions of dollars that as consumers of the Baldwin City Electric Utility, we cannot afford." The days of the "nostalgic dependency" of our "old plant" are over.

Michael C. Green
Mayoral candidate
Baldwin City

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