Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Council approves town’s second electric feed

April 17, 2002

The Baldwin City Council took a step in improving the city's electricity problems at Monday's meeting.

In a 5-0 vote, the council approved an agreement with Kansas City Power and Light to provide a second electric feed to Baldwin.

"I think this project is a great thing for the citizens of Baldwin City," said Councilman Ken Wagner.

The feed, which will come from Ottawa, will initially act as a backup for the Gardner electric feed and then be used as a second source.

Under the agreement with KCPL, there will be an upgrade on Ottawa's transformer to free up additional space and the installation of a throw-over switch.

"If the Gardner feed loses its power, it switches the load from Gardner to Ottawa," City Administrator Larry Paine said of the throw-over switch. "Right now, it has to be done manually. But with the throw-over switch, we'd never be out more than 90 seconds."

Paine said a second feed was needed to provide the extra power to cover the town's growing population.

"Because of the way Baldwin has been growing, to meet the capacity of Baldwin's electrical needs, we needed to guarantee we'd have available space," he said.

"We're not buying power. We're not buying generation," he said. "This is basically building a highway. We can move goods and services up that highway once we have access to it."

Paine said KCPL currently allocates, but does not guarantee, 9 megawatts from the Gardner feed. The most Baldwin can produce for its customers is 12 megawatts.

"We are probably going to see a peak load of 9 megawatts this summer with the new growth," he said. "We've got to have that extra power. It's absolutely important we have that capability."

With the new Ottawa feed, Paine said there is a guarantee of a maximum distribution of 13 1/2 megawatts from either Gardner or Ottawa until Dec. 31, 2010. Then, until 2015, Ottawa will drop to 10 megawatts for 23 1/2 total capacity for the two feeds.

"It basically triples the capacity for Baldwin," he said.

The second feed will cost $850,000, which was built into the April 1 electricity bond issue.

"It will not show up in the rate schedule because at the end of the year, we are dropping a bond payment that expires," he said. "That $10,000 a month will get reallocated for the cost we are putting into it."

While a second feed is one way to solve some of the town's electricity problems, Paine said the city is continuing to work on future plans.

"We still have long-range planning to be doing to ensure our capabilities in the future," he said.

"But this makes the ability to plan steps that much easier," he said. "We know we have access instead of just hope."

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