Archive for Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Baldwin sets records in utility usage

August 27, 2003

Baldwin broke records last week, but they are not necessarily the kind the city should strive to set.

Usage of both electricity and water peaked at all-time highs, and Utility Director Terry McKinney said Baldwin can expect to see some of the same numbers this week.

The city experienced a record load of 9,521 kilowatts at 5 p.m. Thursday. McKinney said that surpassed the little more than 9,000 kilowatt load the city had the week before, and well above the then record-setting 8,285 kilowatt load the city experienced in the summer of 2000.

"Since I started working here, Thursday was the first time we ever had all four engines running for power," he said.

On Thursday, the city was curtailed from noon to 7 p.m. The power plant was required to generate 7.5 megawatts of electricity to keep up with the demand and cover the lack of energy Baldwin normally receives from Kansas City Power and Light, BPU and Grand River Dam Authority.

McKinney said BPU de-rated Baldwin's energy from 2.5 megawatts to 2.0 because the Missouri River is currently at such a low level.

"They said it would stay that way until we get rain and the river goes up," he said.

GRDA, which usually supplies 5 megawatts of energy, curtailed the city because of overloaded lines, he said.

"So we had to generate power," he said.

At 7 p.m., KCPL and GRDA ended their curtailments to the city.

McKinney said he expects to see the same thing this week.

"There's a high probability we'll generate through Thursday," he said. "We're ready for it this week again."

McKinney said there had also been a significant increase in water usage last week.

"The average last week was 1.3 million gallons of usage per day," he said. "Back in 2000, the peak was 980,000 gallons of water per day."

He said the city has to fill the 750,000-gallon water tower twice a day to keep up with the demand. But he said the city has not had to ask residents to conserve water yet.

"We get our water out of Clinton Lake. It was full this spring," he said. "So we haven't had to ask people to conserve."

But he said if the temperatures remain high and the drought continues, required conservation could be a possibility.

Baldwin, McKinney said, is seeing high demand for electricity and water because of a couple of reasons.

"Two factors caused the high load," he said. "It's got to be a combination of growth and heat.

"The water usage can be contributed a great deal to the growth and heat and having higher water pressure."

He said there are ways residents can help ease demand and cut back on their utility bills including setting the thermostat a few degrees higher and not turning the faucets on as high when taking a shower or running the sprinklers.

McKinney said the city is planning for much of the same demand this week that Baldwin had last week, at least until the temperature gets a little cooler.

"But we're keeping up," he said.

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