LUB Moves Budget Forward, Recognizes Service of Howard Hobbs

Lamar Light and Power Turbines

Lamar Light and Power Turbines

The Lamar Utilities Board is continuing their search for a new board member, a replacement for Howard Hobbs who recently resigned due to health matters. Hobbs became a board in September, 2013.  Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, told the board three new applications for the position have been received and the board will consider two additional candidates who applied last month for the seat vacated by Rick Beard when he moved out of state.  That position was filled by Pat Leonard.  Once board members have selected a candidate that person’s application is forwarded to the Lamar City Council for review.

Hourieh explained that the 2017 budget focuses primarily on operations since the settlement of Case #45 with ARPA last year. This year’s budget deals with electric retail rates consisting primarily of transmission and distribution activities.  Revenues are expected to be in excess of $15.5M with $14.4M from retail electric sales and the balance from wind production turbines.  Operating expenses for the year are estimated at $13.2M and that includes $9.4M for power supply.

Other costs factored into next year’s budget are:

$1,075,405 for personnel costs
$1,562,981 for repairs and maintenance
$392,176 for the Wind Turbine Bond payment
$1,610,223 for the City of Lamar’s Charter Appropriations Payment
$861,400 for capital outlays which will be used for contingency funding and parts and repairs.

The budget was presented to the Lamar City Council on October 10th for review and the full budget is expected to be approved in November.  Hourieh explained that this year’s budget differs from 2016 because of the legal separation from ARPA regarding the Case #45 lawsuit over the Lamar Repowering Project.  Last year’s budget served two different operations; Operations and Project.  Operations covered the revenue requirements from electric retail sales for transmission and distribution, while Project covered the Lamar Repowering Project where expenses were funded through ARPA.

While delivering the monthly systems operating report, Hourieh noted that the wind turbine crew has begun the annual maintenance checks for all the turbines. The Springfield unit, which outperforms all the others, had been off line for two months for repairs to replace a failed transformer.  “That location is the best site for wind conditions found in the entire state,” he explained.  Some of the regular maintenance includes: cleaning, visual inspection, greasing, changing generator brushes, generator alignment and taking and testing oil samples.  He said the checks usually take a week to complete.

By Russ Baldwin




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