LUB Holds In-Person Monthly Meeting, Will Work with Delinquent Accounts


Lamar Light and Power Turbines


The Lamar Utility Board held an in-person meeting on Tuesday, May 26th but restricted attendance to ten persons in order to maintain social distancing protocols.

Light Plant employees have been adhering to the “Stay at Home” and “Safer at Home” orders from the state and as of March 26th, shifts were modified to five-hour days although the regular, full-time schedule was re-enacted as of May 27th.  Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, explained that in-person access to the main plant office had been restricted and daily temperatures were taken of employees as a safety precaution to protect them and the public from the COVID virus. Per Governor Polis’s orders, all utility disconnects will remain suspended until Saturday, May 30th and crew operations will return to normal. Hourieh noted that as many as 200 customers are behind on payments, an increase since the suspension was put into effect. He estimated that translates, roughly, to $63,000 in arrears while end-of-year amounts have generally been around $50,000 for uncollected accounts. Hourieh told the board that, if a customer showed good intent, the Light Plant would work with that account.

“On the 30th, we will send out disconnect notices as we always have, but this time we’ll work with the customer and this time instead of six months, we’ll go a year. If that’s okay with the board to work out a payment plan.” Lisa Denman, LUB accountant, explained that the notice will alert the customer to the disconnect on June 12th, but the plant won’t take action on that until June 24th. She added the plant will urge delinquent customers to contact Energy Outreach through the local social services agency in Lamar for assistance with their payments.

The light plant has discussed plans to upgrade protective relays and switch gear which has been in use since the 1960s and is aging out, making replacement parts difficult to obtain. The switchgear systems provide power to the central section of Lamar which includes downtown, east, southeast, northside and the Dragon factory’s main circuit. Plans call for retrofitting 3 to 4 breakers per year during low electric use periods, in the spring and fall. Customers should not experience any power interruptions during the service period. The semi-annual maintenance and inspection program will be conducted on all five wind turbines with each shut down for 12 hours to perform the operation.

The board okayed purchase orders in the amount of $18,331.95 of which $10,925.75 required its approval. Payment of bills was approved amounting to $734,095.41 which included the monthly estimate of purchased power from ARPA of $653,244.45. The board also discussed submitted bids for the purchase of pole mount and pad mount transformers as well as 40, forty-foot ductile iron poles for $56,042.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedHealthUtilities


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