Lamar Utility Board Receives Update on SECPA Legal Action




Houssin Hourieh, Lamar Light Plant Superintendent, provided an update for the board on February 9th, on the board’s legal action against SECPA, Southeast Colorado Power Association. On January 25th and 26th, Hourieh, board chairman, Doug Thrall, board attorney, Don Steerman and case attorney, Ric Fanyo attended a virtual hearing for the Public Utility Commission. Both sides presented their points of view by cross examinations by both attorneys. A Statement of Position of the factual evidence, along with the board’s legal argument about the meaning of substantial change in the nature of service, will be due on Wednesday, February 17th. The Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ’s) recommendation to the PUC Commission will be in from four to six weeks and each side will have 20 days to appeal any disagreements with the ALJ’s recommendations. Responses to the exceptions are due 14 days later. The final PUC decision will be five to seven weeks later.  The Lamar Utility Board and SECPA is involved in a dispute over district service between the two entities.

The board considered a request for electrical service for a house being built for Riley May, a potential customer of the light plant. Hourieh said May is asking for a line extension to cross a point of Amity Canal to get an easement to his construction site, but a neighbor doesn’t want that line to pass through their property. May has been discussing using SECPA as a provider, but they are not licensed to operate in the Light Plant’s district. Hourieh said the board will look at alternatives that would allow May to receive the line from a different direction than the one currently proposed.

Superintendent Hourieh explained that the plant has completed the upgrade for the SCADA master station software and hardware. There were no major problems or power outages from the weeklong upgrade.

There was a power outage affecting Wiley and McClave on January 13th. Hourieh explained a vehicle traveling at high speeds lost control and collided with a main circuit pole at CR 8 and MM which impacted the west end circuit around 8:30 that evening. The line crew restored power to all customers by 12:30 the next morning.

The board directed $967,452.08 in purchase orders to be paid of which $936,117.81 required board approval. $677,083.12 was for a January estimate of power purchased from Arkansas River Power Authority, ARPA. Bills were paid totaling $1,027,430.42.

Governor Polis has extended his executive order banning the imposition of late and or reconnection fees for missed utility payments and or disconnections and will expire 30 days from January 30, 2021, unless further extensions are issued by executive order.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyFeaturedUtilities


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