Near Misses for Power Disruptions for Light Plant

LIght Plant Repowering Project Under Demolition


The Lamar Utility Board met in regular session on Tuesday, April 13th and approved $786,572 in purchase orders of which $632,781.31 were from Arkansas River Power Authority for the March estimate of power consumed.  Total purchase orders were $808.312.46.  The board also approved payment of monthly bills amounting to $263,215.59.

Two bids were solicited for the purchase of distribution system transformers and the board awarded the contract to Wesco at a cost of $72,135.40.  Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, speculated that the pandemic may be responsible for a low bid turnout as he said eight were mailed out to distributors, but only two were returned.

The board discussed adding $90,000 to its annual budget to cover the costs for liability insurance for each of the next ten years for its wind turbines for their future decommissioning as they are expected to age out in about a decade.  This was only a verbal recommendation for the moment as part of the light plant’s audit by Ron Farmer Associates.

The December 2020 financial report shows total operating revenue for the month is $995,928 with operating costs of $1,022,685 resulting in gross operating loss of $26,757.  When the non-operating revenues and expenses are considered, there is a nete income for the month of $327,863.  When compared to 2019, retail sales revenues are up $72,054 or 1% comparing December 2020 to December 2019 and overall operating expenses are up approximately $413,780 or 3% resulting in a net loss of $57,697 for the year.

Light Plant crews responded to a fire in Bent County that ignited several line structures on Monday, March 28th.   Superintendent Hourieh, told the board, the call came in at approximately 9:30 that evening that the fire was in the region of Ft. Lyon.  Apparently, the fire began on the south edge of Highway 50 and spread south through a swampy area between CR 17 ands 18 in Bent County.  Five H-frame wooden poles were burned and are being replaced and the insurance claim is being submitted to CIRSA for action.

He related that there was a near miss for a power outage last Thursday morning, April 8th, when a late-model vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed and coming from the area of Prowers Aggregates, was westbound along a gravel road paralleling the Lamar Canal and lost control near Suetrak, jumped the canal and struck general well #1, damaging a pump motor and its casing.  Hourieh said the vehicle missed electrical equipment by about three feet which, if damaged, would have killed power to the eastern section of Prowers County.  The light plant is awaiting a damage estimate from SEMCO.

Hourieh noted Governor Polis has extended his executive order banning the imposition of late or reconnection fees for missed utility payments and/or disconnections for another thirty days from March 29th of this year.

By Russ Baldwin



Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedMedia ReleasePublic SafetyUtilities


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