Lamar Light Plant Feels Pinch of Tight Supply Chains

Lamar Light and Power Offices



Several of the bids advertised for equipment and supplies by the Lamar Light Plant had a mix of companies not responding, responding with only some equipment available, or, according to Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, had prices far beyond the same items from a year ago.  “We’re also seeing wait times for some equipment and materials backed up by a year or more,” he explained to the Lamar Utility Board during its May 10th meeting.

Hourieh gave an example of supply problems for one returned bid for pad mount and pad mount transformers, “We advertised seven bids and we extended the return date for the bids, twice and we got back only one full bid and a partial one, so the supply chain is becoming a problem.  The prices have tripled and the lead time is over one year, so we’ve been forced to look at transformer manufacturers and I contacted two and they’re also swamped, so at this point even the manufacturers aren’t bidding because they’re also swamped.”  He added the plant is going to have to focus more on need than on want and perhaps one solution would be to make alliances with other utilities for supplies.  “Even for power poles, the wait time has gone from four weeks up to at least 12 weeks,” he stated.  The board voted to accept the single bid from Stuart Irby at $418,888.  Hourieh told the board there are enough supplies to last for most of the year, but he will continue to discuss the supply situation at the manufacturer level.

Three bids were advertised for several sizes of cedar wooden poles and only one was returned for $45,676 with a wait time of ten to eleven weeks.  The Light Plant had budgeted $200,000 for a replacement small bucket truck and the board selected the low bid of $185,947 from Altec, but there will be a wait time of 18 months, with delivery expected by December 15, 2023.

Three students were selected for Lamar Utility Board and ARPA annual scholarships of $1,000.  Six applications were received with one from Lamar High School, five from McClave and none from Wiley this year.  The students were selected anonymously and judged solely on their academic achievements and community support.  They are Chloey Palmer from Lamar and Cassidy Jagers and Rylan Herrera from McClave.  Equal contributions to the scholarships are made by the Lamar Utilities Board and ARPA at $500 each.  The board gave approval for an increase for 2023 to $700, matching the increase from ARPA.

Superintendent Hourieh, noted light plant line crews have begun to replace the poles burnt in the April 12th prairie fire west of Fort Lyon with 4, 55ft class 1, steel poles.  Altitude Energy completed the needed repairs to two, 70 foot steel pole crossarms that failed due to the fire.

High winds also took out several poles which are being replaced at Highway 196 and CR 17 and another on CR CC.  The crew is currently installing a 750 KVA service to the new Tesla, fast-charging station at the Welcome Center/Chamber of Commerce on East Beech Street and also completed a service installation to Tri-County Ford’s fast-charging station.

Hourieh said the annual comparison report of wind turbine performance showed the plant’s three units performing above last year at this time by 8.85% and the capacity factor was 1.97% higher compared to the same period.  The wind turbine crew will begin the semi-annual maintenance and inspection program on all five turbines and each turbine will be off line for 12 hours on a calm day so preventative maintenance can be performed safely per GE’s recommended maintenance program.

The utility board approved $676,510.27 in purchases out of a total of $703,181.77 for this past April.  The estimated power purchase from Arkansas River Power Authority, ARPA, for this past March was $663,226.76.  Payment of bills totaled $157,028.30.

The board went into executive session to receive legal advice regarding the Public Utilities Commission decision.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyFeaturedPublic SafetyUtilities


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