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Posted on: June 26, 2019

City Looks to New Electric Power Option

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You may or may not have read in the newspapers the last few months that the City of Moundridge has been studying power supply options for the city owned electrical utility and has decided to move forward with a transmission line and substation construction project.

Since approximately 1936 the City of Moundridge has purchased its wholesale electricity from McPherson BPU, which over the decades has been a very good arrangement for the City of Moundridge, its citizens and businesses that call Moundridge Home. This power is delivered on a 15-mile transmission line to the city substation a mile north of Moundridge. Even though this has been a good arrangement we do like to look at our operations periodically to be sure we are operating efficiently and providing the best service possible to the citizens and businesses of Moundridge.

Last year while looking at our historical power supply costs and comparing them to other options available to our utility we discovered we could reduce or power supply costs approximately $426,000.00 per year by purchasing our power supply needs from Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA). We visited with McPherson BPU to see if there was a way to utilize the current transmission system and take advantage of some of this saving but that was not an option. After studying the options available to the City of Moundridge it was discovered that the recently expanded and updated Westar substation 3 ½ miles south of Moundridge had an open 115 kV bay that they would let us tap into, after studying several options to connect the Westar substation to our communities distribution system it was determined the best option was to build a 115 kv transmission line to the city’s public works facility on Hoch Street and build a new 115 kv to 12.47 kv substation. The advantages of this arrangement are the Westar substation is a very important asset in their system and is a high priority for them to keep up and running. The 115kv transmission line, due to the high voltage, will be built on a large steel poles and very heavy gage wire which will provide much more reliable system that is less likely to have weather related issues. We are reducing the exposure of the transmission line to town from 15 miles to 3 1/2 miles. The 115 kv line will move much more power than the current 34.5 kv line, provide tremendous amount of future growth and will significantly reduce line losses. Locating the new substation to the Hoch Street public works facility will put it in a much closer proximity to heavy industrial load on our system and allow for provisions to accommodate future growth. The estimated cost for this project is $4,314,150.00. The plan is to finance this project though the Moundridge Public Building Commission on a 30-year bond at an estimated 4% interest rate with a yearly debt service amount of $253,275.00 which still provides a savings to the electrical utility of approximately $172,600.00 per year after debt service.

Being a member and purchasing our power supply from KMEA will allow Moundridge to tailor our power supply to fit our needs, current KMEA members have been able to take advantage low cost opportunities in wind, solar and gas generation power supply and as technologies and market conditions change this will allow Moundridge to tailor our power supply portfolio to the needs of our community.

So, to recap the benefits of this investment in Moundridge Electric Utility:
• Reduced operational costs
• More reliable system
• Expand growth potential for the future
• More local control of Power supply options

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Randy Frazer

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