The City of West Point is about to spend some of the money generated by those increases in the city electric bills that local residents and businesses have been paying. Driving some of the future rate hikes are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Other reasons are a need for the city to add a substation so it can better handle the city’s load, and expected annual hike in rates that the city pays for its power from its two suppliers, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN) and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).
Some of the work is already underway: Catalytic converters are being installed to the three engines at the city’s power plant. The catalytic converters are needed as part of the EPA’s Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE) rule that mandates specific emission levels for diesel generators.
New substation to come
Monday night during its October meeting, the city council agreed to move forward with the most costly phase of the electrical system upgrade when it authorized Olsson Associates to proceed with engineering services and to let bids for a new substation at the power plant and voltage conversion for parts of the city’s electrical service.
If all of the work proposed by Olsson is done, the city’s cost would approach $3.8 million. However, City Administrator Tom Goulette said there is no way the city can fiscally handle that much work.
The estimate includes a voltage conversion for most of the city. All of that work won’t be needed at this time, Goulette said. The city is, however, eyeing work that will cost about $1.9 million.
Goulette said a lot of that cost has been built into the rate study done last year and approved by the city in March of 2012.
That rate study spelled out the annual rate increases that would be needed over the next 11 years.
The new substation will help shed load off the substation that stands on the east side of the power plant.
For the full story, pick up the October 9 West Point News, or call 372-2461 to subscribe.