By Timothy J. Power, CEO
“The good and the beautiful is not forgotten; it lives in legend and in song.”
― Hans Christian Andersen
As the year comes to an end, I wanted to provide you with a quick recap of events at DS&O.
Peak Generator – This past year our power contract with KEPCo was changed to allow us to double the amount of electricity we get from sources other than KEPCo. Once that change was finalized, we purchased a second generator to help us shave our peak demand. We already had a 1.0 MW unit at the Solomon substation and we installed the new 1.0 MW unit at our I-135 substation. We also rented a smaller unit for the Lindsborg substation.
We are very happy to report that the generators helped DS&O save over $500,000 in power costs this summer!
Safety Demonstrations – Just as in past years, our linemen put on nearly a dozen safety demonstrations across our service territory. The linemen have provided demonstrations to schools, fire and police departments, agriculture groups, and more. If you would like more information on a safety demonstration, please give us a call.
Residential Peak Reduction Pilot Program – This past summer we offered all our residential members the opportunity to participate in the second year of the pilot program. After a successful first year, we felt many more were likely to participate. We increased the incentive from $5 to $10 per shut-off event and saw our enrollment numbers more than double.
We only had three shut-off events this year, all in July. In the end, the average participant saved about $70 in lower energy costs by not being subject to the higher Red Zone rates. Combined with $30 in incentive payments, the average participant saw a benefit right around $100. Next year we may offer the rate as an option to the standard residential rate.
Change in the Irrigation Rate – In 2018, a new irrigation rate became effective. The new rate (actually “rates”) included a facility charge, an energy charge, and a coincident peak demand charge. We held a meeting earlier in the year for irrigation members where we presented possible rate structures. We stressed to the irrigation members the need for them not to irrigate during peak demand times. In return, they would receive a lower energy rate year-round. We also showed likely energy bill savings if they could lower or avoid irrigation load at peak demand times. Ensuing discussions with the members helped us finalize our irrigation rate. In fact, it was because of their suggestions that we offered two irrigation rates.
To see how the new rate(s) compared to the old rate, we looked at the period of March through September. We found the 2018 average bill was reduced by 12%, when compared to the average bill for the past five years. This is very significant, and we hope to see similar results next year!
New Metering System – As you may have read in last month’s newsletter, we have begun the process of installing a new metering system. In 2017, we made the decision to replace our aging metering system, as we were experiencing more and more equipment failures.
One of the advantages of the new metering system will be how it handles outages. With our current system, unless it’s a large-scale outage, we are usually unaware of your outage until you call in and report it. With the new metering system, we are instantly notified by the system when your meter loses power. That being said, we will still want you to call in to report your outage, but we anticipate that we will already know of the outage when you call. The plan is to have the metering system completely installed by the end of 2020.
So, as we close out 2018, it seems likely that these events were so good and beautiful that they will live in legend and in song, as Mr. Andersen stated at the beginning. Just imagine, it is 2050 and school kids across Kansas are singing songs about DS&O’s peak generators and irrigation rates. Seems like a sure thing!
Next month I will present a look ahead to what we have planned for 2019. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at DS&O!