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Money Wasted

Lake Worth Utilities
Waste Meter
$50,000
... for an arc flash study that Mr. Reyes was qualified to do in house and at no cost to taxpayers.
$200,000
... the estimated engineering cost of the express feeder which could also be done in house at no cost to taxpayers.
$591,898
... wasted when insurance requirements were circumvented by the city manager and utility director.
$123,098
... wasted when plant manager Dave Mulvay’s first attempt at writing a scope of work contained a defect that cost taxpayers an extra $123,098 for tainting the bidding process and giving unfair advantage to one bidder over another. - April 2009
$64,000
... wasted when the Matrix organizational study to save taxpayers money was scrapped in favor of higher cost outsourcing by city manager Stanton.
$450,000
... wasted engineering design cost of water piping and tanks (original county water deal) that will never be built.
$59,975
... wasted when additional costs were incurred for not following insurance procedure on transformer repair.
$82,620
... wasted when the commission unanimously voted to order transformers when we had equivalent replacements already in stock since the upgrade. - 15 Sep. 2009
Total Taxpayer Dollars Wasted:
$1,621,591
 
 

 
 
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  Lake Worth Utilities: TOP 6 UTILITY ISSUES UP AND COMING

Untitled Document by William Coakley

Top 6 up and coming Utility issues – these involve placing the city in debt for thirty years to the tune of about 120 million:

1. Our future with FMPA our power provider – can we get a better deal elsewhere?
2. FMPA’s rush to tie up our generation site - what are they trying to do?
3. Reducing city dependency on utility revenues
4. Which voltage – standard or non standard will really cost more? Do we want “the best” or just “the cheapest.”
5. The future of our generation site if we leave FMPA
6. Is the 60 million RO water project in the best interest of Lake Worth?

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 5)
Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 @ 10:20:52 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Utilities: CAN WE BELIEVE SYNERGETIC'S REPORT?

by William Coakley

Can we believe Synergetic’s report? Here’s what we know:

1. When Synergetic was asked if they would provide us with a turnkey system for the figures they gave; the reply was “too many unknowns and too many variables for that.”
2. Synergetic processed fabricated data given to them by staff
3. Significant disagreement between Synergetic and concurrent study from Black and Veatch as to the amount of underground that exists. This has potential for creating huge discrepancies in cost.
4. Black and Veatch recommended a 15 kv class distribution system.
5. Synergetic was not allowed to include the least expensive way forward in their report – only which of the two systems might be cheapest.
6. Synergetic was not allowed to consider the 5 million already spent on the standard upgrade.
7. Synergetic was not allowed to consider the 5 million spent by previous staff for the 26 kv.
8. The cost difference between the two systems was only 2 million. That’s a little more than a dollar per year per person during the time of the debt.
9. Jim Burke still maintains that 13.2 kv would be his choice standard and that it’s the best not just the cheapest.
10. The recommendation for 26 was exclusively based on Synergetic pricing and data given to them by staff.
11. The reliability of the 26 would be equal ONLY IF the feeder length was the same as it would be on 13.2 kv, and that is an extremely unlikely possibility.
12. Since it was agreed by the commission that the company that did the study as to which system would be the cheapest... would not, and could not benefit in any way from their work and specifically it was stated to be a "one time" work for hire... finding this company, Synergetic, on the bidding list for more work stands in clear violation of that directive. Therefore, the integrity of the entire study is subject to question.

 

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 4)
Posted by admin on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 @ 09:09:26 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Utilities: Johnson Controls

by William Coakley

The thing that appeals to people is guarantees. But what benefits are associated with these meters? How does the city really derive a benefit from time and use electric meters? Studies show these systems are not as effective as advertised and why should we be splitting utility revenue with a third party... at the people's expense?

Johnson Controls is an ESCO (Energy Service Company) – Definition: A company that offers to reduce a client's utility costs, often with the cost savings being split with the client through an energy performance contract (EPC) or a shared-savings agreement.

From the Johnson Controls site:

Self-Funding Projects: Under a performance contract, Johnson Controls upgrades and installs equipment that generates guaranteed energy and operational savings, which are then used by the customer to pay a third party financier for the project costs over a number of years. This self-funding mechanism enables customers to improve their facilities without any up front capital costs. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Johnson Controls a performance contract for its facilities in Minnesota and South Dakota, part of a larger project that will generate $14 million in energy savings without requiring any taxpayer dollars.

Water System Management: As water meters age, they become less accurate, recording less and less water usage. Many municipal water systems are billing for only 85 percent or less of the water actually used by residents and businesses. At the same time, municipalities often don’t have the capital to pay for large-scale meter replacements. We expanded our performance contracting solution in 2004 to stem this wide-spread problem. Under performance contracts in several cities, Johnson Controls is increasing municipal revenues through more accurate water metering.

Greetings commissioners and mayor:

Johnson claims that on average …water meters run 17% slower than they should and that’s a system loss. Nobody is against accurate metering which might provide us with more equitable billing among rate payers. But the solution they’re offering raises concern.

As noted above in their statement, the solution is for them to finance the installation of new meters which run faster thus creating a windfall of revenue which they split with the utility. The windfall is created because system losses are already covered by adjustments in the rate structure. So unless these adjustments are rolled back when the new meters are installed, the city could expect a revenue increase in the amount of the losses previously allocated. That figure now becomes a pure cash surplus that the city and Johnson will split at customer expense. The portion the city gets is used to pay Johnson for the metering.

The only way to make the investment in the metering pay off, is to use it to generate additional revenue or to reduce the cost of procuring the commodity to serve customers… those are the only two options. On the electrical side, the only way to reduce cost is to actually shift the load profile in a way that makes it less expensive to serve which studies have shown is difficult to accomplish based on time and use metering of small electric users (residential accounts).

If implemented correctly, time and use metering should have a zero effect if customer usage stays the same. In other words, if I don’t change my usage pattern whatsoever, I would not pay more with the new time and use metering. BUT, if I want to save money, I might want to postpone my 5 PM shower to after 8 PM in the evening and wash my clothes at midnight. But with the city’s ability to shift the rate structure, the potential for abuse is great. Without a public service commission to monitor municipal utilities, it’s possible the rate structure could be shifted so that the same usage pattern costs much more and would effectively penalize customers whose usage patterns do not change. This creates the potential for further windfalls for the utility and Johnson.

The commission should maintain a healthy skepticism. If we are going to pay someone $125,000 to come in and make a case… at a minimum there should be someone on our side of the table to critically review whatever it is Johnson is going to do and to make sure that the tactical and economic underpinnings of it are sound.

Specifically, the effectiveness of shaving peak load by the implementation of residential time and use meters lacks supporting study data to show that it is an effective load shifting strategy. And historically Johnson Controls has been among the higher overhead and profit companies (approx 38%) offering this service and it isn’t clear what value Johnson is adding that merits the higher price tag. What expertise do they have besides buying and arranging the installation of metering which we can do? Is it that they have the best meters? Surely it doesn’t cost $125,000 to speak to a bonafide meter expert to find that out. Johnson doesn't make the meters and the ones they use are subject to the same errors as any we currently use. And there is the issue of the $125,000 for an evaluation before seeing what a final contract might look like and the fact that many experts would perform this evaluation for much less. And why aren’t there competitive bids and alternative plans being discussed BEFORE we spend $125,000 and commit to one firm? For example, if our water meters are running slow, why don’t we replace them ourselves by replacing 20% of the water meters per year beginning with the oldest meters with the highest volume of use?

There are indeed other alternatives. What is the expertise and value that’s going to be added by Johnson implementing this program versus us doing it ourselves as a municipal utility? Does Johnson have access to some specialized knowledge that we don’t have or that we couldn’t readily get at a reasonable price?

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 4)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 23:43:42 EST
 
 

 
  Editorials Utilities: DO WE WANT DEMAND SIDE MANAGEMENT (DSM)

by William Coakley

Demand side management (DSM) is a measure taken by electric utilities to influence the amount or timing of customers' energy demand in order to utilize electric supply resources most efficiently.

There are two aspects of DSM: 1. Energy Efficiency 2. Load Management

* Energy efficiency – has to do with determining how to lower demand by having a more energy efficient workplace or living environment. More efficient appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioning systems, placing blankets on hot water heaters, digital thermostats, adding insulation, installing high efficiency lighting are some of the energy efficiency items that have been around for decades now. Typically, this information is easily found and may include a self interactive energy audit of your household.

Other aspects of Energy Efficiency might include:

* Information programs on technologies and management practices - such programs may include a special information telephone line, printed materials such as bill stuffers or mailouts, communications campaigns, internet sites, and so on.
* Free energy audits of buildings to identify DSM opportunity areas.
* Low-interest-rate financing programs to help pay for DSM improvements and new homes.
* Rebates or subsidies to support DSM improvements.
* Information on customer bills that illustrates energy consumption over time, and the average energy consumption among all customers, along with the GHG (green house gas) emissions that can be related back to each customer. This information may provide an incentive for consumers to reduce their overall consumption.

In addition, some certification programs that allow customers to make the most energy-efficient choice may be desirable.

Load Management

Popular in the mid nineties, this includes reducing the peak demand on the grid by spreading out the customer load more evenly over the entire daily or weekly period. The primary strategy used to alter the timing is to charge double or more per kWh during high demand periods, such as during suppertime. These pricing policies hopefully encourage consumers to defer non-critical electrical loads such as operating a clothes drier, taking a shower, or turning on the oven to off-peak times. As an incentive to enroll in the DSM plan, regular electric rates could be increased until a sufficient number of customers are led to join the program.

The downside of these programs is that they require time of day metering and monitoring which is expensive and costly to implement. Reward tables are set up as a structure to modify customer usage but those structures may be stacked against many customer usage patterns. And not participating in a plan may mean paying more. Further, it has been difficult to verify the effectiveness of these programs and over the years they have declined in popularity.

Although it is good to have incentives for energy efficient appliances, insulation, high efficiency lighting etc to reduce the base load; there are too many uncertainties concerning load management strategies. For example, if the city decides to provide load management incentives in the form of lower rates for certain times of the day… how much incentive pressure would there be to join a program for someone whose load is constant? In other words, do we have any guarantees that constant load users wouldn’t be forced into load management programs to their disadvantage?

In summary, load management programs can be costly and complicated to implement, monitor and verify. And, in view of the conduct of utility operations over the past decades, there’s no guarantee that any savings the city derives from inconveniencing its customers with time of day metering …will be passed on to the consumer.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 23:28:33 EST
 
 

 
  Editorials Utilities: IS A UTILITY BOARD WHAT WE NEED - by William Coakley

In the desperate search to remedy something we often grasp at straws and threads to save ourselves. In this case, the utility’s very existence once again came into question in the fall of 2005 with cries of “we want FPL.” Political savvy aside, politicians always appoint committees when their jobs are at risk. In this case, a silence fell on the community as hopes were raised that the Task Force just might do its job and find out how to fix the utility so we can all be proud of it.

One significant fact was already known long before the Task Force had convened. The city of Lake Worth had proven that they could not manage the utility without robbing it. This time they left taxpayers with a 60 million dollar bill because all of the money that should have been set aside for upgrade and improvement was squandered by money hungry political wolves.

Early December 2005, discussions of resurrecting the old utility board were in play, the idea being to stop the commission from robbing the utility by substituting a separate management that effectively amounts to ‘a management (utility board) over another management (commission) over another management (utility staff).

The real problem has been that commissions have been irresponsible and the public has too little input and information to remain vigilant. It is extremely unlikely that spending 100 million on the utility would have passed a public vote so revenue bonds were created in 2004 which effectively circumvented the public from having a say. This leaves the decisions in the hands of five people who don’t know a volt from a watt about the utility making them vulnerable to staff recommendations which aren’t always well thought out. This leaves tremendous power in the hands of the city manager who in this case allowed and encouraged misinformation, incorrect information and biased presentations to lure an unsuspecting commission into a non standard upgrade for the utility.

Now, in the absence of any real options given to the people concerning the sale of the utility (which is what they demanded to know in the fall of 2005) …the question of what to do with the utility needed something or the Task Force would not have done their job. Hence came the old idea of the utility board… “that’s the solution to our problems.”

Well, it isn’t. You are simply substituting one political body for another and adding administrative costs. At Vero Beach where they have a utility board, all the decisions about the utilities future were being made by the commission anyway. This is not to say that a utility of their size (174 megawatts to our 100) doesn’t need an advisory board and one that can double as an operations management …but the real decision making ability was left with the commission.

As chairman of the Task Force, I wanted to be sure that if a utility board was put into place that it was charged with the right mission statement and had a good representative composition. The problem with a utility board other than being just another political management service is that there is no way to make it bullet proof as was proven with the demise of the last utility board.

It’s sad to see that so much emphasis being placed on a utility board as some kind of silver bullet that will give us competitive rates and service. Perhaps we could argue that when the option to sell was not fairly explored; something had to be substituted and the desperate search ended up, quite logically, with the utility board idea. It’s nothing new. In fact, it’s a very old and moldy idea that has logical appeal and seldom works the way the public expectations would have it.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 22:54:25 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Utilities: THE FUTURE OF OUR UTILITY - by William Coakley

The voltage upgrade controversy

This was perhaps the most contentious issue since staff deliberately withheld information that would’ve shown without a doubt that the direction the capital improvements program of 2001 had set us in… was the correct way to go. In addition to ethical issues discussed below, there was the outright misinformation given to the public that the decision to upgrade to 26 HADN’T been decided yet as of January 20th 2006. Mr Boyer and staff failed to disclose the truth on January 20th when confronted by the Task Force chairman. In fact, an IFB dated January 12th fully revealed that the decision had already been made the year before. But with the investigation getting close to the truth, staff found it necessary to secure the outcome of the Task Force recommendation well in advance so the work and hence commitment to 26 could begin immediately under the guise of impending “catastrophic system failure” that would result if we hesitated. Later, the truth revealed that this too was a staff fabrication.

Standards

Most in the utility industry agree that stepping away from standards and the “tried and proven” …increases risk and potential disappointments. With the huge capital investment required to create and maintain a power utility, the industry has developed a common mantra often considered an accepted truth. I heard this invocation on many occasions as I researched the utility… “Always build standard.”

This works for the world’s most profitable utility businesses and I believe we have too little experience coupled with a track record of trying to be unique and different from everyone else. Socially, this isn’t considered a character flaw and the utility business isn’t the place to invoke individual spirit to see how it works. Public money is involved and I believe Lake Worth has far too much inexperience to fly in the face of successful standards to perhaps gain some small advantage somewhere.

Standards make us compatible with our surrounding neighbors. Standards better secure the equity of our 60 million investment in behalf of taxpayers. Standards generally mean lower parts costs with the programs for collective buying power through FMPA with other compatible utility providers who use standards.

The question always has been: Why in the world would anyone choose something non standard to invest 60 million in when only one other utility in the whole country uses it? Consider further that JEA who is the only other known user of 26.4 also brags that the most reliable power they sell is for their downtown businesses which operates at a standard 13.2 distribution voltage. Most important for all of us is that, “standards” avoid those unknown pitfalls that could sink a small city budget and insures that we are investing wisely in something that will enhance the equity in the system, not diminish it.

Marketing the 26

The 26 system was basically sold on the basis that it would save us “big money” by lowering system losses since higher voltage “travels better.” Originally we were shown the exact mathematical calculation that PROVED we would save about a half million dollars a year. That was theory of course. The reality turned out quite different. The original half million figure has now been revised downwards to about $170,000 (by a system model) which means the anticipated savings went from about 1% of revenues to a measly .3%. One major equipment purchase at collective prices available through FMPA might save that much.

Reliability

Reliability projections on the new system were misrepresented. The public was told that “reliability and voltage were not related” and staff even brought in so called “experts” to tell us that. But that isn’t true at all. As Mr Burke pointed out, there is a relationship between voltage and reliability. The higher voltage requires longer feeders… longer feeders means more people on a feeder. When an outage occurs, that means more customer minutes in the dark. There is no way of escaping that relationship without spending huge amounts of money shortening the feeders and there is a limit to how far you can go. Staff succeeded in temporarily bamboozling the public and the Task Force members that reliability would remain the same as the 4 kv system when in fact, that would only be true if the short feeder length of the 4 kv system were maintained and that is extremely unlikely.

There was also the ethical issue of unqualified city staff changing the entire direction and character of a Professional Engineer approved upgrade without telling the commission, Task Force, or the public. Worse yet, they failed to tell the truth about it when they were confronted by the Task Force chair on January 20th, 2006. The fruit of their deceit became evident to all as taxpayers learned of whopping 150% cost overruns on staff’s first time out. They childishly made excuses and blamed their waste on everything but their own lack of professionalism and knowledge. And lacking any sense of guilt at having foolishly squandered millions; they continued on their destructive path and in desperation to put more money in play even attempted to defraud the public out of millions under false pretense.

This should certainly bring into question any change of direction made by this trio since at no point did they ever restore an ounce of integrity or credibility for themselves. The utility director continued wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on everything from poorly thought out storm preparation committments to ordering a quarter million in transformers that we already had in stock.

Who in the world would trust these same people, so adept at manipulation and conniving… to give correct information to Synergetic? In August, we indeed found that at least some of the data sent to Synergetic was fabricated by staff as it did not exist and couldn’t. There is the fact that the Synergetic study was to be an independent study and now no one remains convinced that it was independent since the criteria for remaining independent was violated when Synergetic turned up on Paul Boyer’s bidding list for more work as a result of the study. There is the fact that a similar study (by Black and Veatch) finished just before Synergetic released their report; recommended a 15 kv distribution voltage. It is also important to note that the amount of underground lines in Lake Worth remains highly disputed between the studies. This has the potential to create huge unknown errors in costing a system.

More on cost

There is the additional perspective on cost. Synergetic was prevented from giving us the cheapest way forward. They were only allowed to give us the cheapest between the two systems 13 & 26. On more than one occasion Mike Marshall stated unequivocally that updating the 4 kv system would probably be the cheapest way forward and he complained that the contract prevented them from putting that in the report. He cited reasons including the uncertainty over the load growth projections. They were also prevented from any consideration of the five million already invested in the standard conversion over the past four years, nor were they allowed to account for the additional five million spent on the 26 so far. Their costing was based purely on the system as it exists today which seems to clearly point out; that had staff not plunged ahead with ripping the system apart, the 13.2 would have been not only the “cheapest” way forward but the “best” way forward. According to the Synergetic report, the “estimated” cost difference came out to be about 2 million based on… as they said, “the data given to them by staff and the present condition of the system.”

The Big Picture for the people

Zooming out for a moment there is a much larger and more common issue among the people concerning the utility. They wanted to know if they should keep the utility and if they can derive some BENEFIT from it if they do so. I’m quite sure anyone would love to keep it as long as it provided a benefit over FPL. But it hasn’t… so far. So the question of future benefit is still hovering over the people’s minds and I think they deserve to know a little more than they’ve been told. The people won’t rest until they know there’s a good likelihood that they will derive some benefit. The Task Force was prevented from exploring this issue and it needs to be addressed to bring unity behind spending 60 million of their dollars and putting them into debt for 30 years.

If we continue to move in the direction we’re headed; are we not in fact investing money in the old car before we know if we should sell it or not? And before we know what its value is and will be after we spend the money? The whole Task Force process was the reverse of what it should’ve been thanks to Mr Boyer who cleverly designed the work plan.

Decisions were made to spend millions before we found out that the future value might be adversely affected by a non standard upgrade path. The people have never seen laid out before them the feasibility of them deriving a benefit from spending 60 million on it. Thus far, they have typically paid more and received less. Is that just because of lousy management? Is it a power provider rate issue? Is it an economy of scale issue? Do we actually know that given the best case scenario… that this utility can give us some advantage? Is our service area large enough to insure we can offer the people an advantage to keeping it? Is our service area sufficient to avail ourselves of economies of scale and if so, on what level? We all believe it could… but none of us really know for sure and that needs to be laid out for the people to see clearly so they will feel comfortable in investing the huge sum required.

I believe the question of future benefit is legitimate and demands immediate attention since after years of the commission robbing the utility, the people are being asked yet again to pay for all that by accepting another 30 years of debt and they are doing so because the utility was robbed of its restoration and renewal money. So the future management of it is a factor. So is the economy of scale issue with the small service area that we have. Yet another factor: Is it possible to find lower cost energy from another provider? Mark Beauchamp, our rate analyst, said FMPA’s rates were among the highest in the country and were about to increase about 12% neutral of fuel because their cheapest contract (with FPL) is about to expire and they too have incurred huge debt requiring rate increases forthcoming.

Just a note about FMPA. The fact that our utility director/city manager sits on the board of FMPA might be reassuring but consider this: when I received a tip and followed up on it, I found out that FMPA had a sweetheart deal going with one group of its members to the disadvantage of its other members. When I confronted George Adair about how much that had cost the city, he said about $500,000 during a three year period. He never offered that information previously to the city or told anyone about it. So here we were paying an employee a handsome salary and his loyalty quotient didn’t even prompt him to inform the city of being cheated out of a half million dollars.

Later that month, I confronted FMPA officers about it at a Task Force meeting where they already had learned that it had become an issue. Without losing stride, they admitted this practice had been causing problems and they had plans to fix it.

This suggests that we might consider an ombudsman or associate, whatever, to accompany these people to the FMPA board meetings to make sure they aren’t turning a blind eye to something that is costing the city.

One of the few things the Task Force agreed on was the need to get out of the FMPA ARP (all requirements program). However as a group, the Task Force never studied the alternatives. I found quite a few entities very willing to sell us power including an agency of JEA that deals with municipal utilities that want independence. Of course, the most obvious potential power provider is FPL since we pay them 1% a year to get the power from FMPA to us. When the idea of having an open public meeting with FPL to discuss if they were interested in partnership, coop, or joint venturing with us; the immediate knee jerk reaction precluded any possibility of having a rational discussion about it. The truth is… that we need to go through this process for the public and it is also clear that FPL could hold the key to our keeping the utility and making it profitable for the people. We have a licensed generation site which could be very useful for FPL and might induce them to partnership with us… or not. Point is, we don’t know until we follow through.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 0)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 20:58:34 EST
 
 

 
  Lake Worth Utilities: UTILITY BASICS

Watt = volts x (times) Amps = measure of work sometimes called “power.” Thus it is easy to see that the same amount of work can be done with 100 volts and 1 amp as can be done with 1 volt and 100 amps.

Higher voltage systems generally cost more because of the higher insulation level required to keep the higher voltage from arching over on something. There is a saying in the utility industry “…higher voltage travels better.” That is why you see the huge transmission lines as you drive north on the turnpike… notice also the huge separation they have to maintain in order to keep the voltage from arching over on something. These lines are typically between 250 kv (kilovolts)and 550 kv lines. The high voltage minimizes the losses over the long distances required.

Once these high voltage transmission lines reach suburban areas; lower and safer voltages are used. The high voltage is converted down in transformers and ends up (for us) at 138 kv.

Since we do not produce any power of our own, all of our power comes through FPL lines from FMPA. The junction where we tap off of the FPL grid is located at Hypoluxo and I-95. From there it flows to our two main substations called “main yard” and the other “canal.” Here the 138 kv is broken down to what is called a “sub transmission voltage.” The voltages we distribute are 4 kv and 26.4 kv. Note that 26.4 is generally not considered a “distribution voltage.”

Traditional standard distribution voltages are considered “15 kv class.” About 99% of the country distributes in a 15 kv class standard. It is the best and most profitable configuration.

The work capacity of our generation is about 85 megawatts. Our peak load reached 100 megawatts (from FMPA) in the summer of 2005. Our base load (depending on time of year) is probably about 30-60 megawatts.

The amount we pay FMPA is based on a base load plus peak load charges. However, the peak load determines the rate class that applies to the charges.

There is the “true up” (with FMPA) phenomenon which has to do with anticipating the variations in fuel cost for the next time period and then truing up depending on whether or not we over or under estimated the amount.

Voltage

In 2001, a capital improvements program was put into effect for the electric utility. Garrison electric did the feasibility study and two PE engineers signed off on a standard upgrade path that would be compatible with all the surrounding utility companies and 99% of the rest of the country. Taxpayers invested about 5 million into the upgrade. A recent Black and Veatch Study confirmed the findings of the Garrison report which recommended a standard distribution voltage for Lake Worth.

Some History

During the 80’s, a new wave of thought evolved considered to be the new panacea for the utility industry. Why have substations at all? Higher voltage travels better, less system loss and so a trend began that promised to lower costs. But by the end of the decade, it was clear that the benefits didn’t outweigh the problems and cost of maintaining higher voltage systems.

Theoretically, (on paper) there is no difference in the reliability of 26.4 kv or a 4 kv. But ask any operations person who has had plenty of experience and they will tell you that the most reliable system is the 4 kv. “It isn’t as temperamental…” as one operations manager put it. The inherent reliability issue with the higher voltage systems centers on the fact that they almost always have longer feeders which means more people hooked up to a feeder and so when a problem occurs; more customers are out which means statistically; the inconvenience to the public is larger. 4 kv feeders are short in comparison to a 26 system and so, if they are converted to 26 kv, the feeders will have to be lengthened which means reliability in terms of total number of customer minutes out will increase.

 
 
  (comments? | Score: 4.5)
Posted by admin on Monday, April 16, 2007 @ 20:49:41 EST
 
 


 
 
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